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Don Not Obstruct CA sessions

Issue 52, December 28, 2008

By Siddhi B. Ranjitkar

Giving more importance to the return of seized properties to the former owners and the enforcement of the nine-point agreement they have reached with the Prime Minister, Nepali Congress (NC) leaders have been disrupting the process of crafting a new constitution of Nepal. Nepalis would never forgive to the political leaders and parties that do not cooperative on crafting a new constitution. A major task of the Constituent Assembly (CA) is crafting a new constitution for making real a lasting peace in Nepal. NC leaders could resort to any other means other than obstructing the business of the CA for achieving their goal of whatever importance it might be to the Nepalese people in general.

Since December, 21, 2008, NC members of the CA have been boycotting the session of the CA demanding the Prime Minister tell the CA what are the progress made in enforcing the nine-point agreement the NC has reached with the Government. One of the main points in the agreement is the return of the properties taken over by farmers and peasants and the Maoists to the former owners. The Prime Minister said that he would set up a parliamentary committee to monitor the progress in enforcement of the nine-point agreement. However, NC leaders continued to boycott the CA session on Friday, December 26, 2008 disregarding the overture of the Prime Minister.

You could resort to other means of putting pressure on the Prime Minister to enforce the nine-point agreement rather than using the CA. For example, the NC members of the CA could obstruct the Prime Minister entering his office or similar other means to stop the activities of the Prime Minister. The CA is entirely for crafting a new constitution and for settling the political issues. It has been working partially as a legislature in absence of an elected legislature. So, in view of all these things and for the sake of a lasting peace in Nepal, you would be better off not hindering the business of the CA that has just begin the process of crafting a new constitution.

You need to appreciate the people’s mandate and cooperate with other CA members on crafting a new constitution. Nepalese voters have given you the second largest number of members in the CA. You had a chance of forming a government if you had brought the CA members of the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist and Leninist (CPN-UML) and Madheshi People’s Rights Forum (MPRF) to your fold as you did for electing a president and a vice-president; however, either you could not do so for forming a government or you did not bother to do so saving energy for sitting on the opposition and disrupting the business of the CA in the hope of tearing down the current government and forming your own government in the future.

However, for the reasons best known only to your leaders you could not continue your coalition with the CPN-UML and MPRF for forming a new government and gave way to other six parties to form a new government opting to stay on the opposition. It has been quite unfortunate for you and for the nation as a whole as your leaders have been engaged in tearing down the peace process rather than continuing to build it up, in the hope of regaining the lost power. It is certainly not an appropriate means to regain the power. So, if they want to save you from extinction, they need to follow the people’s mandate and cooperate with all other political parties on crafting a new constitution.

Your President Girija Prasad Koirala has launched a campaign of creating awareness of the authoritarian rule of the Maoists. It might be the right approach of your leaders to regain their lost power. However, after a mass rally in Birgunj, Nepalgunj and Kanchanpur, they did not continue such a mass rally in other towns. It might be perhaps for the reason that it could not create even a ripple among the Nepalese people. Probably, your leaders must have thought the easiest way of putting pressure on the government is to hinder the business of the CA hoping to turn the political tides to their favor. It is a public forum primarily for crating a new constitution. So, let it do its business for the sake of saving the nation from political instability.

It is a known fact that politicians need to be patience to achieve their goals but your leaders did not show such patience rather have been using the CA as their weapon to put pressure on the government. Such unreasonable actions of your leaders have been similar to the actions of other petty political parties that could not go to the people to achieve their goal but use the CA as the means for achieving their goal. If your leaders believe in the people-based politics then they need to go to the people for anything they want to achieve rather than hindering the CA from achieving the noble goal of crating a new constitution. Your leaders need to think over the continuation of boycotting the sessions of the CA might adversely affect the future prospect of the NC to gain the power back.

Your leaders did not hesitate to clasp the hands with the killers of democracy for regaining the lost power. For example, leader of the Rastriya Janashakti Party (RJP) Surya Bahadur Thapa had been a killer of democracy in 1960s and in 1980s. In 1960s he assisted the then-king Mahendra in murdering the democracy and then the then-king Birendra in winning the referendum on choosing between the no-party and the multi-party system in 1980s. Similarly, leader of the Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal (RPP-N) Kamal Thapa was the member of the cabinet of the then-king Gyanendra: killer of democracy second time in 2005. Your President Girija Prasad Koirala has been calling on them to unite to form a so-called democratic forum to fight against the authoritarian rule of the Maoists. However, he did not say anything about whether the collaboration with the killers of the democracy would form a true democratic forum and about those Maoists poised to kill democracy in the name of setting up ‘People’s Democracy’ and so on.

