What does the US debt bill debate in the US Congress have in common with Nepal's peace process in the Constituent Assembly? Both are prone to last minute midnight compromises that are so watered down that they are meaningless.
Our politicians may secretly rejoice that they are not the only ones displaying an utter disregard for the national interest. But that is little consolation because this is a country that has already run out of time.
With less than a month to go for the renewed CA term to expire again, a prime minister who was lame duck ever since 28 May is still clinging to office. He just bought himself another two weeks by thumbing his nose at his own party and going along with a pointless Maoist reshuffle.
To Nepalis who haven't already tuned off to all this, it is pretty obvious that the replacement of Maoist ministers in the cabinet was an attempt to address a potentially terminal rift within the party. The peace process, constitution-making and indeed the whole country was held hostage to sort out an internal mess.
The only conclusion we can reach is that the Maoist party is not ready to demobilise. Why else would Ram Bahadur Thapa be given a new post of head of 'Military Department In-charge'? The Maoists could want things to drag on indefinitely so they can take advantage of any future eruption of popular frustration for a complete power grab. Or, if that is not possible, remain incumbent (with a standing parallel army) when the repeated failure to finish the constitution leaves no other option but to declare new elections.
Things are no better in the other three parties. The NC is going through a sickening power struggle between a shameless three-time prime minister and an uncharismatic aparatchik whom few respect or trust. The UML is as good as split, and we have lost count of who belongs to which rump of the Madhesi alliance these days. Which is why Mr Khanal's plan for a rotational leadership and CA extension till 30 November is so fraught.
Still, if the Maoists hadn't wasted time we should by now have had an agreement on the quantity, norms and modality for regrouping ex-fighters so they could be rehabbed or integrated. The Special Committee was making progress until the Maoists suddenly lost interest, and the group hasn't met now for more than a month. One wonders if the delay tactics were deliberate.
On the constitution, even if the committees have made progress there needs to be the political will to address the fatally flawed compromise of a French Model state with ethnic Bantustans. But the political leadership hasn't even met collectively to discuss these issues since 28 May.
Even those sympathetic to the change agenda of the Maoists must smell a rat. There is extreme reluctance to give up the warriors and adopt a democratic constitution. At this rate, 31 August will be no different than 28 May, and the leadership of the political parties will not even have the moral standing to say sorry to the people.
Two months ago, the parties through the CA asked the people for a last chance. They have two weeks to decide what the excuse is this time for another extension.
Read also: Wounds that won't heal, ANURAG ACHARYA The fact that we have two Madhesis as the heads of the state doesn't mean we live in a multicultural republic.
1. Paul Krugman
I hate the Maoists.
05 AUG 2011 | 3:55 PM NST
2. K. K. Sharma
Indian and the Western countries, following the Indian lead, had taken actions which has promoted the Maoists to legitimacy and power, exonariting their attrocities, so that people like Paul (#1) can declare that they hate. !!!!
05 AUG 2011 | 12:03 AM NST
So, you are completely stuck.
No hope of unleashing the Nepal Army because the PLA is still there.
No way for the hopelessly split anti-Maoist parties to win any election.
But your own objection to any agreement as "fatally flawed" can only result in an election that the Maoists will win.
Naturally you are upset.
So upset that you now blame "Maoist Khanal" for the inevitable results of the obstruction you support.
Blaming Maoists for anti-Maoists being stuck is done so often that you probably don't even see how silly it makes you look.
But blaming "Maoist Khanal" suggests that you are so completely stuck that you will end up demanding the election you are afraid of.
05 AUG 2011 | 1:32 AM NST
4. John Michael Sharma
I also hate the Maoist ! I also have no respect for Jhala Nath for being a flunkie, a side kick, a chamcha whatever you want to call him. The Maoist are goondas, uncivilised barbarians - who have destroyed Nepal and Nepalis and regressed by at least 50 years. Where are the jobs, where is the security, look at the corruption, Nepali leaderse dayup like- Sheik Mujib... Indira Ghandhi or Zulfikar Ali Bhutto or when people are fed up what else can they do .... but take the matters in their own hands....
05 AUG 2011 | 2:25 AM NST
Communist survive as long as there is poverty. If people are well off, who will support them. They loose their vote bank. The lowest section pf the population are better in democratic countries than in any communist states at any time in history. Liberal democracy with social and economic justice is the call of the hour. These imposter-parties like UML must change their names. Moist have no place in the 21st century. This does not mean the NC is a better party as they are lead by the dead woods. Culling of present leadership is needed in all parties of the cronies.
07 AUG 2011 | 5:17 AM NST
it is not time to interfere anyone,almost all the politician r not thinking about nation.all of them r just pulling legs of one another.i m really confused why they r not working for nation truthnessly rather than to make themself.i think the next prime minister country should be baburam,he is only who can lead country to better side.
07 AUG 2011 | 5:18 PM NST
7. KAMAL KISHOR
I don't know why we are whining. The problem is that democracy is being manipulated by the maoists and unfortunately by all others too. Is there differences between the three major parties? Yes. Maoists are still armed and others not. It is a hell of a difference and in no circumstances the maoists are going to get rid of. There is no compulsion for them to do it. On the other hand there is all incentives for them to keep it because they are going to heavily loose the election without those guns and terorising public.
NC, UML and all players know it. And these idiots don't dare to admit it.
07 AUG 2011 | 3:44 AM NST
Back up a little. All this happened in the name of democracy right? So what exactly have been the events?
In Nov'2005, an agreement was signed between political parties because a supposed dictator had taken over exactly 10 months earlier to hold elections. The so called dictator held elections in February of 2006. It is a matter of record that the leader of this so-called "democratic" alliance asked the leader of a terrorist organization to "liquidate" those standing in local elections.
