Nepali Times
From The Nepali Press
The government has to provide answers

The Maoists succeeded in attacking and, as per their plan, to take control of Dunai, the district headquarters of Dolpo. They also succeeded in routing their immediate enemy, the police, in looting a bank and burning records at the Land Revenue Office. The prime minister who assumed office six months ago after ousting his predecessor has failed to keep his word to bring Maoist violence under control and maintain peace.

To see one elected government after another fail to address the problems facing the country is a matter of concern, a bad omen for the nation and democracy.

It is also a sign that the sovereignty of the people, the constitutional monarchy and the multiparty democracy are all facing problems.

First, the prime minister has to assume responsibility for the current state of affairs. The main question is: why, even after six months in office, has nothing happened on the three issues he had outlined-good governance, corruption control and ending violence and maintaining law and order? It is time people were provided with a clear answer and the answer must be backed by plausible reasons.

If the prime minister cannot deliver because of his own inability or even lack of support within the party, he should not hesitate in stepping down. If there are other reasons, such as those being discussed in public-the role of the Royal Nepal Army, the Royal Palace or lack of laws-those too have to be brought out into the open. Democracy cannot be preserved single-handedly by Girija Prasad or the Nepali Congress or the UML. People do not believe this anymore.

Of late, members of the cabinet have begun saying (unofficially) that the Royal Palace and the army are not co-operating with the government in its efforts to control Maoist violence. Whatever may be laid down in the Constitution, the army of a democratic country cannot be anything but subordinate to the government.

If the Royal Nepal Army has been disobeying the government and is placing hurdles in controlling the bloodshed that is taking place, there can be no greater misfortune for the nation.

It is the prime minister's responsibility to rein in the army. If the army is disobeying the government's orders, the public has to be told and their help must be sought. But no government can pretend that everything is well and continue to push the nation further toward disintegration. Only Singha Durbar is responsible for the lack of transparency till now. Hence it is Singha Durbar itself that should take the lead in changing that.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)