Nepali Times
Editorial
Never too late


There is conflict in every society. Some are better at resolving them through public debate in parliament or through the media. Others let grievances accumulate, let neglect pile up, until the disaffection of a desperate people can be channelled into violence by some for their own political ends.

The violence then becomes a vicious spiral that breeds more desperation and violence, until it goes out of control. The Maoists launched their revolution when democracy was still young and hadn't yet had the chance to iron out its kinks. Their credo was Mao's doctrine of a political shortcut through the physical elimination of class enemies. In this, our comrades consider themselves the vanguard of an international movement to showcase a successful revolution in the 21st century.

One of the roots of this conflict is that 1990 itself was an incomplete revolution and a squandered opportunity to set things right. The biggest disappointment was the venal fecklessness of many elected leaders who let the people down and never owned up.

How can we ensure accountability when tainted figures seem to have no problem returning to public office through the ballot? The resolution of the current conflict offers us the opportunity to address this defect in our polity. Not to go back to the absolutism of Panchayat or a Maoist dystopia, but to make the necessary changes so that rulers are accountable and democracy can deliver.

The extreme left and right both want to drastically rewrite the constitution, and the centrists are going along with it because they are competing to sound more radical. Rather than throw the book out, our politicians would do well to analyse what made them so unaccountable when they were in power, and fix that first.

Instead of launching another even more decisive agitation against 'regression', agitated leaders should be thinking about how they can help forge a multipartisan consensus on peace building. And for that peace to last, how to create 500,000 new jobs a year so that young Nepalis don't have to go to Iraq out of sheer desperation and end up as economic martyrs. How to collectively ensure governance so that the people have affordable health care and education.

It is this country's tragedy that for far too long, we have had the wrong people at the right places. Conflict resolution is about compromise and sharing power, and it is never too late to start doing that.


LATEST ISSUE
638
(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)


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