Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search


Conflict and Political Inclusiveness in Nepal

Conflict and Political Inclusiveness in Nepal

Bhupal Lamichhaney

During insurgency in an effort to mobilize people against Parliamentary democracy, the Maoists’ main weapon is the complaint that Parliament excludes the minorities, the poor peasants, the dalits, and the labor class from mainstream political leadership.

No one differs without participation of the people, development in a country, as Nepal is impossible because Nepal has human capital. If this capital is not used in the proper manner, it is not viable to try to use alternatives in the form of foreign aid and investment.

People like to invest when they feel their investment is going to bear fruit. No investor invests in something that looks unproductive. Therefore, the political situation in Nepal therefore requires a democratic, stable, and participatory system that respects everyone’s human rights.

To avoid violent conflict and bring opportunity for peaceful resolution, the primary requirement is the democratization of the polity. Therefore, peace begins by recognizing the people are the supreme rulers of the land and masters of their own destiny. Once the power equation becomes lopsided in favor of people, the step toward peace begins, which is always positive.

Regimes tend to tighten rules and regulations when the people are in conflict. However, for people in conflict, resolution is democratization of the process itself. Introduction of new laws and tightening the power grip is equivalent to grinding sand for oil. The more liberty the people have, the more chance for peaceful resolution arises.

Therefore, the present triangular political conflict in Nepal needs to leap forward in democratization of all the remaining mechanisms of state affairs. Whether they are electoral revisions, incorporation of all ethnic minorities, or the end of the class and caste systems, all these elements need incorporation in an improved democratic framework.

In theory, no one is against the need for inclusiveness of all sectors of society to make the system more popular and participatory. Commitment to the fundamentals of democracy means working for equal opportunity to all without favoritism. Nevertheless, because of centuries old traditions and suppressions there are many minorities in Nepal who remain left out of the mainstream unable to compete with others.

In this regard, reflection of inclusiveness for these people as participants in the political process is at the level of using their ballots only, not at the leadership level. The emergence of minorities into leadership seems remote, as these people have not yet had opportunity for education and access to other facilities. This is the main criticism of the present constitution of Nepal.

Therefore, inclusiveness remains the main issue for peace and future stability in Nepal. It is so easy to say that in Nepal the parliamentary democracy failed to include all sections of society. It looks true too. The political parties in Nepal are under the leadership of the same kind of class and caste of people. There have been so many regime changes in Nepal for many centuries. However, the benefited ones have been the same kind of class or caste no matter what changes were made in the system. Feudal Nepal, democratic Nepal: the leadership patterns are the same.

Morning shows the day. In future, even if the Maoists take control of the kingdom, the same pattern is sure to repeat because the upper caste Brahmins and Chetries head the Maoist party that raised arms in the name of the poor, the excluded, and the labor class people. One can find no difference regarding the ethnicity, class and caste of the leadership in the Maoist party and other so-called bourgeois parties.

True democracy reflects a vibrant atmosphere. People are participating in the decision-making process either at the centre as people’s representative or at the grassroots level as participants for development. They are free to express their viewpoints and choose their lifestyles without fear and disturbances. What kind of political system will insure this?

Some so-called leaders want their nomination in leadership by escaping competition. Yet, competition is the key element of democracy. They are against democracy because they cannot win the hearts and minds of the people in the elections. In the name of inclusiveness, these people are always supportive of the shortcut way to nomination. During Panchyat system, this was the way. The present king has used the same old tactics after his Royal take over on 1 Feb. 2005.

Can Nepal bear dictatorship of any type, Maoist or Monarchist, who use an iron hand and centralized economic policy for the social transformation and development leaving no room for different political as well as religious ideology?

There can be new roads built and new cities established and some hydroelectric dams can be constructed. However, when quality of life, peace, and happiness of the people is concerned, are people peaceful in that kind of society and can real development be carried out? Are not the examples of 30 years Nepal and many decades of North Korea sufficient?

