Two ministries in particular are making big news these days. The secret 7-point deal between Prime Minister Jhala Nath Khanal (before his election to the high office) and the Maoist chief Pushpa Kamal Dahal has brought focus on the Home Ministry. At the same time the finance secretary Rameshwor Khanal’s resignation brought all eyes on the Finance Ministry. Herein, it may be worthwhile to note the glaring lack of pace in getting the council of ministers to come to some definite size. The Maoists are adamant on the prime minister fulfilling the secret deal in toto. But, PM Khanal has not been able to push ahead, except for the assurance of expanding the cabinet in a day or two, and this has been repeated since he assumed the prime minister’s chair more than two months back. Moreover, he has not been able to induct even his party members as ministers, as there is lack of consensus within his own party. The give-and-take posture has not helped the prime minister in any way. The delay is, however, costing the nation heavily in terms of the rather uphill task of meeting the deadline of constitution draft completion in another 47 days, and the stagnating peace process. For moving ahead with both the tasks, the Maoists want the Home Ministry together with PM Khanal doing the needful with the other points of the ill-famed secret deal. On the other hand, the finance secretary’s resignation and the hype over the supplementary budget has brought the ire on Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister.
Lackllustre pace of political development, impunity and corruption has mired the national scenario. Chief Justice Ram Prasad Shrestha set into motion the hearings and verdict in graft cases to the satisfaction of every conscious citizens. But, there is a long way to go in dealing with graft because of the great degree of impunity that is prevalent. On this front, too, the prime minister has not been able to galvanise the government machinery. In fact, the indecision that is marked will see no significant gains accrue. The consensus slogan of PM Khanal has not yielded the envisaged result and only a few individuals from CPN (UML) and UCPN (M) have been inducted into the cabinet while a majority of the ministries are lying vacant, and works of the ministries concerned have been hampered. The sense of national responsibility and duty has been lost in the power play, where the Maoists wagered on backing PM Khanal, but their expectations have not come true.
The people’s frustration knows no bounds, but the political leaders are dilly-dallying with the urgent tasks of national interest. While on this, it would be fitting to make a reference to Anna Hazare who went on a hunger strike for the Indian government to come up with anti-corruption legislation. That was a victory. Corruption too holds sway in Nepal and has been quite harsh on the democratic gains after the April movement. Only a swipe at corruption that is rampant in Nepali politics will be able to secure the rights and aspirations of the citizens, and the weak and wavering leadership of the incumbent will not be a precedent. Even in politics, ethics ought to percolate to the mainstream.
The security in the capital valley has been found to be wanting. Just a few weeks ago, an inmate was shot at in the Central Jail supposed to be a secure area. And, as if this was not enough, a Pakistani inmate managed to escape from a hospital where he was undergoing treatment. These were serious security lapses and it was even alleged that some security personnel were involved. The police are trying to do something about their tarnished image. Now, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner’s Office has set a requirement that the unit in-charges report monthly performances in writing. This self-appraisal is expected to pinpoint the shortcomings of the police force and also to suggest remedial actions the security personnel should take in order to bring about an overall improvement in the security.
No doubt, the policemen who fail in their duty should be punished. This applies to the police personnel of all ranks. There should be no exceptions, if we are to believe the police. Time and again the police have come up with innovative schemes in order to boost up security. The initiatives usually fizzle out. More sustainable actions are needed.