Political Vendetta In Nepal
Political Vendetta In Nepal
By Siddhi B. Ranjitkar
“You might fall in a hole you dig for others” - Russian Proverb
Some political leaders have been attempting to tear down the current coalition government of six political parties for personal reasons rather than for the national benefits. These political leaders have not learned the lessons from the past failures they have had due to their negative attitude to the political reality in Nepal. They continue to behave in the same manner causing their own downfall.
On December 18, 2008, Finance Minister Dr. Baburam Bhattarai said in public that the current government would stay on for three solid years following the Interim Constitution of Nepal of 2007: two and a half years for crafting a new constitution and then a half year for holding a general election. The Interim constitution has the provision for two years for crafting a new constitution and then extension of another six months if an extra-ordinary situation would prevail in the country causing the CA unable to craft a new constitution during the stipulated period.
Former General Secretary of Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist and Leninist (CPN-UML) Madhav Kumar Nepal had said nothing positive of any other leaders in public in the past causing his own ruin. He criticized Nepali Congress (NC) President Girija Prasad Koirala but never said about his good deeds he had done; similarly he had criticized current Prime Minister Prachanda and his party but never showed positive attitude to them. So, he lost the election for the Constituent Assembly (CA) on April 10, 2008 in both the constituencies he had contested. He rightly said that Nepalese voters rejected him. So, he resigned from the General Secretary of CPN-UML. It was a great loss for any politician.
However, Mr. Nepal has not learned a lesson from the past mistakes and has not attempted to improve his performances despite the opportunity given by his party and colleagues. For example, he flatly rejected to be the Chief of the six-governing-party coordination committee saying such a committee would not be able to perform well without the presence of Prime Minister on it. This committee was set up to steer the government to the right direction. So, how could the Prime Minister be the member of this committee? The Prime Minister and his fellow cabinet members needed directions and guidance from this committee to run the administration effectively. However Mr. Nepal did not take this opportunity of guiding the coalition government because of his negative attitude toward it.
Mr. Nepal has been telling the Nepalese public that the CPN-UML has made a mistake in joining the current six-party coalition government, and needs to pull out its ministers of it and form a new coalition government headed by the CPN-UML. One thing Mr. Nepal forgets is his party has only the third largest number of members in the CA after the CPN-Maoist and the NC. In this situation, will the CPN-Maoist and the NC leaders agree on a coalition government headed by the CPN-UML? Probably, NC leaders would agree on forming a coalition government without the CPN-Maoist but not headed by the CPN-UML leader. So, what Mr. Nepal has been saying is almost impracticable.
His colleague and current General Secretary of the CPN-UML Jhalanath Khanal has been more practicable than Mr. Nepal. He has been telling Nepalis in public that his party will stay on in the coalition government until the completion of crating a new constitution, bringing the peace process to an end, and the restructuring of the State. He also had been saying in public in the past that a coalition government without the CPN-Maoist would not be practicable. So, he ruled out the formation of a three-party coalition government of NC, CPN-UML and Madheshi People’s Rights Forum (MPRF) in the past, and joined the current six-party coalition government. Mr. Khanal foresaw that a coalition government without the CPN-Maoist would not be practicable.
Another CPN-UML leader that has been attempting to dig a hole for the current government is former Deputy Prime Minister K.P. Oli. He has been a great critic of the current government and wants to tear down the government at any cost. However, his power has been limited to the public speaking. In the past also, he had done a lot of anti-people deeds. He has no agenda for doing anything good for the Nepalese people. So, voters also rejected him in the election for the CA.
On December 13, 2008, Minister for Physical Planning and Works and parliamentary leader of Madheshi People’s Rights Forum (MPRF) Bijaya Kumar Gacchadar said that the demand for ‘One Madhesh One Province’ has been irrelevant in the current context. Later on, he explained to the public that he was saying what he saw in the eight-point agreement the United Democratic Madheshi Front (UDMF) reached with the then Government of Nepal on February 28, 2008 that missed ‘One Madhesh, One Pradesh’ for an autonomous Madhesh province and in the 22-point agreement the UDMF signed with the then Peace and Reconstruction Minister Ram Chandra Poudel totally missed it. Other Madheshi leaders acknowledged that they missed the wording of ‘One Madhesh One Province’ in the eight-point agreement instead they agreed on autonomous Madhesh Province.
Responding to Minister Gacchadar’s statement, the Morang District Committee of MPRF demanded the MPRF Central Committee recall him from the government. Some of the MPRF parliamentarians also expressed their concern about the statement of Gacchadar. Some cadres of MPRF have engaged in burning Minister Gacchadar in effigies and shouting slogans against his statement.
Minister Gacchadar in turn charged Coordinator of MPRF Upendra Yadav for instigating cadres and others to engage in the protest against his statement. He even went on saying that Coordinator Yadav has set the MPRF party cadres against him; in addition, his party MPRF had publicly condemned him without even consulting him. He said that he was for national integrity.
