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Kamala Sarup: Corruption's Threat To Democracy

Corruption's Threat To Democracy

By Kamala Sarup

The authorities have to take a stern step against our corrupt leaders. We are just waiting for the day when Nepali politics would become stainless but we have very little faith that we will see this scenario. Nobody had seriously taken the issues in the economic and social spheres. We should not forget that democracy is also a part of basic framework of our constitution. It is our bad luck that corrupt, inefficient people were representatives.

Thus in our view the elections are the only mechanism through which people can raise their voice and elect a govt. We are sure the coming elections will bring people together. We are happy to know that there has been national and international pressure on Nepal to crack down on corruption. All of us should fight for a clean & efficient Government. Bad governance and poverty, political instability, political violence, underpaid civil servants and unresponsive state institutions are inevitable consequences of corruption in Nepal. Anti-corruption efforts must be targeted for the long-term, and must be realistic and achievable. Anti-corruption campaign should focus on those responsible for the misuse of public funds.

Nepalese want the corrupt persons to be punished. How about declaring a war on poverty? Or un-employment? Or inflation? Or under-paid workers? Corruption is deep rooted in Nepal where crime and corruption is rampant and the perpetrators are mostly brutal in their act, so most Nepalese are fed-up about this situation. We can't forget how recently, the donor community, raised concern over issues including crisis in governance, rampant corruption and poor implementation of development projects. We have questions now why are the poor still poor in Nepal? Our country has all the resources and capability to be called as a developed country, but we lack political will and few politicians are honest in our country. If our leaders are more literate and use their brains then nothing can stop us from becoming a developed country.

The so-called leaders should know corruption prevents the efficient allocation of resources and is a disincentive to foreign investment. Having a negative effect on economic growth and development, everyone is suffering from corruption. Eradicating corruption at all levels in the Nepalese bureaucracy should become a priority.

Nepalese leaders who succumb to bribes become alienated by the general population, lose their standing in the international community, and ultimately lose their political legitimacy. In every culture, political and economic systems need justification. This involves acceptance by the general people, which will happen only if people see the systems as efficiently serving their needs. If Nepal enhances its capabilities in aid productivity and utilization, and curbs the misuse of the funds it would not fall into debt trap so easily.

The action by anti-corruption bodies has its own importance and should not be discouraged in an attempt to produce a good government. However, attention should be paid to other options of checking corruption. Financial loot by simple revenue officials to high officials and ministers has made the country poor and individuals rich. The government must be serious and pay due attention to this malady. It is for this reason that the IMF, in its latest report shed light on financial management besides stressing the need to further strengthen revenue mobilization, customs administration and updating audits.

In 1996 the International Chamber of Commerce instituted new voluntary Rules of Conduct to Combat Extortion and Bribery, the Organization of American States adopted the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption, the OECD passed a Recommendation calling for the elimination of tax deductions for foreign bribes, and the UN adopted a declaration calling for the criminalization of bribery of foreign officials and the elimination of the tax deductibility of foreign bribes; in 1997 the Business and Industry Advisory Council of the OECD published a statement calling for improved transparency in government procurement.

On the other side, we have seen the wounds which are a consequence of torture and brutality, among them burns, axe cuts, whip lashes and beatings. These cases are only a sample of the attacks which have become a part of daily life in Nepal. In many areas some villagers have been forced to flee from their homes as a result of the violence. Many of their houses have also been set on fire. This should end immediately. Maoists should realize that peace is not a one side process, you need two sides for a handshake.

Foreign and security policies are rarely election issues. The best way to bring the economy back to normalcy is by being sensitive to resolve the crises. We have a question whether the new government can make economic and other policies with a reasonable shelf life. Political parties of the nation should practice transparency, accountability and give due respect to internal democracy. The government's regular expenditure has gone out of control and revenue is not increasing with the same ratio.

Past governments failed to give peace and have failed to give security. The focus has to be on ending the violence no matter what political process is taking place. Violence activities are taking place due to the poverty and illiteracy and the attraction for temporary benefits due to poverty, unemployment and unequal human rights. Proper and equal provision of rights of employment's and human rights will definitely reduce this curse.


(Kamala Sarup is editor to )

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