Human beings are loaded with power in one form or the other, just like the way animals are, who have the power to save themselves in adverse conditions. Power can be constructive if it is used in good faith, whereas it could be detrimental if used otherwise.

Take a simple example of an office where the in-charge has the authority to check the malpractices in his office. If he manipulates his power for personal gains, it leads his peers to follow suit.

This phenomenon is more apparent during the current pandemic. The unified scientific power led by political consensus has led to the development of vaccines against the virus at an unprecedented pace.

In the aftermath of the devastating earthquake of April 2015, the political parties came to a consensus to promulgate the current constitution of Nepal.

These events show that for big changes to occur, it's ultimately the people's power that matters.

The leaders or civil society representatives are relied upon to uplift the society and the nation.

So, it is their responsibility to give back by making wise decisions on the use of power. If they are involved in malpractices, such as appointing personnel at corporations based on nepotism and favouritism, then neither the appointees will be motivated to serve nor will the office they head function well.

There are instances when different rulers over time have exercised their power in Nepal.

When erstwhile king Gyanendra tried to hijack the executive power from the elected representatives in 2002, it marked the end of the 240-year-old Shah dynasty.

When mutual power coalesces, nothing can defeat the unity.

The European Union (EU), an umbrella association of 27 European countries, is one such example where they unite for common interests and exercise their power to frame rules for the EU member countries from tourism to security.

When king Gyanendra was overthrown by the first meeting of the Constituent Assembly on May 28, 2008, we expected peace to prevail and development works to ensue. However, we lament that our leaders are weighing their option each time to secure ministerial portfolios disregarding the public mandate. The current pandemic has unraveled their petty interests over national interest.

When COVID-19 victims were grappling for oxygen and medical aid, the leaders were busy in a power tussle.

These days in the era of democracy, people hold the power of the vote to elect their ideal representative to rule them. So, they must hold themselves accountable when using power. If they use it against the people's will, they will not only face ridicule but also put the citizens in danger of conflicts and poverty.

A version of this article appears in the print on January 5, 2022, of The Himalayan Times.