Almost every day, the special task force headed by Prachanda keeps making one important announcement after another. The obvious claim is that it narrowed down differences on ingredients of the future constitution. The task force is clear that it will have a president like that in France, but is not quite certain about the model of electoral system and federalism. There are clear indications that the Nepali Congress will oppose the ‘French model presidency’. Obviously, Prachanda is hopeful that, despite the nose-dive in his popularity and image, he is still popular, and that he will be legitimately occupying Shital Niwas come the next election. A constitution is the basic guideline to effectively run the state in an accountable manner. But we are in a situation where the state has almost collapsed. Political parties, including the Maoists, have misappropriated, abused or misused the authority of the state. The system or principle of check and balance has collapsed. A few instances will clearly show this:
Nepal is the 6th country from the top among the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) in terms of the volume of capital flight away from the country during the 1990-2008 period. A total of 9.1 billion US dollars —an average 450 million U S dollars per year—made its way abroad clandestinely.Rubel Chaudhary, son in law of Sujata Koirala and a suspect in the Darfur kick-back and the Voice over Internet Protocol racket, who deprived the country of several million rupees, made an unrestricted escape from the country on June 6. Chaudhary probably was the only person who knew where the Darfur scam money is gone. An American pair of lesbians come all the way from Colorado and declare themselves husband and wife in the presence of a gay right activist and legislator in the Dakshinkali Temple, a holy shrine for millions of Hindus across the globe.
What has the state done in response to all these? About half a dozen banks and financial institutions have either collapsed, or are on the verge of collapsing. People are withdrawing rapidly from the banks,and some are even sending money out. If what bankers say is true, the rate of capital flight is much higher compared to the annual average of 450 million US dollars during the year surveyed by a UNDP commissioned study. The Central bank—Nepal Rastra Bank—has hardly been able to instill confidence among depositors or in the financial health of the country. Instead, it has been caught doing silly things like putting a ban on the currency notes with King’s photographs, and contributing to the poor being fleeced. Black marketers robbed the ordinary people by buying their 1000 Rupee notes for half its price in a desperate situation. When there is political instability, and the state almost invisible, people adopt any method to save their earning.
Large scale corruption at home, visible immunity that the politicians are acquiring in a scale never before in any crime and plunder of the state –evident in Darfur scam –and lack of accountability for the crimes they have committed against the nation will give just one message: either the people revolt against all these and punish the current politicians, or explore their future somewhere outside. If they opt for the second one: sending money out is what follows.
What does Rubel’s flight so smoothly mean? Obviously, all the three major parties, Nepali Congress that Rubel was directly related with, Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML) that heads the government, and the Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoists (UCPN-M) that controls the Home Ministry were hand-in-glove in facilitating his escape days after the media came out with reports alleging that Rubel was the kingpin receiving the huge kick-back in the Darfur scam, that not only spoiled Nepal’s image abroad, but also exposed our policemen in the UN mission in Darfur to enormous risk
as the Armed Police Couriers and other logistics sent to them did not meet the prescribed standards. All this happened when the government of Nepal—whoever was the Prime Minister—was aware about the growing number of attacks on the UN mission in Sudan and a few other places by the rebels or the armed groups there.
With Rubel away despite the instructions from the Commission of Inquiry Into Abuse of Authority (CIAA) that he be kept under vigil, and probed in the VOIP case, his mother in law may claim she and her son-in-law are innocent. K P Situala, home minister of the government when the corrupt deal was signed and implemented is sure to feel relieved over the great escape. Krishna Bahadur Mahara allowed his escape not for nothing. After all, top leaders of the big three parties have together –under agreement—plundered the nation and its funds, have devised a formula for egalitarian sharing of power and key positions for their cadres in almost every political, constitutional and diplomatic institutions without being held accountable.
The American couple made a mockery of not only the shrine, but also the fact that Nepal’s law does not permit or recognize ‘lesbian marriage’. Some have called it a sacrilege of the shrine. Why did the couple not go to New York where such a marriage has just been legitimised? Why did the Blue Diamond Society get them to Nepal? Perhaps it had to show it is doing something for the massive funds that it got from the donors. But all these facts prove, Nepal is a place where anything can be done, and the culprits can easily get away with it.
In that situation, what does it mean even if a constitution is delivered? Nothing. What is needed now is the politicians, of the big three mainly, who have made the state defunct and invisible, must be punished by the people, and fresh initiatives taken to re-establish the authority of the state. A constitution, howsoever good and pro-people it might be in letter, means nothing when there is no functional and effective state.