Nepali Congress and Maoist leaders are at times seen engaged in verbal dual over the order of preference. Whether the peace process or the constitution writing should come first is an issue occasionally raised, but never pursued with a minimum of honesty and seriousness.And five years down the line, no one knows where the peace process is.
But we all know the constitution writing has missed two deadlines, and the big parties are all set to acquire a new one.
Narayanman Bijukchhe sounded sad and defeated when he gave his latest interview to Image TV Channel on the peace and constitution making. He said the two can go together but there needs to be a minimum of honesty and clarity among political parties on the mission they have been assigned to. And his inference was: they did not have any. He was appalled with the so-called progressive forces raising casteism and ethnicity to a new pitch in the country which he said may lead to disintegration of the country, with the possibility of many people being uprooted from their present homes. Bijukchhe was echoing many who have remained silent all through, or are raising their faint voices now. Yes, like what he said the peace and constitution writing processes could go together also, but the parties need to be honest. Can we expect them to be honest if they decide to extend the House tenure beyond May 28 yet another time? Parties, mainly the big three—Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoists (UCPN-M), Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML) and the Nepali Congress--have failed to fulfil their obligation once the peace accord was signed in November 2006. They have kept theirpartisan interests above the nation’s and interpreted the peace accord accordingly.
The Nepali Congress and the Maoists which were in the government when the Peace accord was signed deliberately or tactically chose not to implement many of its provisions. They largely indulged in vilifying the Nepal army putting the entire blame on it for HR violation during the conflict. On the other hand, the politics of consensus that they vowed to pursue showed sign of rifts after the exit of monarchy. The radical left alliance’s control over power is the latest version or edition of that consensual politics. Therefore, the debate what first: peace process or the constitution writing takes different interpretations now. Nepali Congress that is pitted against the radical left at the moment seems to say ‘peace process first’ but it simply will have no answer if asked why is it raising the issues now which it deliberately chose not to when it was leading the government and was in a position to coerce or influence Maoists to honour the provision of the peace process in a time bound manner? Maoists, human rights groups, civil society and pro-active international donors and UN bodies, mainly UNMIN and OHCHR are one on raising the HR violation issues when it involved individuals belonging to state security outfits. There have been instances where these groups have opposed to the routine promotion of officials, or their posting in the UN missions abroad. The Maoists and the Nepali Congress deliberately chose not to have the Truth and Reconciliation Commission formed although they were obliged to do it by the second half of January 2007 under the peace accord. Clearly, they wanted the provision of the peace process to be implanted in the pace and manner they decided.
But double standards can not always be the basis for running the state. Who else would realise it better than the Maoists in their latest avatar as coalition partners in the government? The UCPN-M got the Home Ministry. K. B. Mahara began wielding his muscles, even overruling the Prime Minister on S. P. transfer case. More than that the row kicked by the demand of OHCHR that Information and Communication Minister Agni Sapkota be tried for murder—implying his inclusion in the cabinet was unfair-- has put the Maoists at the receiving end now. The civil society is silent. But Maoists have hit back. They have even gone to the extent of chastising UN for interfering in Nepal’s internal affairs.