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Republic or Not: Greatest Moral Issue

Republic or Not: Greatest Moral Issue

By Siddhi B. Ranjitkar

*******

Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala has been not only pro-monarchy but also has been behaving as a monarch above law, and going against the tide of popular opinion for republic disregarding not only his commitments made to the people but also even to the signature he has put on the draft Interim Constitution agreed by the seven-party alliance (SPA) and the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (CPN-Maoist). The SPA and the CPN-Maoist have monopolized the shaping of the destiny of more than 27 million Nepalis disregarding the people’s aspirations demonstrated during the Peoples’ Movement in April 2006. It seems that both the SPA and the CPN-Maoist don’t care of what Nepalis want but care of how to get into the power. So, the political parties are in the greatest moral crisis.

The SPA has ignored what it has pledged to the people and has been attempting to get into the power. They have relapsed into the power struggle. If the leaders of the SPA still remember they have pledge inclusive democracy to the people. Then only Nepalis in general supported them and brought down the despotic king, and turned over the power to them. Currently, they have forgotten inclusive democracy leaving the ethnic communities high and dry. In the past, it has been the standard practice of political parties to ignore the people after they get into the power. So, it is no wonder that they simple gone back to their past habits. However, Nepalis would not live them in peace if they ignore their needs and their aspirations.

The SPA leaders have repeatedly said that they would not let the past mistakes repeat again and let the corrupt people go unpunished. However, all corrupt leaders are still enjoying the high-ranking positions in the parties of the SPA, and some even raised the voices. For example, ‘The Rising Nepal’ of Dec. 29, 2006, reported that speaking at the mass meeting held in Bandipur under the auspices of the peace campaign of the Nepali Congress (NC), Central Member of NC, Govind Raj Joshi has stressed that the weapons of People's Army should be managed completely at the earliest in order to create fearless environment in villages. He even opined that the NC was following the aspirations of the people. However, he forgot to mention that Nepalis are sick and tired of corrupt leaders such as Govind Raj Joshi himself. These guys are supposed to be behind bars but they are enjoying not only freedom but also even the high respect among the SPA leaders because of the unscrupulous nature of the SPA leaders.

The CPN-Maoist also has given up their stance on making Nepal - a federal state and signed off the draft interim constitution that ignores the demand of the ethnic communities for their autonomy. Perhaps, it is the price they paid for getting amnesty from the SPA Government for the crimes they had perpetuated, for the death of about 15,000 Nepalis, and for even continuing the crimes against the people.

Ethnic communities have started raising their voices for self-rule. Recently Limbus in the east, Madhesis in the south, and Newars in Kathmandu have stage their separate rallies demanding autonomy and self-rule. They want autonomous state with a separate legislature and laws to self-rule. They will continue to do so until they meet their goal of attaining self-rule.

Demanding the autonomy of the Terai people, the splinter group of the CPN-Maoist, Janatantrik Terai Mukti Morcha (JTMM) [Terai People’s Independent Front] has intensified its violent activities in Terai region. Their demand for self-rule is correct but their violent actions are not. Peaceful movement will give better results than the violent and forceful actions. Apparently, Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala has made contact with the leaders of the JTMM and has kept a contact for further dialogue. His contact with the JTMM is only another trick to deceive the people. The violent agitation launched by the JTMM is the result of the CPN-Maoist could not keep the promises made to the people of Terai. It is highly unlikely that Prime Minister Koirala would do what the CPN-Maoist could not.

Such an unscrupulous person as Prime Minister Koirala could never be the binding element for all the ethnic communities. He just projects himself as a uniting person as the royalists have projected the monarchy as a uniting institution of all Nepalis in the past. The monarchy had suppressed all ethnic communities with the military power in the name of uniting the country.

Today nobody except the ethnic communities could be the binding forces. So, all ethnic communities instead of launching a separate and independent movement for self-rule, they need to form a common front for a common goal of self-rule. Then, it will be more effective than following the unscrupulous political leaders.

Politics-the bedrock of the power to governance has been a moral failure in Nepal thus failing to lay a solid foundation for political stability as deceitful politicians more often than not run the country. Prime Minister Koirala has been a crook in the past is a crook in the current time and will remain as a crook in the future too. For example, ‘The Himalayan Times’ of Dec. 28, 2006 reported that at the gathering of lawyers held by Nepal Bar Association in Kathmandu on Dec. 28, the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist and Leninist (CPN-UML) Senior Leader Jhalanath Khanal revealed several points went missing in the draft interim constitution the next morning after they gave it a final touch at the official resident of Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala in the previous night. Another example of deceit is: talking to journalists in his hometown in Biratnagar on Friday, Dec. 29, 2006, Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala said that he was for amending the draft Interim Constitution two weeks after the SPA and the CPN-Maoist signed off. He said that it was not appropriate to give unlimited powers to the Prime Minister including appointment of the Chief Justice. He further said that legislature, executive and judiciary were the checks and balance of power; so all powers should not be concentrated in the hands of a single person. He also defends the delay in promulgation of the Interim Constitution regretting the finalization of the draft interim constitution without considering its future implication. These are all excuses he has been trying to put forward to delay the election for a Constituent Assembly. On Monday, Jan 01, 2007, Prime Minister Koirala has openly said that an election for a Constituent Assembly is not possible without setting up police posts and without returning the secretaries to Village Development Committees. He thus sent a clear message to Nepalis that he is not for an election for a Constituent Assembly. Nepalis should immediately push such a despotic Prime Minster out of power as he has been going against the people’s aspirations demonstrated in the People’s Movement in April 2006.

