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Karki’s impeachment process

Thursday, October 20th, 2016


Political developments in Nepal don’t evolve, they happen in fits and starts. And so it was with the leaders of the three main parties coming together Wednesday morning to rush impeachment proceedings against Lokman Singh Karki of the Commission on Investigation of the Abuse of Authority (CIAA). Since his appointment in 2013, the anti-corruption czar had emerged as a political figure more powerful than the prime minister by targeting businessmen, politicians, lawyers, and silencing critics, editors and publishers.

Working swiftly and in top secrecy while Karki himself was en route from Abu Dhabi to Kathmandu after a month-long holiday, the UML and the Maoist Centre got 157 MPs to register the impeachment motion in parliament on Wednesday evening. The top three leaders didn’t suddenly get pangs of conscience and act to save democracy, they had received information that Karki was preparing to file court cases against dozens of top politicians.

A two-thirds majority is required for impeachment, and the Nepali Congress needs to be on board to muster the 397 votes needed. Several senior NC leaders were said to be against impeachment as the Central Committee began its meeting on Thursday afternoon in Sanepa. However, the NC’s Gagan Thapa and Dhana Raj Gurung are confident the party will endorse the impeachment motion and come on board.

The NC has been caught in a dilemma: it is in the governing coalition but has to decide on an impeachment project led by two communist parties, one of which is in the opposition. But if it doesn’t join in the impeachment process, the negative publicity of being seen to be coddling kleptocrats may affect its prospects in the next elections. Congress leaders say that as the largest party in parliament, it shouldn’t be seen as following the lead of the second and third parties. The impeachment issue therefore could have wider ramifications on national politics, especially with ongoing negotiations over amendments to the constitution.

House Speaker Onsari Gharti has cancelled her proposed trip to Geneva, and is expected to endorse the impeachment motion on Sunday. Thereafter, Parliament’s 11-member Impeachment Committee formed this week will summon Karki to investigate the seven charges leveled against him, which include overstepping his jurisdiction to interfere in medical education, violating the constitution and the laws of the land, and pursuing personal vendetta to unlawfully persecute individuals and institutions critical of him. The Committee must present its recommendation to the full House within seven days. Aside from Parliament, Karki is already being investigated by the Supreme Court about his qualifications for the post and he has repeatedly ignored the Court’s summons.

The Nepali language media has also come out with its own exposes on how Karki was nominated, the role of former President Ram Baran Yadav, Chief Justice-Prime Minister Khil Raj Regmi and other politicians in his appointment 2013. There are also questions about why watchdog groups like Transparency Nepal, Amnesty International and media protection agencies did not speak out when the CIAA went on an extortion spree against businesses and conducted witch-hunts on critics.  The answers to these questions are needed to prevent similar unelected and unaccountable figures from rising up again in future.

Kunda Dixit

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3 Responses to “Karki’s impeachment process”

  1. Shree Shrestha on Says:

    One early morning Lok Man Singh Karki decided to go to CIAA office to take charge of Anti-Corruption Drive in Nepal. As it seems now he was not elected by people, he was not appointed by government and also he was not qualified for the job. But he did work and scared the people in and out of government who were living beyond their salaries. In Nepal people have right to take bribes and commissions from the projects short changing the developments of Nepal. Karki wants to change all of that for the sake of the country and for the sake of the common people in Nepal. Seeing the danger political leaders started ganging up against Karki and they are now determined to cut him into pieces limb by limb. In Karki’s defense true journalists of Nepal should publish all his works for all to see. Punish him or reward him. Do it in public.

  2. Hurray on Says:

    Mr.Karki is notoriously corrupt, no doubt. Those that have worked with him call him a “bully”. But those that are trying to get back at him, media and doctor(s) are equally corrupt. I wonder if they were scared that he would come at them and would not back down since he is a bully. Many journalists of Nepal are professional black-mailers. They have access to many information about illegal activities of certain powerful or not so powerful figures of Nepal. But they use that power to extort money from them by black-mailing. Mr.Karki knew that they were black-mailers and had amassed tons of illegal wealth. He was the chief of customs for a long time and he must have at many points in life received phone call late at night from journalists asking for money in exchange of silence.
    So their prey has now become a predator and that is a scary scenario.
    Mr.Dixit is well aware of this.

  3. anonymous on Says:

    Basically it is good news, that corruption is being tackled. The negative publicity of parties is karma. History has a memory.
    Now most nepalese abroad are familiarized with other countries actual governments that come and go. So there is an identity crisis, and there is a continuous long time power crisis, in this situation one could easily see how they overstepped powers.
    So instead of reinventing the wheel, commissions, Ministries and so on must simplify and be with integrety, not this current would be theatre we see on tv and I am overjoyed I do not understand the language, I do not want to hear it.
    Still in all this incompetence there are no other rulers, puppet governments come and go. Most people agree with me there are no real maost, we do not even know what that is. Maybe Xi knows. Culture of friendship policy must go like my nepalese children always explain me how so and so can get a job in a certain cheap airlines, because they have friend. That is where money went and that is who lives in a tent with or withour sati.

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