Nepali Times
Constitution Supplement
One country two armies


Continued sour relations between GP Koirala and Pushpa Kamal Dahal mean that plans, including the 12 point agreement signed three years ago, have not been implemented. This has overshadowed the issue of PLA monitoring, integration and rehabilitation, which is a vital part of the peace process.

The integration of the PLA through dialogue and consensus is urgently needed if this country is to achieve any semblance of political stability. The Maoists are pushing integration whereas the other parties are not willing to accept it so easily. The opposition NC, as well as coalition partners UML and MJF, are against mass integration of Maoist guerrillas.

The Maoists blame the NC for the stalemate. The NC had refused to join special committee because the terms of reference stated that decisions should be made by majority and not consensus, which it said was against the peace accord.

The other parties argue that mass integration would be detrimental to the integrity of the national army.
The Maoists do little to further the process when they seek out support and consent from other parties for political interest and then bad mouth them publicly.

Prime Minister Prachanda, who labelled the NC as the "enemy," UML as "opportunistic" and Madhesi parties as "foreign lackeys," seemed to have forgotten they are running a coalition government together.

The document in which he stated this also mentioned the final battle was yet to be fought, reflecting that the Maoists' motive to integrate the PLA into the national army is to seize total power. PLA political indoctrination and YCL semi-military structure and its unlawful activities make army integration all the more suspicious.

All political parties agree on the inclusive structure and democratisation of the Nepal Army. An inclusive army means narrowing the existing gap between the army and society, in which people, irrespective of caste, creed and ethnicity, would join the army based on their ability alone. But the army is an institution where a person has to rise up the ranks to be commander-in-chief. One can't just plunk someone there as one would do in the civil service or corporations.When South Africa formed its national army in 1994, the number of recruits was expected to be around 138,000.

There were 80,000 national army soldiers, 32,000 ANC combatants, 6,000 Pan African Congress combatants and about 10,000 paramilitary. But only 15,000 of the 38,000 guerilla fighters were integrated. Nelson Mandela made General Meiring the chief of the army, which prevented a mutiny and coup.

Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe was also a revolutionary leader but he showed how not to integrate armies post conflict. The integration of ZANLA, ZIPRA and the then Rhodesian Army was intended to slash the number of soldiers and make it efficient, but it was over-politicised during the integration process.

The Maoists fought an election and came to power. But when its supreme leader who is leading the government criticises the parliamentary system and fellow leaders, he cannot expect a positive response. The 'people's republic' is the declared policy of the Maoists through which it wants to capture state power. The main obstacle to this design is the Nepal Army, which is why this has become the main target of the Maoists. Smooth PLA integration into the national army is the only legal and bloodless means of doing so.

As long as there are two armies, the peace process and constitution-writing will be in danger. The responsibility lies with the Maoists and the head of government to convince the coalition partners and the opposition through a negotiation process by first building trust. In the present situation, the Maoists can't do much on their own. They have to work with the other parties and for this they must make the others trust them.

All the Maoists need to do is remember with whom and in what situation it signed the 12-point agreement three years ago. There is a lesson there.

Dhrub Kumar is a political scientist and security analyst.

New recruits

It is against the peace agreement to recruit personnel into the Nepal Army and the Maoist force. The Nepal Army has carried out two recruitment drives in the past two years for vacancies for the post of Second Lieutenant. At that time, there was no reaction to this. But two months ago, when the army recieved Defence Ministry clearance to recruit non-combatants there was a protest from the Maoists and even UNMIN issued a statement. If this was a threat to the peace process, why was there no reaction to the previous recruitment of combatants?

Constitution-writing formally begins


15 December:
14 drafting committees were formed
16 December: Committee meetings start with the committee's eldest member chairing the meeting
16-26 December: Four meetings held
9 January: Committee chairs to be finalised

The meeting held on 21 December formed a taskforce comprising of Nilambar Acharya, Agni Kharel, Khimlal Debkota, Nilam Barma and Rukmini Chaudhari. It met on 26 December and submitted a report that identified the working areas of the committees, operational procedures, work schedule, internal procedure and identification of experts.

The State Rules Delineation Committee (regarding whether it should be a presidential or prime ministerial system) has also started work. The committee has already held extensive discussions regarding the executive body, election system, state and relationship between different levels of government. It has sought opinions on political systems: parliamentary, prime ministerial, consensus, presidential, mixed or other forms.

Till date, Constitutional Committee, State Rules Delineation Committee, Minorities and Marginalised Communities, Rights Protection Committee, Public Opinion Collection and Coordination Committee are actively working on the constitution-drafting process. They have made public their decisions and calendar by putting them on the Parliament Secretariat website

The CA plenary has been put off. CA chair Subas Nembang says as long as the committees are active, the CA should be considered to be working. He says, "The CA work has not been disrupted even if the parliament business is obstructed because of the boycott." This has been possible because the CA and legislative parliament have separate Rules of Procedure. The legislative parliament has ruling and opposition benches, whereas the CA technically doesn't have an opposition.

Have your say
Anyone wishing to send opinions regarding state rules, state structure, election system, structure of executive body at different levels, division of executive power, inter-relation of the government at different levels, formation of government service, functioning procedure and basis of the rules should write to the State Rules Delineation Committee.

Tel: 4200134, 4200344
Fax: 977-1-4200053
Minorities and Marginalised Communities Rights Protection Committee
Tel: 4211986, 4200367
Fax: 977-1-4211986, 4255537, 4222177, 4225053
committee.minorityright(at) or nparl(at)

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)