A man who served the town an impeccable taste of 'Taas' was snatched away by a virus that now robs people of that great flavour. He ran a popular establishment in Narayanghat for decades, and I used to frequent this place for the meat dish. I think to myself, could this misery have been prevented? The answer is, yes, if only our politics knew how to prioritise things.

Our country has long lost its priority. It's not just this current communist government or the COVID situation that is going astray. This communist government was the most powerful and widely accepted government in the country's history.

There were so many things that went wrong for decades and needed to be aligned in the right direction. One such field is public health. It wasn't actually COVID that showed us the true picture of our public health system.

Well before COVID, it was Dr Govinda KC who pointed out the limitations of our health system. Yet, no leader showed the slightest interest to deliver on his demands.

Since the dawn of this pandemic almost a year-and-a-half back, the public health crisis has suddenly become vivid. Issues such as doctor-patient ratio, access to health facilities in the remote areas, patient-tobed ratio, permits granted to non-deserving medical colleges, quality of doctors produced, cost of studying medicine and health insurance should have been addressed back then.

What is our politics doing about the most important things in our lives? Where does it stand on health, education and transportation? This government wants us to believe it's done its part in bringing prosperity to the country. What it has done is outsource work to the private sector looking for instant profit. Policy reform is tedious and difficult. So no one wants to soil their hands with the policy works, everyone craves populism.

Anyone who is willing to get all dirty with hard work must have proper work ethics and the determination to serve.

These are, however, rare qualities among this generation of leaders. To hope for this crisis to end through such leadership is nothing short of stupidity.

To our dismay, Oli has a problem with the word 'pratigya' meaning 'promise'. During his swearing-in as the third-time prime minister, he says out loud to the President that he doesn't need to say that word.

Together, they have made a mockery of what could have been one of the finest democracies in the world. The people close to us who died of COVID didn't have to die.

We can't lose more people to the incompetence of our leaders. We should all speak up again as we did during the first wave of COVID-19 and tell them 'enough is enough'.

A version of this article appears in the print on May 20, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.