On December 18, 2008, MPRF coordinator and Minister for Foreign Affairs Upendra Yadav said that his party had not abandoned the demand for ‘One Madhesh One province’, and so many lives had been sacrificed for it. He said that ‘One Madhesh One Province’ was the ideal of his party as ‘People’s Democracy’ of the Maoists and ‘democratic socialism’ of the Nepali Congress.
Some other political parties including the CPN-UML have been deadly against ‘One Madhesh One Province’. General Secretary of the CPN-UML Jhalanath Khanal has been saying in public that his party will never accept the demand for ‘One Madhesh One Province’.
Immediately after the formation of the current six-party coalition government, NC leaders have launched a campaign against it putting forward seven-point demand. First, they launched verbal attacks on it, and then they stalled the session of the CA and then launched the campaign of awareness of the authoritarian rule of the CPN-Maoist.
The first verbal assault on the government was that the NC leaders were deadly against the integration of the Maoists combatants with the Nepali Army. They refused to stay on the Army Integration Special Committee (AISC) set up by the government to integrate the Maoists’ combatants with the Nepali Army demanding equal representation of the NC on it. On October 28, 2008, the government had set up AISC with two representatives of the CPN-Maoist and one each of the CPN-UML, MPRF and NC on it. On December 18, 2008, leaders of CPN-Maoist and CPN-UML agreed on the equal representation of all political parties on it.
Maoists and some other leaders particularly General Secretary of CPN-UML Jhalanath Khanal have been saying that the integration of the Maoist combatants into the Nepali Army needed to be done following the 12-point understanding the then-seven-party alliance had reached with the Maoists leaders on November 22, 2005, and then the comprehensive peace agreement the then government headed by NC President Girija Prasad Koirala had reached with the CPN-Maoist and the Interim Constitution of Nepal of 2007.
Prime Minister Prachanda said that any attempt to obstruct the integration of Maoists’ combatants with the Nepali Army would be only illusion. He said that he would integrate the Maoists’ combatants with the army and take the peace process to a logical end, no matter what some opposing leaders said.
The Prime Minister also said that the NC President did not reciprocate his overture but engaged in a blame game. The NC president has blamed the Maoists for breaking up the deal on the politics of consensus. The Maoists in turn blamed the NC for not following up the agreements they had reached in the past.
On December 19, 2008, addressing the Sixth Annual General Meeting of the Confederation of Nepalese Industries, Prime Minister Prachanda said that political leaders running the State administration for 15-20 years in the past have been responsible for the current crisis in the power sector in Nepal; they also emptied the national coffer; so, the government would soon bring out a white paper mentioning the responsible leaders for the current crisis in supplying electric power to consumers; the government would also soon declare a state of emergency in the power sector and expedite building diesel power plants to reduce the power cuts.
Obstructing the discussion of the budget submitted by the Finance Minister, the NC members of the CA stalled the session of the CA demanding the properties taken over by the Maoists return to the owners. Then, in order to remedy the obstruction of the CA session and pass the budget, addressing the CA session, Prime Minister Prachanda assured the CA members of returning the properties to the rightful owners by mid December 2008; and if it could not be done so by that time, then the government would provide them with compensation for the lost properties. Then, the Prime Minister signed the nine-point deal on this matter with the NC leaders. On December 18, 2008, NC members again boycotted the CA session demanding Prime Minister Prachanda enforce the nine-point deal reached with the NC.
Some NC leaders particularly Arjun Narshing KC came out against the government providing the compensation for the properties seized by the Maoists. He said that the government should not use the taxpayers’ money for paying the compensation for the properties taken over by the Maoists.
The Maoist leaders have been saying in public that they did not seize properties but landless farmers and peasants had grabbed the land from owners; and most of the properties taken over by the Maoists during the conflict with the State had been returned; however, some properties of the doubtful ownership had not been returned and the government needed to resolve the dispute of ownership by launching a revolutionary land reform program. Maoist leader CP Gajurel has been saying in public that such lands would not be returned.
General Secretary of NC Bimalendra Nidhi said that the Maoists had encouraged the landless people to grab the properties during the conflict and then the Maoists had been finding it difficult to return the properties to the owners.
The properties taken over by the Maoists during the conflict included the properties of CPN-UML leader Amrit Bohara, NC leader Sher Bahadur Deuba, and leader of Rastriya Prjatantra Party Lokendra Bahadur Chanda.
In addition, Maoists had forced thousands of people considered their enemies to flee from their homes and taken over their property during the conflict started in 1996. They were the victims of the Maoists and they set up an association called Maoist Victims’ Association (MVA). They have been demanding immediate return of their property and have been staging protest sit-ins and rallies at the concerned District Administration Offices, at various government offices and at the office of the National Human Rights Commission of Nepal in Kathmandu.
