Political parties have two major functions in a popular democracy. One function is to represent their people and constituency and another function is to run the state. While the organisational structure and values of political parties may be diverse in their attempt to represent the interests of the people, they do not have such freedom when it comes to running of a democratic state. If political parties want to take part in the running of the state, they must comply with democratic norms in party functioning, values and financing. Without such democratic transformation in their internal party structure and in their values, political parties do not have a right to take charge of the running of the state. This applies to all the political parties, including the UCPN-M. Political parties, including the Nepali Congress and the UML, are not much different from the UCPN-Maoist when it comes to financial transparency and participatory decision-making. This principle may be trampled during times of political transition, but it must be respected if we are to strengthen and stabilise democracy in the country.
Culture of impunity among political parties is one example. This culture has become so voluminous that it has submerged the voice of reason, which is essential for success of democratic system in Nepal. Political leaders should realize that a state cannot remain isolated from international norms and systems of governance without serious consequences. The state has failed in delivering transitional justice even six years after the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. There is a misconception among politicians that since Nepal has not signed the statute of the International Criminal Court, perpetrators of serious crimes can be safe if the state pardons their crime. However, Nepal is a party to the Geneva Convention of 1949 so serious crimes can be tried under international jurisdiction. It is unfortunate that both the parties—the government and the Maoist party—appear to be united in resisting the course of truth and justice. Representing the people in a true sense is usually always different from the claims of representation that the political forces make. Consider the case of Nepal’s nationalism, which is under strain. It has already generated widespread fears that it could affect the country’s territorial integrity. Re-reading history and establishing historical injustice has become a fashionable thing to do for politically aligned individuals seeking to embark on politics of identity. However, missing from the agenda is a sense of responsibility to the people, which has become subservient to geo-strategic interests and political ambitions. While identity politics is useful, and sometimes necessary, in resisting hegemony and establishing rights of the excluded communities, it becomes a barrier when converted into an end in itself. There must come a time when resistance is converted into a project where all groups can co-exist under a single federal democratic republic and enjoy equal rights.
As is happening at present, we have lost sight of our true political objective and are being consumed by political ambitions and strategic maneuvers. The only solution to this never-ending cycle of resistance and violence is a sense of responsibility. Unless all political parties feel a sense of accountability to the people, for their welfare, equality and rights, and reconsider their starting point, there is unlikely to be any solution without further chaos and violence.
That four drivers of long route buses have been nabbed for driving after partaking of alcohol in the past six days shows that driving under influence is what has been causing many road accidents in recent days. The accidents are caused due to the fault of the drivers mostly. So that the traffic police are about to step up their vigil and test the drivers with breathalysers is indeed welcome. Come the time for festivities the authorities should carry out extra checks as the vehicular traffic is going to be more dense. Let all cooperate by not drinking and driving for this invites disaster. In the case, of Kathmandu the drive against drunk driving appears to have paid off with the number of accidents going down. Meanwhile, the punishment for drunk driving should be more severe than just imposing a fine of Rs. 1000.