Nepali Times
From The Nepali Press
Our misfortune

They say that history doesn't repeat itself, but events can recur, as Nepal's history of democracy proves. In 1958 King Mahendra dissolved parliament and took control of executive powers. In the same manner, on 4 October, 2002 King Gyanendra took control of the state and executive powers. For democratic Nepalis, it goes to show that even 12 years after the restoration of democracy, political leaders have been unable to protect the institution of democracy and the democratic processes. They've handed it over to the king on a platter. If the people were more democratically aware, the leaders more democratic, if every sector of society had been involved in democratic exercises, the people would have poured on to the streets following the abdication of democracy. The king would not have taken such action.

But it is the misfortune of Nepalis-right now, it is a different group that is pouring onto the streets. The leaders who fought for democracy for decades are being criticised. And slogans are resounding against a system that allows political powers to maintain checks and balances within the state and allows for transparency. Just two years into the millenium, we have been compelled to walk down the wrong road. The need of the hour was to move forward, not turn back. Only our political leaders are to blame. Our leaders forgot reality-that once people get a taste of power, they don't relinquish it so easily. They say that after every revolution comes a reaction, a backlash. The question is when. The powers displaced by the 1990 movement were actively looking to regain their former roles. They were patient. They waited 12 years.

They say that even a river returns in 12 years. Today the tide is turning. Our leaders couldn't envision such a situation would arise. They attached themselves to those working against democracy. They were so taken up with personal, party, and group politics, that the cabinet was filled with corrupt people. Corruption was flaunted openly. The corrupt tendencies of the representatives of democracy have played a major role in destroying the system. When domestic aspirations simmer down, something else flares up.

It isn't only political leaders who are to blame for bringing Nepal's 12 years of democracy to this point, our constitutional bodies have also played a damaging role. The Election Commission's recent decision regarding the Nepali Congress dispute is also responsible for the current state of affairs. If it had recognised one Congress, the party would not have split, and the Congress, along with the UML, would have led the elections. The Election Commission divided the Congress intentionally to weaken it. The Supreme Court is not free from blame either. By deciding in favour of Deuba, following a writ petition filed against the Prime Minister's decision to dissolve parliament and call for elections, the court empowered the executive and undermined the concept of checks and balances in a parliamentary democracy.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)