General Secretary of NC, Ram Chandra Poudel defended his party president and Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala, saying that Koirala’s “age factor” has played a dominant role in the all-party meeting, in the interim constitution and in the cabinet. He said that Chairman of the CPN-Maoist, Prachanda and General Secretary of the CPN-UML, Madhavji hesitantly agreed to the Koirala’s proposal for making the Prime Minister the most powerful but it was the need of the hour.

The state-run newspaper ‘The Rising Nepal’ reported that at the inaugural ceremony of 'Regional Residential School on Socio Economic and Development Rights and Good Governance', held by the Kathmandu School of Law in Lalitpur on Dec. 26, 2006, Acting Chief Justice Kedar Prasad Giri said that there is no alternative but to entrust the Prime Minister with the responsibilities of both the head of state and government in the current circumstances. "In principle one person should not be the head of state and government but is there any alternative?" he countered the media persons’ question. Acting Chief Justice Giri said the rule of law and compliance to this principle are the pressing needs of current society.

Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala has appealed to the Nepalese people to be aware of regressive forces, which are still active to destroy the achievements of the April movement as reported by ‘The Rising Nepal’ of Dec. 29, 2006. "I urge all countrymen not to do anything that would encourage reactionaries, who have not yet been defeated following the success of Janandolan - II," Prime Minister Koirala told journalists in Biratnagar referring to the violence erupted in Nepalgunj in course of strike called by Nepal Sadbhawana Party-Anandidevi (NSP-A) on Tuesday Dec 28, 2006. "I am extremely shocked to hear about what took place at Nepalgunj, which has, in fact, worked as an eye-opener for us,” he said. "All democrats and eight political parties must understand this reality and not allow the regressive forces to raise their heads,” he emphasized.

Prime Minister Koirala talks about the regressive force raising its head even he issues a threatening warning to the king to finish him off if the king is indulging in the activities such as in Nepalgunj but none has been so regressive than Prime Minister Koirala after the People’s Movement in April 2006. For example, ‘The Rising Nepal’ of Dec. 30, 2006, reported that referring to the Nepalgunj incident, the Prime Minister said, "If he (the king) continues to do so, he will soon come to an end." He could remove the monarchy any time he likes but he has been preserving it as a sacred cow. Possibly, he wants to keep the monarchy as a bargaining chip when talking to other members of the SPA and the CPN-Maoist. He has been defending the regressive forces not making the High Level Probe Commission’s report on the atrocities committed by the king’s security public despite the repeated demands made by human rights activists, members of the House of Representatives and even some ministers of the his government. Currently, he has been putting all his efforts on either delaying or not holding an election for a Constituent Assembly at all taking the country back to the square one.

The greatest mistake of the SPA was the making of Girija Prasad Koirala a fifth-term Prime Minister. He has betrayed his party, other political parties and after all Nepalis in general since he became the Prime Minister in 1991. So, it is anticipated that he would continue to betray the people benefiting his sycophants who have recommended him for a Noble Prize.

The most deserving person for any award has been the current Home Minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula. He has risked his life and position to bring the CPN-Maoist leaders such as Prachanda and Dr. Baburam Bhattarai on board helicopter to the jungle of intellectuals for peace talks with the Prime Minister and the SPA leaders in Kathmandu from the real jungle they have been dwelling in. He would have done a better job than current Prime Minister Koirala if he was made a Prime Minister. He deserves all the credits for doing most of the difficult jobs of the Home Minister as well as the head of the government-peace-talks team.

The king was responsible for the death of about 15,000 Nepalis; some of the SPA leaders were also responsible for it, and certainly the CPN-Maoist was responsible too. The Koirala government has given amnesty to the Maoists. However, Nepalis in general might not have forgiven anybody yet. Victims of the Maoists and the king’s security forces have been still languishing in different parts of Nepal. The displaced people by both the securities and the Maoists have not been able to return to their home yet. Similarly, victims of the king’s security forces during the People’s Movement in April 2006 have not received the attention they deserve yet. The Koirala government has been indifferent to their problems. So, if Saddam Hessian could be hanged for genocide why not some of these guys could not be hanged for the same reason

Please visit the website www.kathmandumetro, and www.SiddhiRanjitkar.com, and write to Siddhi@SiddhiRanjitkar.com.


ENDS

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