CHONG ZI LIANG
This is not the view of reactionary red-baiters. It's not us saying it. Just read the draft constitution on their website and follow the soundbites: "We are in government, but not in power", "Out of disorder comes order", "It is through anarchy that we attain revolutionary transformation", "If anyone opposes us we will start a rebellion", "How dare the big media criticise us"...
We don't know if Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal's Nordic interlocutors next week will quiz him on these pronouncements. If they do, he will employ his by now legendary inter-personal skills to tell them what they want to hear. He'll say: "We're in transition", "These things take time", "It is not our policy to gag the press", "We believe in multi-party competition". What he will not do is make a commitment to renounce violence as a political tool, and follow democratic norms. It is time to call the bluff.
In a dictatorship of the proletariat, the party vanguard knows what is best for everyone else. So the nomenklatura and apparatchik advocate destruction of the old to build a new. Not that much effort is needed to destroy what remains intact in Nepal. Just letting things crumble would be enough to create conditions for an organised takeover. So, law and order problems are left unattended. Ethnic grievances are allowed to fester until they erupt violently. Businesses are harassed and taxpayers ridiculed with harebrained schemes. There are perpetual shortages of everything: power, water, food. Prices are permitted to soar as coalition partners bicker over spheres of influence. And now, there is direct interference in the army. This mess is just too complex to be unplanned.
The UCPN-M has this scenario ready to implement if and when it assesses that geopolitical realities are favourable. Its YCL is now geared to trigger an urban uprising. Maoist labour and student wings can bring tens of thousands of people into the streets. Combatants have in the past come out of cantonments at short notice. The media has been intimidated and primed.
Whole-timers have been recruited wholesale to take over the formal government machinery.
Norwegian and Finnish leaders should have these in the list of talking points with Nepal's prime minsiter. No more platitudes: show us by your actions that you are serious about democracy. Prove to us that you can ensure law and order. Show us that you are serious about welcoming investors, especially in hydropower. It would be na?ve to be sanguine about the intentions of Maoists unless there are satisfactory answers.