Even with the extension of constituent assembly for a year to complete the peace process and constitution writing under certain conditions a full month has passed quietly and not much progress seems to have been made. All the commitments, understandings and agreements reached at the eleventh hour seem to be entrapped from the very beginning in another phase of distrust, non-cooperation and conflict sure to affect country’s identity, unity and development. Having sent the people to utter despair and dismay for the last two years with a lot of pain and suffering inflicted to them by mismanagement of state affairs and non-implementation of two main agendas set by the people’s mandate, the leaders are talking in riddles once again. Contrary to the starting point of the peace process, the twelve point agreement, though reached in foreign soil, the political leaders are once again engaged more dangerously in power politics rather than creating a congenial atmosphere for national unity government.
The present government must get out in time. This being overdue for some time, there should not be any more bargaining at this critical hour. Look at the hard changes that took place in Japan and Australia. It is high time for Nepali government to realize that leaders, however successful at one time might lose their support for a variety of reasons and the only option left then is to make way for others. It is also time for Nepali leaders to prove to the world that they are also capable of taking hard timely decisions for country’s sake.
Politicians in Nepal are getting dirtier and insensitive everyday and more self centered rather than people-oriented with general welfare and care in mind. Optimism so clearly evident and palpable at one time is turning into pessimism as a result of miserable failure of the government on all fronts relating to most importantly not only to constitution making and peace process work but also carrying certain primary responsibilities of providing peace and security to the nation. People are really fed up with hollow assurances and promises as the country is dwindling into a state of anarchy with no presence of government at all. What is up in the sleeves of government is yet to come out. Whether this unnecessary delay in forming a national unity government is intentional or guided by unseen power will also be unfolded in due time. Nevertheless it appears that what they are trying to do is to absolve themselves of their misdeeds and mistakes by putting blame on others now on Maoists.
Looking around, though the South Asian region depicts a picture generally involved in corruption, growing human right violations and widening gap between the rich and the poor yet most countries in the region have been able to manage their state affairs with the presence of strong government and advance their national interests. Nepal seems to be the only exception. Sri Lanka though bogged down in more than two decade long internal conflict between Tamils and Singhalese causing huge loss of lives and property has been able to keep its economy afloat. India has been completely transformed to one of the world’s major players with astounding economic growth already in the global list of major economies. In this region Nepal is the only country which has failed in every way and its economy is going down from bad to worse with no chance of improvement in the near future.
Since King Gyanendra’s political decision to revive the dead parliament for country’s sake nothing has been achieved so far except the abolition of monarchy. Neither the new constitution could be brought into existence nor the peace process completed. What has been given to the people as gift for their sacrifices and involvement in the successful movement is a bundle of lawlessness, abductions, extortions and day light killings besides growing unemployment and soaring commodity prices. Internationally ranked as one of the most corrupt countries, Nepal government has so far failed to take any effective measures to control and discourage increasing corruptive practices hitting very hard at developmental activities.
The government also seems to be unmindful of the danger that the donor countries might one day be compelled to decrease or stop the aid available to Nepal so far at their tax payer’s cost. What will happen then to a country already weakened and emaciated economically and unable to settle internal matters politically by disregarding national consensus and unity? Added to it several European countries and the United States of America are being disappointed in spite of their keen interest and critical support provided to Nepal’s peaceful transition from a decade long violent conflict to an orderly democratic system. Also United Nations involved in this noble endeavor seems to be not happy at the performance of Nepalese side for its lack of seriousness to resolve outstanding problems in a timely manner.
The next door neighbor China also has been showing some concern at times about the deteriorating situation of Nepal. India which has been playing the most active role from the very beginning by helping the three major parties to come to an agreement in New Delhi though worried is seen confident of its outcome favorable to it and its long term interests. Keeping all these factors into consideration Nepalese leaders should sink all their differences and present themselves before the world as a solid unified national force capable of facing all kinds of hardship. This they must do in order to steer the country out of this unfortunate impasse and once again move towards a long march of building a new Nepal by forming a national unity government immediately.
This is the most crucial moment in Nepalese history. Stalemate at this time could prove the last straw to the sinking of a proud nation when it is repeatedly hit and humiliated to its maximum by its leaders for their own narrow interests. How could the Nepalese witness helplessly the on going process of decay of its society and dilapidation of its independence? Have Nepalese leaders forgotten its glorious past? Why are not they moved and inspired by the valour and indomitable courage shown at different times by Nepalese patriots in facing imperialist power whether from Britain or China? There is no time left for long discussions and consultations. What the country needs is prompt and well considered decision that will not only pave the way to peaceful and amicable settlement of internal problems but also open a new chapter to decide its future on its own without disturbing its relations with friendly countries.
All the political parties should focus their attention on Nepal and Nepalese only and this is the right time to awaken the entire Nepalese people and convince them that they can withstand any difficulty for national interest and they do not mind to go a long way in this march to protect and safeguard Nepal’s supreme national interests for all times to come. There is no need for going outside the country for blessings and guidance. After all Nepalese are the masters and they can themselves decide their fate. There is no option today for the Maoists and non-Maoists but to take the necessary first step towards bridging the gap created by distrust and lack of understanding. This act alone will produce a win-win situation for Nepal.
(Bista is a former prime minister of Nepal)