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Why not Lokman?

Monday, May 6th, 2013
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The Annapurna Post, 5 May

A few organisations and individuals have been strongly opposing the Constitutional Council’s decision to nominate former chief secretary Lokman Singh Karki as the chief of the Commission the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA). The manner in which they are challenging the move it seems like Karki is the single biggest threat to democracy in Nepal. However, if this is the case then the foundations of our democracy must be very fragile.

It is important to understand the motive of the media houses who consider themselves  agenda setters of the country and other individuals who are against Karki becoming chief. Why are major national dailies dedicating entire front pages to Karki’s issue? These stalwarts of democracy accuse Karki of suppressing the 2006 Jana Andolan. But why didn’t they speak out when other suppressors of the people’s movement were promoted to high posts in the government and police?

Another accusation is that Karki was appointed by the then royal regime. Good god our memory. The same TV station run by a media house which so vehemently opposes the appointment of Karki as CIAA chief was inaugurated by former crown prince Paras Shah. Media owners who once were submissive to the royal regime have now suddenly turned revolutionary and Karki has become a prime target for them.

However, the real reason behind the attacks is that these people who have amassed untold wealth by ransacking the treasury and evading taxes are scared they will be punished if Karki comes to power. Karki had said during a speech that if he becomes CIAA chief, he would take immediate action against defaulters who have stolen from the government and even internationally renowned businessmen would not be spared. No wonder a certain section of society is terrified by the prospect of losing their ill-gotten money.

Although the media is trying to portray the current situation as a result of differences within the four-party mechanism, Karki was selected through a unanimous decision by the mechanism. UCPN (M) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal recommended him and others like the UML, NC, and UDMF agreed on it.

What is most unfortunate is that even the esteemed Supreme Court is getting dragged into the controversy. However, media houses who are so proud of their freedom today must not forget the role the SC played to protect them during the difficult days of the royal regime. Protesting against the judiciary for not allowing reporters who wear t-shirts is harmful because the SC might not be able to defend the media in the future.

The time has come to see if the CJ-led government can stand up against the threats from a few media houses. If it fails to appoint officials under pressure, then it will prove itself to be a spineless institution.

Nepal’s interim constitution guarantees the right to information to all citizens. Why cannot Karki hold the post of CIAA chief? Nepalis are eager to find out more. If his appointment is blocked because of intimidation from a handful of individuals and organisations who have plundered the state exchequer, then it will be a mockery of the democratic norms of this country. We don’t think having Karki as chief will in anyway endanger the fundamental values of democracy.

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One Response to “Why not Lokman?”

  1. anonymous on Says:

    very clear in nepali. Mechanisms will control no matter whom, if mechanisms are also put into place that responsables be controllable and will have to really actually justify administration done and job done.
    Nepal is just slowly recovering from civil war and earthquake. Now there seems to be a tendency to go for hindu national identity as people always want to go for the good old days. I do not think justice was ever served so it is not a matter of religion at all or this or that name.
    Control and performance control. And we never get the real news very difficult as journalists go by name and fear retaliation.

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