Nepali Times
From The Nepali Press
Open letter


Since you've openly entered politics, some diplomats and others who have met
you see the possibility of your being a 'statesman'. But I believe you must first prove yourself as a politician with a difference. While doing so, it is your judgment, not the arms you carry that will affect the people. King Gyanendra didn't have a shortage of people who called him a 'statesman' either, and perhaps he even believed them.

The challenge now is to sincerely prepare for progress and long-term peace, and to do so democratically. People's participation, inclusion, and transparency are the pillars of a democratic state. Your holding on to arms has alienated the people from you, begging the question whether you are a people's leader. You have be a leader of the people before you can become a statesman. Maybe you are as sensitive as you claim, perhaps you haven't murdered a single person with your own two hands, but that does not absolve you from being accountable for the crimes of violence. And unless you admit responsibility, you cannot be included in a democracy.

The violent Maoist movement may have brought about a transformation and change of direction in Nepal's politics, but the road ahead is still murky.

Along with the solution to the problem, there is a new complication. The ongoing peace talks can be an encouraging milestone if you enter competitive politics peacefully instead of 'bargaining' with gun power.

The current activities carried out by your armed cadres go against your previous declaration that your 'weapons will not obstruct the peace process'. In the end, that will either finish the people's faith in you or it will push you towards armed politics.

Nepalis in the past killed Nepalis for Nepalis. Now your key responsibility is to ensure that there is the least possibility of that happening. Indeed, you may not have full control over all, as the murder of Krishna Charan Shrestha by the Janatantrik Tarai Mukti Morcha proves. But any kind of war that continues in a country is a form of a civil war.

You often stress that politics must be scientific and that's right. But politics directed by guns does not believe in scientific conditions. In the five months since you've come aboveground, you held discussions with entrepreneurs, industrialists, journalists, politicians, and diplomats. But children have failed to appear in your priority list. Nor have schools. This begs the question-are you aware of the country's future? Or are the interim constitution and the journey up to the constituent assembly your only goals?

If you really want the peace process to succeed, then hand over clear instructions to the UN team that is here. If you are not prepared for arms management now, the credit will go to Ian Martin in the end. Do you really want that? If you don't want bombs to go off, why do you remain armed?

If your sentimentality transforms your image into something akin to that of Gandhi, Martin Luther King, or Nelson Mandela, as opposed to the image you've created over the past 12 years-of egoism, bitterness, and revoltion-will that do injustice to your revolutionary politics? On the other hand, with your continued affiliation with guns, you will remain merely Prachanda.

Your well-wisher,
Yubaraj Ghimire, Journalist

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)