Following The Rule Of Law For Peace And Stability
Follow Rule Of Law For Peace And Stability In Nepal
Siddhi B Ranjitkar
Follow the rule of law for the political stability and peace in the country otherwise the rule of force will prevail. Current political deadlock in Nepal is the result of one party not following the rule of law despite the repeated appeal for doing so. When a responsible party does not follow the rule of law you cannot force another party to follow the rule of law the result is the rule of force; that is what exactly happening in Nepal.
President Dr. Ram Baran Yadav broke the rule of law not only once but several times. First, he broke the Interim Constitution of Nepal of 2007 directly writing a letter to the army chief saving his job on the urge of the leaders of the eighteen political parties on May 3, 2009; he could have told the leaders of eighteen political parties he would follow the rule of law rather than abuse the Interim Constitution of Nepal of 2007 to correct the action of firing the army chief by the Prime Minister if it had really breached the rule of law. Then, not following the basic principles and values of democracy, he appointed the man defeated in two constituencies in the elections for the Constituent Assembly-cum-legislature. He could have asked the legislators of the eighteen political parties to elect someone directly elected to the legislature for the position of Prime Minister rather than electing a man defeated in two constituencies in the elections of the Constituent Assembly-cum-legislature. As a President, Dr. Yadav has also not honored his own position acting as a puppet of the eighteen political parties rather than the President of Nepal and going to meet with the third grade political leader at his residence because he has been defending the President’s undemocratic action of directly writing a letter to the army chief.
The opposition legislators have filed a motion on holding a debate over the President’s undemocratic action of directly writing a letter to the army chief at the legislature but the Speaker did not allow to do so breaching the rule of law and forcing the opposition legislators to hold the legislature hostage following the rule of force rather than the rule of law.
If the Supreme Court of Nepal has ruled on the pending case of the President’s unconstitutional move on directly writing a letter to the army chief, the rule of law would have prevailed and the opposition political party leaders would not need to follow the rule of force. However that also has not happened forcing the opposition leaders to take the issue to the streets.
Nobody needs to go to the streets or take the hard path of the rule of force rather than the rule of law if all political stakeholders follow the rule of law. However, if we take a look at the history of the behavior of the so-called Democratic Party we find that the leaders of the so-called Democratic Party had done nothing for institutionalizing democracy means the rule of law rather fought for power only.
The Nepali Congress fought against the autocratic family rule in the mid of the last century and forced the despotic rulers out of power but did not institutionalized democratic institutions and democracy holding elections for a Constituent Assembly and running the government sincerely in the early 1950s consequently they lost the power to the authoritarian Panchas for thirty years. Again, the people revolted against the corrupt Panchayati rulers in 1990 and returned the power to the Nepali Congress (NC) and Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist and Leninist (CPN-UML). The NC received the majority in the parliament and formed a government. However, the government headed by Girija Prasad Koirala did not run the administration smoothly as he did not follow the rule of law and institutionalized democratic principles and values rather fostered corruption in the administration. At the same time, the leaders of CPN-UML resorted to violence in the parliament to oppose the government rather than following the rule of law for correcting the misrule of the NC leaders. CPN-UML Legislator KP Oli broke the chairs in the parliament on camera in opposing the government rather than following the rule of law. The CPN-UML cadres went on rampage on the streets breaking the railings in opposing the NC government. Consequently, these unscrupulous and undemocratic guys lost the power once again to the despotic rulers. However, once again Nepalis put the political leaders back to power ending the authoritarian dynastic rule in 2006 for the rule of law.
Again the undemocratic-minded leaders of the NC and CPN-UML forced the leaders of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (CPN-Maoist) to agree on the majority rule bargaining for declaring Nepal a republic going against the mandate the people have given to the political leaders for working on the consensus politics. The unprincipled leaders of the NC and the CPN-UML have got the tool of the majority rule to play the dirty political game rather than follow the rule of law. Then they forced the President to abuse the Interim Constitution of Nepal of 2007 in the name of saving democracy. The breaking up of the Interim Constitution of Nepal of 2007 by the President has been the most democratic action for them. So, they are not willing to debate it at the legislature at any cost thus going head-on confrontation with the UCPN-Maoist that has been demanding to correct the undemocratic action of the President. In this circumstance, do the UCPN-Maoist leaders have any option other than to follow the rule of force and take the issue to the streets?
When the political leaders and their government do not follow the rule of law putting efforts on writing a new constitution does not make any sense. This sentiment has been echoed in the public statement of UCPN-Maoist leader and former Minister for Peace and Reconstruction Janardan Sharma. Speaking at the interaction program in Kathmandu on December 20, 2009, UCPN-Maoist leader Janardan Sharma has said, “we will write a new constitution on the streets.” So, he is clearly for following the rule of people’s force on the streets for writing a constitution rather than writing it by the people’s representatives elected to the Constituent Assembly for this purpose. Exactly such things happen in the country where the political leaders do not follow the rule of law. Can we ask the UCPN-Maoist leaders to follow the rule of law when the rest of the leaders are not following it?
