Nepal | June 03, 2020

A sorry tale of my country

Chirayu Lekhak
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For sheep, or cattle for that matter, to flourish, the shepherd should be competent enough to understand the good and bad of its flock. The saying “sheep so scared of wolves, in the end is eaten by the shepherd” implies blind faith and trust of the sheep on its usher, very much like the trust placed by the people on the government to  protect and improve their living conditions and push the country forward.

These last few months, however, we feel like the sheep being laid out to be butchered by the very people we voted to power. Our votes have been made a mockery of as the current government finds itself in a situation soaked in a pool of corruption and misdeeds. Is this why the two powerful political parties consolidated – to embezzle funds and to bleed the country and its citizens dry?

Where did we as citizens of a federal democratic system go wrong that today we find ourselves at a crossroads of a government that cannot perform its duty and an economy that has failed us utterly? Aren’t we to be blamed for the part that we have played? After years of fighting for democracy I believe we as citizens have cheated our country by throwing up a leader who doesn’t care for the well-being of Nepal and its people.

For a long time, government instability was hindering the overall development of Nepal. But a stable government was formed by a majority, but it has now led us to a point none of us foresaw – a rogue cabinet, failing economy and an inefficient bureaucracy. Was an unstable governing system the only problem?

Our votes should have helped multi-party democracy with a federal system thrive to achieve the aims and goals of the constitution, i.e., sustainable peace, prosperity, development and good governance as mentioned in the preamble. Instead the system has been misused and driven the country towards impunity, corruption and bad governance. The fundamental goals of our constitution are yet to be fulfilled.

We voted for those people who provided false hopes, we were carried away by the speeches they delivered. We acted rashly like sheep, not knowing where it would lead us to. We chose shepherds not on their ability to work and deliver but those who could talk and flatter us. They made us believe that our integrity was their upmost concern, we failed to see corruption was their utmost priority! This is the bitter truth of what our stable government has brought us to.

These past few months, our elected government bodies have tried to silence our cries and diminish our right to information. One after another, we have seen heaps of scandals, and many more scandals to cover them up. We’ve seen a minister demanding a bribe of Rs 700 million as if he had every right to it; the general secretary of the ruling CPN engaging in shady land dealings; and not to forget our respected PM ‘celebrating’ his 69th birthday by violating Article 151 of the National Criminal Code 2017.

The most shameful act, however, has been paying ridiculous amounts of money for buying medical equipment, and to add to it, evidence suggesting that it had been bought from a blacklisted Singaporean company, Globalmatics Trading, which had earlier been associated with smuggling goods to India via Nepal. Embezzlement of public funds and trust is a criminal offence irrespective of when and how it is done, but to embezzle funds during a pandemic is a crime to humanity.

I recall our respected Prime Minister, while addressing the nation, saying he would never look at a corrupt and delinquent leader. Should he then never have another cabinet meeting? Wouldn’t it be fair to speak up against his colleagues rather than defending their integrity and maintaining silence at a time when the nation’s fund has been misused in every way possible? For a leader who loves to talk, comment and provide hope in his speeches, although never fulfilled, to maintain a silence at such times is disgraceful and immoral. Where is his action leading our country to? Is he being a good shepherd to us, or is he all about showboating? The situation compels us to believe in the latter.

In this century, Nepal must compete with the rest of the world in terms of economy and prosperity of its citizens. With nearly every citizen harbouring a dream to leave Nepal and go abroad for a better life, Nepal might be facing a crisis of manpower and intellectuals. The root of this problem can be traced down to corruption, and this government has set a milestone in carrying out this deceit most efficiently. Lying in the midst of two most powerful countries of the modern world, we must understand the advantages we possess. But with a government that lacks diplomacy, it seems highly unlikely the two powerhouses of the world will believe in a leader completely soaked in self-interest.

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