If your president is really a guardian of democracy then he needs to help formulating a law that punishes the killers and the potential killers of democracy in Nepal. For example, Surya Bahadur Thapa and Kamal Thapa both the collaborators in killing democracy in the past have been talking and instigating to kill democracy again with impunity. Similarly, some Maoist leaders have been hinting to kill democracy. So, Nepalese democracy has been facing the threat of existence from both the left and the right parties. So, why your president Koirala that sees the authoritarian rule of the Maoists does not see the killers of democracy but goes to clasp hands with them to regain power.

Your president has been even letting some people to celebrate the anniversary of the death of democracy in Nepal in mid December every year letting them to garland the statue of the then-king Mahendra: the symbol of the killing of democracy. So, it is not a surprise that your president attempted to save the killers of democracy in the name of keeping the monarchy in any form in the past. The irony is that our democracy has been facing the threat from the so-called guardian of democracy Girija Prasad Koirala collaborating with the killers of democracy and the hardliner Maoists openly talking about killing democracy. So, if your president Koirala is a true guardian of democracy he needs to collaborate with all political parties to fight against the killers of democracy and the potential future killers of democracy.

On December 16, 2008, Nepalis have seen how a group of people celebrated the anniversary of killing of democracy by the then-king Mahendra garlanding his statue at the Square nearby Sanskrit School in Kathmandu. It is a criminal act by any democratic norms. So, why your president did not send some of his cadres or students to stop the criminals openly celebrating the anniversary of the death of democracy in Nepal and shout the slogans of returning the despotic monarchical rule in the country if he can send them to burn tires and disrupt vehicular traffic on the streets for achieving the enforcement of the nine-point agreement he has reached with the Prime Minister?

In the name of human rights, the killers of democracy have been enjoying not only the freedom but also even the freedom of engaging in killing democracy again. Killing of democracy is not the part of the human rights but it goes against the fundamental human rights of the people to live in the democratic environment rather than under the despotic rule of authoritarian rulers. So, it is now time to bring the former killers including Gyanendra Shah and potential future killers of democracy to justice and ban all sorts of activities that go against democracy, and tear down the statues of Mahendra that have been standing as the symbols of the killing of democracy.

If your president Koirala were democratic minded he would never allow your CA members to disrupt or boycott the CA session rather would create an environment conducive to craft a new constitution as soon as possible and wait for the general election to grab power again. However, his actions and words have been not for crafting a new constitution. For example, he said that he would float his own constitution if the Maoists did not write a new constitution.

First, not a single party: Maoist or Nepali Congress is going to craft a constitution but the people’s representatives in the CA are going to write a new constitution.  So, your leader has no people’s mandate for floating any constitution. Your leader’s saying ‘floating a new constitution’ is putting his feelings into words; and boycotting the business of the CA is probably his actions to this end. Are not they dictatorial actions of your president?

Demand for returning the seized properties to the former owners and enforcing nine-point agreement has been only the excuse for your president and his sycophants to boycott the CA sessions. The purpose of blocking the CA session is certainly for forcing the six-party coalition to fail and then forming a new government of your president: the grand old man called Girija Prasad Koirala.

It seems that the NC leaders have instigated politicians of other political parties such as RPP, Terai Madhesh Democratic Party (TMDP), and so on for using the CA for even trifle matters. For example, the leader of TMDP Mahant Thakur said publicly that he would take the issue to the street if the government does not enforce the eight-point agreement the United Democratic Madheshi Front (UDMF) had signed with the then-government on February 28, 2008. Similarly, Foreign Minister and leader of MPRF Upendra Yadav have been saying publicly that he also would take the issue to the streets. However, these things might be all political maneuvers for their personal gains

Do not use CA for your party or personal gains; it is for crafting a new constitution not the place for a political game. If Nepalis cannot write a new constitution this time and put democracy on a strong footing then they will need to live in the political instability for many years to come.

December 27, 2008.

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