Liars! Nepal’s Politics Suffers from a Trust Deficit

The trust deficit among major political parties and their leaders continues to exist even after the election of the second CA and the new Prime Minister by the parliament last week. Leaders continue to spit venom at each other.

By Siromani Dhungana

By now it is clear that the consensus between two major political parties –NC and UML– has become an elusive pursuit. They have failed to win confidence of each other. Evidences suggest that their journey ahead will be full of distrust and discomfort. After the election of the second Constituent Assembly (CA), the two parties are at loggerhead over power sharing deal.

The all-powerful Home Ministry has become the bone of contention between two parties. Nepali Congress has been dismissing the UML claim that there was a ‘gentleman’s agreement’ between the two parties to give Home portfolio to UML. NC’s veteran leader Ram Sharan Mahat, who is the sole minister but without any portfolio in the Sushil Koirala cabinet, tweeted on Wednesday (12 Feb): Who says there was a ‘gentlemen’s agreement’? False news has been disseminated intentionally.

On the other hand, UML leader Bamdev Gautam who has been proposed as Home Minister by the party, continues to claim the existence of such agreement. In an exclusive interview with Setopati, he said: ‘Congress dumped the gentlemen’s agreement.’

In the interview, he claimed that he has never lied in his five-decade long political life except when in police custody.

“The meeting decided to make me deputy prime minister with home ministry portfolio. As per the mandate of the meeting, we signed the 7-point agreement. We thought it would not look nice to formally sign an agreement on distribution of cabinet portfolios. So we avoided mentioning that in the 7-point agreement. The power-sharing deal remained as a gentlemen’s agreement.”

The fact will be revealed in the course of time. The point here, however, is how long should people feel betrayed? Whom to trust? Our expectation of peace and prosperity from the second CA has been shattered by the unnecessary ego showed by leaders.

Home Ministry: Just to Salute Leaders?

Interestingly, both parties have been blaming each other for the dispute of Home portfolio but have failed to give concrete vision of leading one of the most powerful ministries, i.e., Home Ministry.

Bamdev Gautam has been lamenting for not getting Home. Yet, he has failed to tell us what he plans to do after getting to lead the ministry. Will he end the existing scenario of impunity? Will he ensure proper security? Will be expose or stop, for that matter, the alleged ‘corruption’ while recruiting police personnel? Does he plan to introduce transparency in procurement process under Home Ministry? And, Comrade Gautam, can you answer why APF and civil police have been quarreling over the issue about posting at customs points?

These are some basic questions Bamdev should answer before he is given Home ministry. But he is still silent. It seems Bamdev is trying to get the position for the sake of his ego. But the country is not a test lab of inefficient leaders.

Further, democracy is all about accountability and transparency. Once, his own party UML had publicly named and shamed him as the ‘corrupt number one’– that announcement was made in a mass meeting in Kathmandu. (Bamdev Gautam had split the UML to form CPN ML at the time of that announcement). His party had linked him with the infamous gold smuggling scandal. Now, the same party has been screaming that he should be appointed as the Home Minister. It feels like the UML is making fun of Nepali people. How can the party argue that the leadership of the Home Ministry should be given to the same person whom it had once declared as the most corrupt person in Nepal?

And, what about NC? It is also victim of the same trend. NC flocks have also failed to justify why they do not want to give Home portfolio to UML? Nepali Congress also should come up with clear arguments. People need a clear vision and road map from political parties. Leaders should not try to disillusion them forever.

Bamdev: A Conservative Communist

Bamdev Gautam’s way of leading the Home Ministry is not compatible with the free market economy that Nepali Congress favors. He was the person behind a decision to kill the night life in Kathmandu.

Instead of providing 24-hour security for businesses, the Home Ministry under Gautam decided to close down all businesses in Kathmandu after 11pm some years back.

Imposing curfew does not mean that there is peace. Likewise, decision of closing down city before midnight does not suggest that Bamdev is a right person to ensure security.

And, as citizens how long should we be led by leaders like Bamdev who are already tested, failed and clearly outdated?

Way Ahead

Incompetent and inefficient leaders always create a situation of confrontation and partisan. That is what Nepali politicians have been doing since long. Yet, the good aspect of democracy is that it provides options to us. As we all are on the same boat, we should not let crazy ferryman to row the boat. We should not let the inefficient leaders ruin our common future. It is not about which party do we favor but about deciding which leaders can ensure better future.





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