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Battling For Democracy

Issue 48, November 29, 2009

Siddhi B. Ranjitkar

Currently, Nepalis have to struggle for democracy again, as the legislature has elected undemocratic people to govern the country. This has been possible due to the faulty election system the political parties have designed and enforced. The undemocratic elements might push the country back to the despotic rule again using the state administration, police and army. So, Nepalis have to finish off the undemocratic elements peacefully through the street movement and forcing them to complete the writing of a new constitution and then holding elections for a new system of governance.

Nepalis have had voted enthusiastically in the elections for the Constituent Assembly-cum-legislature held on April 10, 2008. They have voted for individuals and the party, and voted out unprincipled and corrupt politicians. Nepalis have voted for political parties believing that the political leaders would appoint the sincere and democratic minded politicians to the Constituent Assembly-cum-legislature using the votes each political party has received. However, some of the leaders of the political parties have appointed the persons Nepalis have voted out in the elections for the Constituent Assembly-cum-legislature thus betraying the Nepalese people’s aspirations for clean representatives only. Thus, the undemocratic minded politicians are back in the Constituent Assembly-cum-legislature despite Nepalis have directly discarded them.

Unelected persons have been running not only the government but the political parties, too. Senior leader of the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist and Leninist (CPN-UML) Madhav Nepal rejected by Nepalis not only at one constituency but also in two constituencies have got the place in the Constituent Assembly-cum-legislature, and has become the Prime Minister. Sujata Koirala of Nepali Congress (NC) defeated in the election has become the Deputy Prime Minister. Similarly, defeated leaders such as Sushil Koirala, Arjunnarsingh K.C. and Krishna Prasad Sitaula of NC have been running the party and having a major say in the party whereas elected members have to be satisfied with being ruled by those people not received the people’s mandate. Mahanta Thakur is another man rejected by the people but has retained the party leadership and got appointment to the member of the Constituent Assembly-cum-legislature. If you take a look at the current leadership of the CPN-UML, the entire set of the leaders including the vociferous KP Oli running the party is of the defeated people except for the Chairman. Most of the ministers representing the CPN-UML are defeated persons starting from Prime Minister Madhav Nepal, then Defense Minister Bidhya Bhandari and Minister for Information and Communications Shanker Pokharel and so on. Only Home Minister Bhim Rawal is an elected man.

The legislature is full of defeated people and unprincipled people. So, they first amended the Interim Constitution of Nepal of 2007 for making the provision for the majority rule instead of the consensus rule after the Maoists came out first in the legislature. In fact, the bargain they reached with the Maoists was to amend the Interim Constitution of Nepal of 2007 for making the provision for a majority rule in return for declaring Nepal a republic; thus, they discarded the consensus politics. Then, they used every possible loophole in the Interim Constitution of Nepal of 2007 to grab the power directly or indirectly. They took the legislature hostage for indirectly grabbing the power. Thus, they set the precedent to take the legislature hostage and make the demand met by the government. Currently, the Maoist legislators have been taking the legislature hostage and making the supreme institution of the people helpless hostage.

The Chairman of Constituent Assembly, Prime Minister, some other ministers and other unscrupulous leaders have been trumpeting that if the Maoist legislators do no stop holding the legislature hostage then the members of the Constituent Assembly would not be able to complete the writing of a new constitution. This is only the pretext the unethical politicians have been using to depict the Constituent Assembly has been disabled by not running the legislature smoothly. Every member of the Constituent Assembly wears two hats: one is of the member of the Constituent Assembly and another of legislator. They have been sitting on various constitutional drafting committees wearing the hats of members of the Constituent Assembly, and writing the drafts. They also have been sitting at the legislature as legislators and have been working as lawmakers. So, if the legislature is not working means not the Constituent Assembly also not working. However, some of those dishonest guys publicize the members of the Constituent Assembly also not working.

Unscrupulous leaders of the 18 political parties went to the ceremonial President and urged him to abuse the Interim Constitution of Nepal of 2007. Then, forgetting his duty for safeguarding the constitution, and putting the leaders of the 18 political parties above the constitution, the President abused the Interim Constitution of Nepal of 2007 and wrote a letter to the army chief and ordered him to stay on in the job. From whom the President got the authority to do so? Are the leaders of the 18 political parties the source of the President’s power to abuse the constitution?

The Maoist legislators registered a motion on debating the President’s unconstitutional action at the legislature. Representing the interest of the leaders of the 18 political parties rather than the people’s representatives at the legislature, the Speaker rejected the debate over the President’s unconstitutional action. Any democratic minded person knows that the legislature is the supreme institution and nobody is above it but the deceitful Speaker put the constitution-abusing President above the institution of the people’s representatives.

