The European Union
Election Observation Mission (EUEOM) came to Nepal with the terms of reference
to monitor elections at the Federal and Provincial levels.
The report in question had already been presented to the House and the National Assembly on the 20th of March. The Election Commission stated on March 22nd that the report and the press statement of EUEOM appears to be "misleading, baseless and against the intended poll observation code of conduct." There is some foundation of the charge that there were shortcomings such as the inadequate instruction on how to vote.
On the 25th of March the PM of this land whilst releasing the official report of the EU team on the recently held elections in Nepal expressed his displeasure about it. What must be remembered is that the Ministry of Foreign affairs had condemned the same of 21 March. In the circumstances the point arises as to why the PM decided to release the document already presented to the state? Was the reason to draw more attention of the public and perhaps more indignation, more flak by the people at large? Many Nepalis have reacted too in social media to the onslaught by the EUEOM. Kudos to our PM.
The PM has commented publicly to the persons responsible for this report not to take the Nepalis for granted pointing out the fact that what has been done in the conduction of the elections is as per the provisions laid down in the recently passed Constitution of Nepal. The Khas Aryas are 31.2 percent of the population and would therefore justify representation as per this. This is with the existing provision under Article 84 of the constitution and so there is no reason for making such comments. The PM wondered whether this was because some missionary groups had not been given permission as observers! The PM commented too that Nepal may be a small poverty ridden country but it was not right that outsiders should take us for granted. The premier even went to the extent that the EOM should perhaps rewrite the report, rectifying the irrelevant parts for which comment was not required.
‘Familiarity breeds contempt’ as a phrase is relevant in our setting. Some fifty years ago, during the erstwhile Panchyat days, when I was a working at Bir Hospital and in government service, a circular was issued stating that visiting the premises of foreign missions was not proper and if one was invited then one had to get permission prior to going or alternatively report the same after the visit. This rule has over the years fallen by the wayside and much ‘bon homie’ has developed between Nepali citizens and members of foreign missions situated in the capital or in certain other towns in the country. Two and fro movements between diplomatic personnel and Nepali citizens no longer raise eyebrows. Now with the setting up of provincial governments the possibilities have increased sevenfold and so the Government of the day’s announcement discouraging contacts with provincial chiefs and pointing out that this is not in conformity with diplomatic protocol are very timely.
It is apparent that at the moment that this hue and cry that is taking place in the country is not only by the PM and his party, but also the opposition and most of the lawmakers of the land. The Press Council too has objected to the report. It is only two parties which have a majority presence in Pradesh 2 - Laxman Lal Karna of RJPN and Rajendra P Shrestha of FSFN who stated in the house that the EU is within its to comment and to speak up for the rights of individuals who have been denied their human rights! Such statements by recognised parties of Nepal are a gross attempt by them to divert and scuttle the issue. However the Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities (NEFIN) stated that the EU report correctly reflects the reality of Nepal. Such statements coming out makes one wonder as to whether attempts are being made to create divisions in the Nepali society which after the remarkable success in holding county wide elections at three levels is trying to put its house in order. Is the EU trying to reopen issues that have already been settled and catered for in the constitution? Is this an attempt to 'divide and rule' or perhaps create 'conflict and disorder' so that mission groups can come to create peace?
A recent figure by an English language national daily is that finance to the tune of US dollars 70 million has been disbursed by the EU for various ongoing projects. Another matter-of-fact truth is that funds from many EU has been the life blood of many NGOs advocating or supporting the issues and activities of the Left, Centre and Right parties of Nepal. Some transparency about monetary support given would be appreciated so that the enthusiasts or the diehards emerge from the shadows and come out in the open. The causes championed have been varied from gender violence, federalism, human rights and secularism. In this crusading zeal the doing away with monarchy was perhaps a hidden agenda. The fact that these elections were held was because of the fact that EU provided the finance for it. The question therefore arises as to whether one bites the hand that feeds it. Have we Nepalis the right to speak against such a benefactor who is the provider of our salt? This is a Carodpati type of question which we Nepalis have to answer.
So in conclusion, after looking at what has been said and done by the EU-EOM, the apt summary of what has been their handiwork is best exemplified by a Nepali saying, 'Kaam Kuro Ekatira, Kumlo Boki Thimi Tira'.