Responding to the recent remarks of NC President Girija Prasad Koirala that his party would float its own constitution if Maoists were unwilling to craft a new constitution, Prime Minister Prachanda said that a constitution was not a scrap of paper that anybody could just take out of his/her pocket and proclaimed it a constitution; if it was so, why Nepalis had fought for a constitution so long.
In one of his public addresses, NC President Girija Prasad Koirala said that he was going to send Maoists back to jungles and to India. Responding to this statement, Maoist leader CP Gajurel said that the Maoists would stay on rather would send the NC leaders to jungles.
Then, NC leader Girija Prasad Koirala launched a campaign of creating awareness of the Maoists’ authoritarian rule starting in Birgunj. He told the public that the NC had launched the campaign against the despotic Rana rulers in early 1950s; and, he was launching the campaign against the authoritarian rule of the Maoists from the same spot in the twenty first century. Then, he went to Nepalgunj to address the public meeting held by the NC for creating awareness of the Maoists’ authoritarian rule, and finally he went to Kanchanpur, far western Nepal to address the public meeting but he came back sickened.
The history of Koirala brothers is that they exploited everybody in the NC including the Supreme Leader of the People’s Movement of 1990 Ganesh Man Singh for their personal gains. If you read the biography of Ganesh Man Singh you will understand that the then-leader of NC BP Koirala had exploited Ganesh Man Singh to the extent possible for his supremacy in the NC. Similarly, Girija Prasad Koirala exploited the sincerity of Ganesh Man Singh in 1990s for his supremacy in the NC. Koirala continued to be the self-declared leader of the NC.
If the NC cadres want to save the NC from extinction, they need to take drastic measures and follow the norms of democracy for electing their leaders. Leaders such as Prakash Man Sing and Narahari Acharya won the lection for the CA because of their republican stand. Currently, they have the majority in their parliamentary party. So, they need to remove the dictatorial Girija Prasad Koirala and take the leadership in their hands rather than let him pass on the torch of power to his family members and relatives.
In December 2008, at one of the interaction programs, Youth leader Chakra Prasad Bastola sarcastically said, “It is the truth, NC does not have democracy; but you do not say so.” He also said, “I am called a youth leader but I am already 60 year old. So, these are the realities in the domain of the NC. “
After forming a coalition government, Prime Minister Prachanda had assured all the State employees and political appointees that his government would not judge them on their political belief, and they needed to work without fear of losing their jobs and prejudice. However, the recent media report has revealed that Maoist Minister of Law Dev Gurung has been putting pressure on member of the Judicial Council Motikaji Sthapit appointed by former Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala to resign from the member of the Judicial Council. Even the Attorney General advised Motikaji Sthapit to meet the Prime Minister saying he was responsible to the Prime Minister. Again the Nepalese media have it that Finance Minister Dr. Baburam Bhattarai has been putting pressure on the political appointees made to various organizations under his ministry to quit their jobs. Recently, the current government has recalled some ambassadors appointed by former Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala
Even for minimizing the potential corruption and abuse of authority, all the previous appointees to various constitutional bodies and the State-run companies needed to remain on their jobs, as ministers attempted to protect their appointees from corruption. For example, when CIAA filed a lawsuit against former Governor of Nepal Rastra Bank (Central Bank of Nepal) Bijayanath Bhattarai, former Finance Minister Dr. Ram Sharan Mahat publicly said that the CIAA needed not do so; the Bank would not be able to function properly without Governor Bhattarai. Later, the law court indicted former Governor Bhattarai for the abuse of authority.
Recently, former Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala has become aggressively uncooperative to the State affairs. On December 16, 2008, he did not show up in the meeting of the Constitutional Council called by the Prime Minister for making key-position appointments to the constitutional bodies such as Public Service Commission and Commission on Investigation into Abuse of Authority (CIAA). He gave the health reasons for not showing up in the meeting. It has been his regular practice of giving such reasons for not attending the meetings he did not like to attend. Public Service Commission has not been able to function properly due to non-availability of its members, and then adversely affecting the normal functioning of the state administration, as it could not fill up the vacant positions in the State administration.
NC President Girija Prasad Koirala and former General Secretary of CPN-UML Madhav Kumar Nepal have had grudge against the Maoist leaders for not supporting their candidacy for the first president of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal. Both of them had an intense desire for the position of the first president of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal. The Maoist leaders have publicly and flatly rejected their candidacy and said that they would accept the candidacy of any other person including the former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Nepal other than those two political leaders. Both of them are working for their personal gains rather than for the nation even at the risk of returning Nepal back to the political instability of late 1990s.
Most of the Nepalis wish to see NC President Girija Prasad Koirala to be the Nelson Mandela of Nepal but his deeds have been that of Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe. Madhav Kumar Nepal has no international standing.