Two months after 25% of Nepal's electorate voted in local elections, 2% of Nepal's population came out on the streets demanding the re-instatement of a legislative house whose tenure ended.
After 24 deaths, and 19 days of street mayhem, the Monarchy was suspended, and a government, illegitimate by all accounts of legitimacy, was placed in power. For two years hence, elections kept getting postponed. This was against the backdrop of extreme mayhem in the streets. The leader of the terrorist organization is on record claiming that he would first ensure that he was going to win elections and only then would elections be held.
As pressure kept increasing, suddenly violence erupted in the streets of Madhes. This started when Maoist cadres shot dead a Madhesi youth. Meanwhile, the media kept insisting that this was done by Royalists.
Two years, and countless dead during this two year suspension of "democracy" by those who forced death upon 19 families in the name of democracy, elections were held under the shadow of guns. 10.1 Million of 17 Million, 1.1 Crore of 1.7 crore, voted, of which 27% voted in favour of the terrorists.
Numbers indicate and confirm fraud, no action is taken, media did not for once analyse the results of these elections after the election commission raised doubts about of the veracity of electoral rolls.
More than 3 years into this sham and following a second extension which everybody knew would be a sham; the leading intellectual of this country can manage only an inconsequential diatribe against a moribund government. Bravo.
08 AUG 2011 | 9:40 PM NST
9. Paul Krugman
I really really hate Jhalanath Khanal. Talk about bi-whatever ..... he is always ready to perform whatever act he is ordered to. Why hasn't he been kicked out of UML, along with his partner-in-duplicity Bamdev? Why can't that party show some class?
08 AUG 2011 | 12:23 AM NST
# 8 Soni
It is a matter of record that the leader of this so-called "democratic" alliance asked the leader of a terrorist organization to "liquidate" those standing in local elections.
Who said what and when? Let's see if it is really true
09 AUG 2011 | 9:31 AM NST
# 10 Jange, I am not sure what you mean, but the one article I could find was this, third article.
09 AUG 2011 | 7:46 PM NST
Over the entire duration of this era of unprecedented fraud, every single institution in this country has been destroyed. It would not be an exaggeration to suggest that the damage is largely beyond repair.
But some damage can be counted very easily.
Monetary Damage: Over 19000 combatants held in 28 cantonments, are getting paid 7,000 in cash every month. That is, 133,000,000 (13.3 Crore) per month which is 1,596,000,000 (1 arab 59 crore 60 lakh), and that is NR 9, 576, 000, 000 (9 arab 57 crore). Of course, I am not sure about the amount of money spent in overheads such as maintenance of camps, rations etc.
Note that the population in these camps is from the most productive age group and they are not making themselves useful in any way. It is almost as if the country is paying its youth a retirement benefit.
And, the CA? 601 at 45,000 which is 27 lakh, 45 thousand per month, over a period of 39 months, 1,054,755,000 (I don't care to count).
It is a sad commentary on the state of this country's "intellectual" leadership which is only too sharp with insulting our religion and what we perceive as our culture, to not have the gumption to speak a single word about fraud and waste at this scale.
But, of course, we are all top class liberals who will waste many thousand words about an incident in Norway, but not one at atrocities in Nepal. The home of the downtrodden.
09 AUG 2011 | 9:42 PM NST
# 11 Soni
Thanks for the link. But I would hardly regard Prachanda as a person whose statement could be relied upon.
10 AUG 2011 | 9:37 AM NST
I wouldn't be so confident that the Maoists will do as well or better in a new election. The rationale that "the other guys are horrid, so let's give the Maoists a chance" is gone. So is optimism that the Maoists are ready to be democrats, and the hope that people placed in them to solve the country's problem.
Apart from having better organised goons than the other parties' goons, the Maoists are just another bitterly divided, corrupt, ineffectual party. I suspect a new election would place them below 33%.
"Nobody knows how to solve our problems. Nobody is honest and effective. Vote for Nobody." Too bad Nobody isn't on the ballot...
10 AUG 2011 | 2:32 PM NST
15. Arthur John #14, I'm sure there will be some people who vote (or fail to vote) along the lines you suggest - especially among the sort of people that read Nepali Times.
But the bitterness against Maoists among some better off people, especially in KTM, is not something new. Most of those who now claim to be disappointed never voted for the Maoists and never would.
On the other hand many people who voted for Madheshi parties on a caste basis or for federalism, or who voted for UMLs as the traditional party of the left or Congress as the traditional party for democracy are indeed disappointed. Those parties adopted the Maoist agenda of a "new Nepal" to win votes and then blocked it. People who voted for them because they wanted a new Nepal are less likely to do so again.
No matter how loudly and shrilly anti-Maoists try to blame the Maoists for the corruption etc that still continues, everybody (including the shouters) knows very well who has been fighting to keep the old system and who has been trying to change it.
People disappointed at the failure of Maoists to change things enough so far are certainly not going to vote for the other parties who actively prevented them doing so. Many of them might prefer to resume fighting instead of just voting, but that won't prevent them from also voting.
BTW lots of people predicted the Maoists would only get 10 or 15% at the last election but they became the largest party. What was your guess at the time?
10 AUG 2011 | 7:30 PM NST
Soni is right. This whole "New Nepal" thing was crap. Even if the constitution is ever written, so what? It will not create that "new Nepal" for which Jana Andolan II was done.
Nepal was far better with monarchy under the 1990 constitution.
Forget 'new Nepal', our country has become the epitome of "Banana republic" now.