14-20 July 2017 #867

A parliament of owls

The last time Lion Heart was PM, during the reign of Gyanendra the Great, he expanded the council of ministers to have a jumbo cabinet. During his current tenure, Dubya the IV is trying to break his own record and put together a dumbo cabinet. The swearing-in is on Sunday after PKD returns from BKK at the National Stadium since there is no other venue big enough for so many ministers. Just like there is a ‘parliament’ of owls, a ‘knot’ of toads, or a ‘murder’ of crows, the PMO has decided to call the expanded cabinet a ‘mob’ of mantris.

What is holding PM Dubya back is the selection process, since the wrong person could cost the country dearly. The idea is not to appoint people who are sticklers for rules, and to avoid those who can take quick decisions. The best ministers are yes-men of various kingmakers and brokers, and since the chance of a minister making mistakes is so high, the strategy is to appoint politicians who cannot make any decisions. That way, nothing can go wrong because for anything to go wrong a decision has to be taken that is not right. We have an idiot-proof system of governance: our movers and shakers don’t move at all, and rarely shake.

But we agree with critics who have serious misgivings about the size of the proposed new cabinet. With 41 ministers, it’s just not big enough. The bigger the cabinet the bigger the multiplier on the economy: they will create new jobs, new bomb-proof limousines with outriders have to be bought, helicopters have to be rented, and the kickbacks generated on purchases will all boost Nepal’s GDP per decapita.

There is, however, a serious problem: we are running out of ministerial berths and need to give birth to new ones. Ideas:

Ministry of Distortion & Extortion: One window office for mis-information and mis-appropriation.

Ministry of Illegitimate Affairs: All kickbacks to be sanctioned by this ministry in interest of transparency. 

Ministry of Adultery: All plastic rice dealers register here first.  

Ministry of Physical Therapy and No Works: Simple arm-stretching exercises under the table for atrophied muscles caused by prolonged periods of inaction while not repairing roads. 

Ministry of Home: Minister works out of home to mess up elections and extend tenure of parliament. 

Ministry of Junkets and Aviation: Secretaries can cash frequent flier miles while in transit in Kathmandu between trips just before fiscal year ends. Chief Sec can go to the ADB without quitting govt. 

Deputy Prime Ministers without Portfolio: These posts are cunningly left vacant to accommodate new parties to build the numbers for constitutional amendments if, and when, they are going to happen.

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