INDEPENDENT NEWS

Nepal: Peudo-Constitution, Autocratic Government

Published: Sat 27 Jan 2007 09:56 PM
A Nation Under Siege Peudo-Constitution, Autocratic Government
By Shashi P.B.B. Malla
Our beloved country is under massive attack. The so-called political leaders only follow their own selfish motives and have no vision for the nation whatsoever.
After a totally spurious document was declared the so-called "Interim Constitution" and the half-legitimate House of Representatives according to the old Constitution of the Kingdom on Nepal, 1990 was summarily and illegally dismissed and an ersatz "Interim Parliament "unconstitutionally installed, now only the totally spurious and autocratic government of the Seven Party Alliance (SPA) and the Maoists remains to take office. How can such a SPAM government guarantee free and fair elections?; specially if the incompetent Armed Police Force (APF) is to be in charge of security. The APF personnel will probably throw away their guns and run away at the first signs of Maoist threats.
It can be predicted that such a government cannot function smoothly. Even now the quasi-government of the SPA with the Maoists dictating from outside is having a difficult time maintaining law and order. In the Terai it has broken down completely with separatist groups calling the shots. Elsewhere, the Maoists are hampering the return to orderly governance. In the so-called (new) legislature, the (mainstream) Communists and the Maoists together have an overall majority and can, therefore, dictate terms. If Girija Prasad Koirala has not already made a secret deal with Maoist supreme Prachanda, then his days as PM are indeed numbered. It is unbelievable that such a nominally democratic political party like the Nepali Congress (both factions) could allow itself to be manoeuvred into the python-like clutches of terrorists and totalitarian power-mongers. One would have expected at least the last vestiges of self-preservation!
The south-eastern plains of the Terai is clearly burning — in the very home districts of the PM and the Koirala family! The foreign hand is clearly in evidence in fomenting civil and ethnic strife and in encouraging separatist tendencies. However, the PM and his government are too cowardly and inept to personally visit the affected areas and appeal for calm. They are so screwed up that they have nothing better to do as to blame "regressive elements" – meaning, of course pro-monarchist groups and true patriots and nationalists. The main culprit is, of course, home minister Sitaula, himself the grand master of appeasement and true 'regression', in fact a crypto-Maoist. Is the country not 'deteriorating', 'declining', 'degenerating' and 'going downhill'? ( Oxford English Dictionary). At least the monarchy was a shining symbol of national unity. After the illegal and unconstitutional removal of the King as head of state in the counterfeit 'interim constitution', only the army now remains as the last line of defence.
We are also witnessing the regressive return of the country to forced bandhs (general strikes) and chakka jams (transport strikes, including burning of tyres on the streets in order to hamper movement). Now, any political party, organization or disgruntled interest groups—in fact any Tom, Dick or Harry — in order to push through their own demands and agenda are free to call such dictated strikes — at the cost of the national interest. Civic sense or plain horse sense do not count. Destruction of private and public property is the order of the day. This week's transport strike crippled the entire country, but who cares? Definitely not the SPA-M who are mainly responsible for introducing this odious 'culture' of enforced strikes. Not only locals suffer, but even tourists are disgusted.
It is in this context that the reservations of US ambassador James Moriarty regarding the peace process in general and arms management in particular must be seen. As the main instigator of the political hanky-panky since April last year, India has, of course, absolutely no compunctions regarding the latest developments in its back-yard. Beyond the wildest dreams of the Indian ministry of external affairs, the intelligence organizations and the establishment-close media, Nepal's independent foreign policy has been stymied. It is now only India-oriented and the equidistance from Delhi and Beijing has completely disappeared. As India's strategic partner in South Asia, the United States also favoured this course of events. India is also pushing the weak and unpopular (in every sense of the term) SPA-M government to weaken its relations with other South Asian countries, foremost Pakistan and Bangladesh. The Indo-American project of containing China on its southern flank is succeeding by leaps and bounds and Nepal has been reduced to a pawn in regional and international politics.
Why then the belated American concerns? Perhaps with all of their Indian partner's assurances, the super power is not quite comfortable with the terrorist Maoists and Communists dictating terms. US Ambassador Moriarty was quite blunt in his accusation of the Maoists: "…they are trying to buy primitive, hand-made weapons down in Bihar (north Indian state bordering south-eastern Nepal) so that they can put crummy weapons into the containers instead of the modern weapons." He also said that the Maoist leadership has again and again given orders that were very much against democracy and their commitment to the peace process. Thus, they started a massive recruitment drive in November after their CPN-M's central committee meeting and after their Bhaktapur meeting started pushing back the police posts that had been re-established. The government has not reacted at all to such gross violations of the peace agreements. The American envoy's assessment of the overall situation is most damning "(the conditions in the countryside are) so horrible that extortion and intimidation continue, the parties are not allowed to act freely, internally displaced persons are not allowed to return freely by the Maoists." In such a situation, PM Koirala is going ahead with plans to form the so-called "Interim Government" at the soonest!
ENDS

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