Ending the Deadlock in Nepal

King Gyanendra of Nepal’s royal coup on February 1, 2005 not only suspends the Nepalese people’s fundamental rights, including freedom of assembly and expression, right to information and privacy, and protections afforded by Nepal’s constitution against arbitrary arrest and imprisonment of individuals but also drives the country into an un-destined direction. The Himalayan nation is floating amid different political cyclones created by the king and his army, and other parties. The so-called emergency rule has blinded-folded the eyes of journalists, and closed the mind and lips of the Nepalese. Nobody knows who killed whom and where. Intimidation by either king’s army or Maoists is a part of life for majority of the people. King’s council is very reluctant to listen anything except a supporting voice of the royal coup. The political mess is further aggravated by vigilante advices of council members. Nearly after two months of emergency, it seems that king’s pockets for peace have nothing except guns that also provided by donors’ money, but Nepal’s current problem won’t be solved by guns.

Majority of population in Nepal live under a very deprived situation of basic needs. The country is poor not only due to lack of economic capital, but owing to facts of biased and flawed planning and policies adopted in past five decades. In spite of the highest per capita funding by international agencies in past fifty years, life in rural areas is pitiful in absence of any socioeconomic development structures. A handful ruling class who controlled the resources over the years never bothered to uplift the poor village economy. This ruling class that enjoys a first class privilege maximizes its vested interest by centralizing power, and, unfortunately, multiparty polity lagged behind to break this loop. Maoists are trying to capture that poverty and underdevelopment for their political momentum, whereas King seems further fostering the zeal of Maoists by centralizing the decision making authority, and sidelining the democratic political forces. Further, the ongoing sporadic fights between army and Maoist are turning the general people’s life insecure and vulnerable in many areas.

The country is deadlocked due to King’s absolute political command, which is against the 1990 Constitution of Nepal. King’s day to day political activity with the help of a council of ministers simply aims to control mainstream political parties who oppose the absolute monarchial system. Over two years period the King has changed four sets of ministers. On the other hand, the Nepali Congress, an oldest democratic party that upholds a constitutional monarchy, insists that King must reinstall the parliament, and it eventually will take a course of actions including dealing with the Maoists, holding election, and reforming the constitution. King gained by playing a zero sum game with political parties. The same tactics used by his brother and father in past five decades. In fact, in past fifty years of political history of Nepal, not a single prime minister has completed its tenure of five years. Meanwhile, Maoists are insisting on to satisfy their two key demands: formation of an interim government, and agreement on election of the constitution assembly prior to initiate the negotiation.

It will be never late to reconcile the democratic forces, and formulate an exit strategy. It is well discussed by different stakeholders that present constitution does not solve Nepal’s current socio-political and economic problems. Further, the contemporary constitution is fouled by all: king, parties, and judiciary. Nepal is in dire need of an overhauling of socioeconomic development philosophy based on an innovative constitution that guarantees rights, resources, and responsibility, and accountability at different levels rather than a simple politico-administrative makeover at the central level. An original constitution is required to empower people at local level such as villages and districts. It is pity to mention that an elected people’s representative at a local unit of government is helpless and hopeless except to hearing complains due to lack of sociopolitical and economic rights, and resources. A novel constitution is needed to institutionalize the democracy at village and district levels so that resources will be mobilized by the local people with due responsibility. An innovative constitution is a long desired felt to address the need of accountability in Nepal which lacks from King’s palace to ministries, army, and judiciaries. Henceforth, the national political parties need a consensus voices on holding an election of constitutional assembly so that Maoists will be brought into a mainstream politics as well as it will address people’s concerns raised above. Issue of constitutional assembly is a much waited politico-economical tool in Nepal, which was raised in 1950s by the Nepali Congress – a very old and a democratic party. As of now, Maoists also seems waiting for a safe landing based on this issue. Further, international mediation may require to holding such an election so that guns will not prevail in the process.