Standing on the shoulders of the constitution-abusing President and the deceitful Speaker, the majority of unprincipled legislators elected deceitful Madhav Nepal for the position of the Prime Minister. Madhav Nepal purchased those dishonest legislators paying high prices for their support for his government. For example, he paid the price of making the most ineligible persons such as Sujata Koirala and Bijya Gacchedar Deputy Prime Ministers for winning the support of NC President Girija Prasad Koirala and support of the legislators belonging to the Madheshi People’s Rights Forum (MPRF). Similarly, he paid other legislators directly or indirectly for their support. Thus, Prime Minister Nepal has been the third person after the President and the Speaker deceiving the people. They sidelined the misguided Vice-president for firmly standing on his conviction of taking oath in Hind is correct.

The Madheshi legislators have sold their values and principles of one Madhesh province to the current government and wasted the sacrifice of so many young people. They know the NC and CPN-UML leaders have been deadly against their demand for Madheshi state and for making Hindi a national language. Supporting the leaders of these two political parties means they wasted the lives of the people sacrificed for the Madheshi Movement launched to force the then Government of Nepal to sign an eight-point agreement with the United Democratic Movement Front. Most of the Madheshi legislators supporting the current government are the same old guys serving the NC and CPN-UML leaders; so, they have no problem of selling their ethics to Prime Minister Madhav Nepal at the cost of so many lives sacrificed for the Madheshi Movement.

The government of Madhav Nepal has been one of the most corrupt governments. Nepal has dropped down from the position of 122 to 143 on the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) of the Transparency International (TI). So, it is no wonder that the current government is deciding to waive the need for paying the unspent balance amount of the advances taken by former and current ministers including the current Prime Minister. The government has already decided to pay for the bills of treatment of NC President Girija Prasad Koirala and her daughter and Deputy Prime Minister Sujata Koirala staying in Singapore in a lavish hotel for a week. According to one estimate the treatment bills will be of about Rs 20 million.

The TI has rated every country on the CPI based on the performances of the government, the laws, legal system, the authority of the anti-corruption agency, and the police. We have seen that the ministers have been the most corrupt persons in Nepal. So, they do not want to delegate any authority to the anti-corruption agency such as Commission On Investigation Into Abuse Of Authority (CIAA). The police have been the most corrupt, too, as most of them could not enforce the law. So, the politicians indicted by the Special Court for corruption instead of sitting behind bars have been sitting at the Central Working Committee of NC. Murders have been serving as the politburo members of the communist parties. Every body knows how corrupt Girija Prasad Koirala has been but neither the laws nor the law enforcement people could touch him. So, it is no wonder Nepal has dropped from 122 to 143 on the CPI.

Most probably, the politicians have heavily influenced the judiciary, too. The Supreme Court of Nepal has swiftly delivered the ruling on the case of the Vice-president taking oath in Hindi but has held the hearing on the President’s unconstitutional move on directly writing a letter to the army chief only once so far. We anticipate the judiciary delivers verdicts on such nationally important cases as soon as possible. If the Supreme Court of Nepal delivers its ruling on the case of the President’s unconstitutional action we will not have such a political deadlock.

The current government is not only corrupt but also very weak, too. Prime Minister and Home Minister have not been able to do anything with the Minister of State for Agriculture and Cooperative Karima Begam for the public offense she has committed slapping the Chief District Officer of the Parsa District four times before all the people standing there humiliating the district administrator. The District Police of the Parsa has issued an arrest warrant in the name of the State Minister for the public offense and the Chairman of the Makwanpur Bar Association, Isworraj Dhakal has filed a public offence case at the Appellate Court in Hetauda against the Minister of State for Agriculture and Cooperative Karima Begum for slapping the Chief District Officer of the Parsa District four times breaking his glasses before the number of people standing there, and has demanded the court to arrest the State Minister for legal actions against her.

Instead of taking actions against the State Minister following the law, Prime Minister and Home Minister have been saying that the previous government has not taken any actions against the Minister for locking up a state official why they should take actions against Begam for the public offense. If Prime Minister Madhav Nepal and Home Minister Bhim Rawal think that they are the high-ranking law-enforcement officials then they need to take the legal actions not only against Begam but also against the former minister for offending the state employee if they find his action is also the public offense.

The irony is that the Home Ministry airs its announcement of the punishments for public offenses on the state-run Radio Nepal every day morning. The Home Ministry has set certain amount of fine and even jail term for insulting someone publicly and thus breaking the Public Offense Law. However, the offender State Minister Begam has been challenging the police and the Home Ministry saying that who could arrest her for her public offense. Is it the rule of law or of offenders?

Such an incompetent government has no rights to continue at all, as it could not resolve any political or economic problems the country has been facing rather it has aggravated these problems not following the rule of law but doing everything to serve the interest of the small group of highly unethical ministers that have looted the country’s treasures in the past.

Leaders of the 18 political parties have been offenders urging the President to abuse the Interim Constitution of Nepal of 2007 making him an offender, too of abusing the constitution; Prime Minster, the Speaker, and other Ministers have been offenders, too not letting the legislators debating the abuse of the Interim Constitution of Nepal of 2007 by the unprincipled President. In addition, all the offending guys with the support of the 18 political leaders have been running the country with their own rules rather than the rule of law. However, they claim that they have been doing everything possible for saving democracy. So, democracy has been at the peril and Nepalis need to fight against the offenders.

November 28, 2009

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