In perpetual transition
Nabin Kumar Chhetri
Nepal's political gridlock has crossed all limits. The politicians have made a mess of a system. The people have become silent spectators in this wild hunt for power. The recent proposition to appoint Chief Justice Khil Raj Regmi as the prime minister with a team of technocrats has been met with mixed reactions. While the major political parties have dragged themselves to the point of agreement, the Maoist splinter group led by Mohan Baidya has hit the streets against it. Another intense protest comes from the Bar Association where they have rejected the proposal outright. This is not the first time the Nepali political parties have disagreed. Over the years, disagreement had become a major trope used by the leaders. Prolonged political hullabaloo has incubated deep mistrust against one another. Lack of political altruism has choked the overall development of the country. When all else has failed, the CJ-led government might be the only way to veer the country out of this political quagmire. Apparently, the Chief Justice has agreed to become the Prime Minister. Bangladesh had a CJ-led government. In 1991, When the Hussain Mohammed Arshad's government failed, Shahabuddin Ahmad, the then Chief Justice was appointed as an acting President. After the election and the appointment of the new president, he returned to his normal position as a Chief Justice.
Ours is a great country blessed by the nature. According to the World Bank estimate, the mountain terrains of Nepal have the potential of generating more than 83,000 megawatts of electricity. Despite the natural abundance, the country has had to face the curse of load-shedding. The snowballing of political problems in Nepal has sabotaged the very spirit of the country. After the Ranas and the Panchas; The mushrooming parties have been bickering against one another. The country has not been able to recuperate from the scars of decade long Maoist insurgency. A Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction official, Dipendra Nath Sharma, recently confirmed 17,831 deaths, 7444 women widowed, 1505 disappeared, 8191 disabled and 79552 displaced. The actual figure may be bigger.
It is not the political parties alone who are responsible for this stand-off. There are foreign elements directly interfering in the political negotiations to push their own vested interests. Due to Nepal’s sensitive geographic location; the United States, China and India have maintained strong diplomatic ties with Nepal. The heavy-handedness of these countries can often be felt in Nepalese polity. The frail judicial order has now become a fertile ground for the warring parties to inject pugnacious agendas into the lifeblood of the nation. Within the last five years, various issues have been raised by the parties and most of them have disappeared without being solved. The main job of the major parties has been to organise bandhs, brew hostility and inter-party animosity.
While Nepal's politics remains muddled, there also are stories of hope and courage that have inspired the people to look towards a brighter future. The jail sentence of some corrupt ministers and senior officials within the last three years has created hope. Integration of former Maoist fighters into the Nepal Army is another achievement. The proceedings in the trail of Dekendra Thapa murder case, despite the wish of the prime minister, are few but yet significant acts of judicial initiation. On the social front names like Pushpa Basnet, Anuradha Koirala, Sanduk Ruit and Dil Shova Shrestha have made positive difference. Proactive participation of human rights groups and other similar organisations have, to some extent, discouraged the political parties from catering to their totalitarian wishes. There are previously unheard names like Shardha Bhusal Jha who staged on a fast-unto-death protest to raise awareness against corruption recently. These examples form a silver lining in the cloud.
Nepal needs change but not ‘radical change ' as proposed by some fundamentalists. The term 'radical change' has become a cliche often used by political pundits to gain undue leverage. The country needs transformation based on values, traditions, cultures and the society’s own strength. The parties have long been prone to indecision and inaction. In this unprecedented political transition that resulted in the last ten years, the ordinary people have been victimised. Tens of thousands of homes have been affected by war. People who have been widowed, blinded, those who have lost their sons, brothers and sisters have been waiting for justice. The never ending blame-game by the political players has grossly neglected the general welfare of the country and the people. But the country is cannot remain in perpetual transition. For their own existence, the political leaders must realise that their brinkmanship has crossed limits.
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