As a result of the President’s undemocratic behaviors, we have the legally and morally questionable government of Madhav Nepal defeated in two constituencies in the elections for the Constituent Assembly held on April 10, 2008. So, it is no wonder that Madhav Nepal has been doing morally questionable things. He went to Copenhagen for participating in the two-day global summit on climate change hosted by the UN on December 14, 2009 and came back on December 20, 2009 with a large entourage comprising mostly the family members. His five ministers with family members also had spent more than a week in Copenhagen in the name of participating in the global summit on climate change when the UN has allocated only six slots for each participating country. The irony is that some members of the international community working in Nepal have spent the money intended for the poor on the family holidays of the Prime Minister and his unscrupulous ministers in Copenhagen. The moral standard of such members of the international Community is as much questionable as that of the Nepalese Prime Minister.
Prime Minister Madhav Nepal has proudly said to the reporters after meeting with Indian Prime Minister Man Mohan Singh in Copenhagen on December 19, 2009 that the Indian Prime Minister has appreciated his competency. However, Madhav Nepal has not been competent in doing anything so far except for coming to power even losing the elections in two constituencies thus proving one of the most unprincipled politicians in Nepal. He must be one of the champions of not following the rule of law.
In the name of climate change, Prime Minister Madhav Nepal took his 24 ministers to the most amazing tourist destination called Kalapathar to hold a cabinet meeting at the considerable cost to the nation. This guy Madhav Nepal is repeating the story of previous Panchayati ruler Birendra and his spouse spending two months in every winter in Surkhet and taking a helicopter ride to the remote areas for opening a water tap or something else at the high cost to the nation. As in the past, the government of Madhav Nepal does not disclose how much money that has paid for his visit to Copenhagen and for holding a cabinet meeting at Kalapathar in Nepal. This is the violence of a rule of law in other words corruption.
Prime Minister Madhav Nepal’s Home Minister Bhim Rawal pat the policemen for killing unarmed five people in return for the death of a policeman at Dudejhari of the Kailali district on December 4, 2009 in the name of ejecting the landless people staying in the fallow land of the forest area. If the Home Minister has followed the rule of law his policemen would arrest the persons responsible for the death of the policeman rather than committing the crime of killing unarmed innocent people in return. In the civilized countries where the rule of law is strictly followed such a Home Minister would have gone on trail for killing innocent people but in Nepal where the rule of force has been prevailing Prime Minister Madhav Nepal has enjoyed the honor to have such unethical Home Minister onboard of his cabinet.
Home Minister Bhim Rawal has exposed his immoral mind on December 20, 2009 saying the shutdown called by the UCPN-Maoist protesting against the President’s undemocratic act has turned into violence. Everybody watching the live TV broadcast aired from the streets across the country on December 20, 2009 has seen how the police have fired tear gases at the protestors and beaten the innocent people walking on the streets at the New Baneswore in Kathmandu. The Home Minister uses all sorts of violence against the protestors and the common folks walking on the streets but charges the protestors for resorting to violence. Home Minister Bhim Rawal says that he will take strong actions against the people not following the rule of law that is fine but the Home Minister himself does not follow the rule of law that is the problem.
On one pretext or another, the NC and CPN-UML cadres had been on the streets protesting against the rule of the UCPN-Maoist during the nine-month rule of the UCPN-Maoist-led coalition government of UCPN-Maoist, CPN-UML, MPRF (Madheshi People’s Rights Forum) and some other minor political parties. NC and CPN-UML legislators have held the legislature hostage for several months demanding various things from the UCPN-Maoist-led government. From the record of the Speaker of the legislature, the CPN-UML legislators alone held the legislature hostage 57 days. Currently, the UCPN-Maoist leaders have been holding the legislature hostage demanding the debate over the undemocratic act of the President at the legislature. Deputy Prime Minister Bijya Gacchedar has once said that if the UCPN-Maoist comes to power his legislators would hold the legislature hostage for an indefinite period for not allowing the government to work. So, the mindset of the unscrupulous political leaders has been to remain in power by hook or crook.
In these circumstances, can we ask the UCPN-Maoist leaders not to follow the rule of force when all political actors have been not following the rule of law? In this situation, will writing of a new constitution be a meaningful one if all political stakeholders are not following the rule of law? Following the rule of law, all political leaders need to debate the undemocratic move of the President on directly writing a letter to the army chief at the legislature when the President does not act ethically and voluntarily for quitting the position for making the Interim Constitution of Nepal of 2007 work otherwise Nepalis have to face the turbulent political situation in the coming days. Nepalis will need to fight against the unprincipled politicians for the rule of law as they have done against the despotic rulers in the past. Like it or not this is the current political situation in Nepal.
December 21, 2009.