This is the right time for people in Nepal to think in terms of what kind of political system they want in order to have democracy with inclusiveness of all ethnic minorities, gender, class, and caste.

Can a classless-casteless society as the Maoists dream and want to create bring on board all kinds of people in Nepal?

They may say yes it does; but the question is the same old one party dictatorial rule as in the former USSR, as well as in China and North Korea today. These governments have not brought all people on board and have become examples of worst inhumane regimes of the world. Have the Maoists transformed after taking hundreds of thousands of liters of blood from innocent people? Instead, as we read in the old Panchatantra stories, are they now as polite as an old tiger with golden bangles living on the banks of a river luring the Brahmin?

The nomination of yes men in an undemocratic atmosphere is neither inclusive nor progressive. Military dictators and communists do this kind of eye washing. Even today’s royal government has two ministers from the so-called dalit society.

Inclusiveness is an on-going political process that increases democratization. A system that is very flexible and incorporates changes according to the demands of the people will cater inclusiveness far better than the dogmatic dogma that continues to fail in the different parts of the world.

If the Maoists have realized the necessity for a democratic system rather than their old expired ideology, then there will be a continuous dialogue between the Maoist party and the other parliamentary parties for changes to be incorporated in the present political system.

After their naïve insurgency in the name of establishing one party dictatorship of the proletariat, Maoists can now be helpful in the restoration of democracy that is in captivity of the Monarch. This gives them an opportunity to correct their wrong acts, which cost so many lives, resources, liberty and human rights of the entire Nepali people.

Once the Maoists denounce violence and start believing in free and fair electoral competition in the process of empowering people as in other democracies, there will be no option left for the king. He must either cooperate with the people of Nepal and become a true constitutional monarch, or become the representative of an institution mentioned only in the history books of Nepal!

The rights of individuals are not only to cast a vote for a certain party, but also to know who is going to represent them in their respective constituencies and be a candidate to represent in the decision making process without partisan. The universal rights of an individual to a representative must be ensured in a democracy.

Can conflict be transformed into peace, changing the royal dictatorial system into political parties, if inclusiveness remains the issue even after the present bloody insurgency?


© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Dunne Speaks: Robertson's Budget Gamble On Treasury
The popular test of the success or failure of Grant Robertson’s fifth Budget will be its impact on the soaring cost of living. In today’s climate little else matters. Because governments come and governments go – about every six to seven years on average since 1945 – getting too focused on their long-term fiscal aspirations is often pointless... More>>

Keith Rankin: Liberal Democracy In The New Neonationalist Era: The Three 'O's
The proposed ‘New Zealand Income Insurance Scheme’ (‘the scheme’) has attracted strong debate among the more left-wing and liberal groupings, within New Zealand-Aotearoa. This debate should be seen as a positive rather than negative tension because of the opportunity to consider and learn from the implications and sharpen advocacy... More>>

Dunne Speaks: Words Matter, Prime Minister
Words matter, especially when uttered by politicians. History is littered with examples of careless or injudicious words uttered by politicians coming back to haunt them, often at the most awkward of times. During the 1987 election campaign, when electoral reform was a hot issue, Prime Minister David Lange promised to have a referendum on the electoral system... More>>

Digitl: Infrastructure Commission wants digital strategy
Earlier this month Te Waihanga, New Zealand’s infrastructure commission, tabled its first Infrastructure Strategy: Rautaki Hanganga o Aotearoa. Te Waihanga describes its document as a road map for a thriving New Zealand... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Leaking For Roe V Wade
The US Supreme Court Chief Justice was furious. For the first time in history, the raw judicial process of one of the most powerful, and opaque arms of government, had been exposed via media – at least in preliminary form. It resembled, in no negligible way, the publication by WikiLeaks of various drafts of the Trans-Pacific Partnership... More>>

The Conversation: Cheaper food comes with other costs – why cutting GST isn't the answer

As New Zealand considers the removal of the goods and services tax (GST) from food to reduce costs for low income households, advocates need to consider the impact cheap food has on the environment and whether there are better options to help struggling families... More>>