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Nepal: Stop Giving Assistance To Govt. Agencies

Stop Giving Assistance To Government Agencies

By Siddhi B. Ranjitkar
Sunday, July 30, 2006

The recent Nepalese media have disclosed the Japanese aid to the broadcasting sector in bold letters. The US$ 8.1 million for any broadcasting media is too big sum to ignore. If this assistance were for strengthening the independent broadcasting sector then it would help Nepalis if it were for the state-run broadcasting sector then it will work as a slow-poison pill because the state-run media had been anti-democracy and anti-people. It will be so in the future too because it serves the government only not the people.

The assistance to any state-run agency will help the corrupt ministers and the bureaucracy to siphon off the money from the foreign assistance to their pockets. This has been the history of the foreign assistance that went directly to the state-run agencies in Nepal.

Nepal has been receiving foreign assistance since 1955. So, it has been more than 50 years since the Nepalese Government has started receiving foreign assistance that has been helping to build so many roads, hydro-power stations, irrigation systems and so on but the government could not even repair and maintain the foreign-built roads and irrigation systems. This is entirely due to the tendency of the ministers and the government bureaucrats to make money out of the foreign assistance than properly utilizing it. So, it is desirable that the friendly countries would not make the same mistakes of assisting the corrupt state-run agencies.

Another great news of foreign assistance in the Nepalese media is the Japanese Government grant of US$ 83,137 to Association of Medical Doctors of Asia – Nepal (AMDA-Nepal) for building an AMDA Mechi Hospital in Jhapa, Nepal. This is the sort of foreign assistance desirable because the assistance directly goes to the concerned beneficiary not the corrupt state-run agency that absorbs most of the liquid foreign assistance.

Currently, assistance is necessary for strengthening civil-society organizations, human rights organizations, consumers’ associations, and other democracy-institutionalizing institutions. No matter whether the government is of the king or of any political parties tends to serve the interest of the people of the concerned party or the agency rather than serve the Nepalis in general. So, the foreign assistance is highly desirable for strengthening democracy and the people but not for strengthening the government because the government had never worked for the people in the history of Nepal.

The current government is the replica of the previous government because they run the same corrupt bureaucracy in the same style. The ministers don the same palace-imposed dress for the ministers. What changes the current government brought for the benefits of the people on the streets? The answer clearly is nothing. So, we need the foreign assistance to the associations and organizations that keep a perpetual eye on the state-run agencies for making them work efficiently and effectively.

The recently exposed actions of the previous Finance Ministers are the examples of daylight robberies. The previous Finance Minister paid foreign currencies worth of 18 million Nepalese rupees to one of the royal palace family member called Helen Shah for medical treatment. Similarly, the Finance Minister of the previous Government gave off-budget rupees 340 million to the king. How dare the Finance Ministers misused the people’s money for the benefits of some individuals.

Nepalis demand the current Finance Minister recover the money illegally paid to some individuals from the concerned previous Finance Ministers no matter whether the decisions on making the money available was of the Council Ministers or of the Finance Ministers themselves because the directly responsible person were the Finance Ministers.

Currently, the immediate need for the foreign assistance is for bringing a lasting peace. Certainly, it is funny that the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (CPN-Maoist) has extended the ceasefire but not because the Maoists have continued extortion and so on as one of the diplomats said recently but because they continued to keep the country in the state of war even if they have the 12-point Understanding and Eight-point Agreement with the seven-party alliance (SPA) and its government. Nepalis wish that foreign diplomats worked for a lasting peace in Nepal not for fueling the conflict as in the Middle East and elsewhere. It is easy to fuel the conflict encouraging one party in fighting against another rather than bringing two parties together to have a lasting peace. The SPA and the CPN-Maoist have been closing in for a lasting peace so it is necessary for all foreign diplomats and foreign assistance for bringing a lasting peace rather than making one excuse after another for making uncertain future.

The current House of Representatives and the SPA Government have set other priorities than for a lasting peace in the country. First the House of Representatives wanted to replace the king but not to remove the king. During the people’s movement in April 2006, Nepalis demonstrated that they did not want the king and the royal regime that could not do anything for a lasting peace but used every opportunity that arose from the conflict to consolidate the power of the palace. So, Nepalis wanted to remove the king from the palace once for all. However, in the name of cutting the power of the king, the House of Representatives has strengthened the future position of the king in the country.

Speaker Subash Nemwang effectively replaced the position of the king. He donned like a king and looked like a king presiding over the House of Representatives. Only one thing he has not done is he has not taken the lion-chair with the canopy of a multi-headed serpent vacated by the outgoing king.

Nepalis do not want any king but a lasting peace, democracy, basic human rights, independent and free media, independent judiciary, and civil society organizations that advocate the causes of the common people.

The current House of Representatives have not addressed any difficulty of the common people. Bonded laborers have to come to Kathmandu to get their grievances heard by the government. Some of the 5,000 activists injured during the people’s movement in April 2006 have been languishing in different hospitals for treatment. Students have had to resort to picketing at the Ministry of Education, stop traffic and even to burn tires on the streets, and teachers have had to picket for getting their grievances heard by the concerned government agency.

When the Civil Society leaders call for a peaceful rally demanding early solution of the conflict and elections for a Constitution Assembly, the members of the House of Representatives snarled like lions against the Civil Society leaders. Could any reasonable and sincere House members tell that the Civil Society leaders have done wrong by staging a rally for conflict resolution and for early elections for a Constituent Assembly? It indicates that the 205 members of the House of Representatives wanted nothing but to extend their lives at the House. Are they not corrupt?

Nepalis want immediate resolution of the state of conflict for a lasting peace. So, they want immediately dissolve the House of Representatives, and the current government, and then form an interim legislature and interim government, and hold elections for a Constituent Assembly, formulate a people’s constitution for democratic system of governance. It sounds like the Maoists speaking but it is not the Maoists but the entire Nepalis want a lasting peace and democracy. So, the so-called SPA leaders instead of meeting the foreign diplomats and listening to them, listen to the peoples’ voices, and take immediate actions before it becomes too late.


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