All political ills including doubt, bloodshed, egoism, jealous, and threat may overcome, had all political entities could trust on people’s opinion. An endless struggle for democracy needs to be converted into empowering to people so that poverty won’t be a begging bowl for ruling elites. It is expected that king and royalists will end playing a zero sum game. It is high time to save the country from sinking, and a progressive constitution may save it.

Surendra R Devkota, Ph.D. spent many years in Nepal as a student leader, consultant, and advisor. Now he is a US based research scholar. Email: srdevkota@gmail.com.









More articles by:
Weekend Edition
March 16, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Michael Uhl
The Tip of the Iceberg: My Lai Fifty Years On
Bruce E. Levine
School Shootings: Who to Listen to Instead of Mainstream Shrinks
Mel Goodman
Caveat Emptor: MSNBC and CNN Use CIA Apologists for False Commentary
Paul Street
The Obama Presidency Gets Some Early High Historiography
Kathy Deacon
Me, My Parents and Red Scares Long Gone
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Rexless Abandon
Andrew Levine
Good Enemies Are Hard To Find: Therefore Worry
Jim Kavanagh
What to Expect From a Trump / Kim Summit
Ron Jacobs
Trump and His Tariffs
Joshua Frank
Drenched in Crude: It’s an Oil Free For All, But That’s Not a New Thing
Gary Leupp
What If There Was No Collusion?
Matthew Stevenson
Why Vietnam Still Matters: Bernard Fall Dies on the Street Without Joy
Robert Fantina
Bad to Worse: Tillerson, Pompeo and Haspel
Brian Cloughley
Be Prepared, Iran, Because They Want to Destroy You
Richard Moser
What is Organizing?
Scott McLarty
Working Americans Need Independent Politics
Rohullah Naderi
American Gun Violence From an Afghan Perspective
Sharmini Peries - Michael Hudson
Why Trump’s Tariff Travesty Will Not Re-Industrialize the US
Ted Rall
Democrats Should Run on Impeachment
Robert Fisk
Will We Ever See Al Jazeera’s Investigation Into the Israel Lobby?
Kristine Mattis
Superunknown: Scientific Integrity Within the Academic and Media Industrial Complexes
John W. Whitehead
Say No to “Hardening” the Schools with Zero Tolerance Policies and Gun-Toting Cops
Edward Hunt
UN: US Attack On Syrian Civilians Violated International Law
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Iraq Outside History
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: The Long Hard Road
Victor Grossman
Germany: New Faces, Old Policies
Medea Benjamin - Nicolas J. S. Davies
The Iraq Death Toll 15 Years After the US Invasion
Binoy Kampmark
Amazon’s Initiative: Digital Assistants, Home Surveillance and Data
Chuck Collins
Business Leaders Agree: Inequality Hurts The Bottom Line
Jill Richardson
What We Talk About When We Talk About “Free Trade”
Eric Lerner – Jay Arena
A Spark to a Wider Fire: Movement Against Immigrant Detention in New Jersey
Negin Owliaei
Teachers Deserve a Raise: Here’s How to Fund It
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
What to Do at the End of the World? Interview with Climate Crisis Activist, Kevin Hester
Kevin Proescholdt
Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke Attacks America’s Wilderness
Franklin Lamb
Syrian War Crimes Tribunals Around the Corner
Beth Porter
Clean Energy is Calling. Will Your Phone Company Answer?
George Ochenski
Zinke on the Hot Seat Again and Again
Lance Olsen
Somebody’s Going to Extremes
Robert Koehler
Breaking the Ice
Pepe Escobar
The Myth of a Neo-Imperial China
Graham Peebles
Time for Political Change and Unity in Ethiopia
Terry Simons
10 American Myths “Refutiated”*
Thomas Knapp
Some Questions from the Edge of Immortality
Louis Proyect
The 2018 Socially Relevant Film Festival
David Yearsley
Keaton’s “The General” and the Pernicious Myths of the Heroic South