Chain reaction

Tribhuvan University and other universities have been without top officials for at least eight months, but the government has not yet been able to fill those vacancies. TU employees who had staged a sit-in in front of Singhadurbar on Monday demanding immediate appointments to top TU posts were subjected to force by the police, provoking them into further actions. As a result, they have decided not to cooperate even in holding the on-going post-graduate examinations. On Tuesday, they locked up sine die the administrative departments of all the TU campuses, the central campus at Kirtipur, and the office of the controller of examinations. The government, it is reported, is stalling decisions because of the differences between the Nepali Congress and the CPN-UML over the loaves and fishes of office. Weeks ago, CPN-UML general secretary Madhav Kumar Nepal had accused Prime Minister GP Koirala of the delay despite the fact that the education ministry headed by a CPN-UML nominee had already processed everything.

It is a matter of shame that force was used against employees and students who demonstrated only to remind the government of its duty to have key posts filled expeditiously. In Parliament on Tuesday, MPs criticised the government on this count and Speaker Subas Nembang ruled that the government pay immediate attention to this issue. In a number of public organisations, work has suffered rather badly because of the government’s failure to fill the openings following the post-Jana Andolan II resignations last year. As for the ambassadors to 14 world capitals, the government has nominated people without consulting the Maoists who are set to become an important part of the soon-to-be-formed interim government. This led to strong protests by the Maoists. The nominees are yet to be vetted by a parliamentary hearing committee, but the PM told journalists on Monday that his decisions on the ambassadors would not be changed under any circumstances no matter what the parliamentary committee might have to say.

Some other immediate tasks before the nation are no doubt more critical than appointments. However, failure to fill the vacanies renders heavier the debit side of the government. How could a citizen believe it would carry out the stupendous tasks during the transition with a reasonable degree of foresight and promptness, making the people feel a real difference between yesterday and today? The other question is about the fitness of the candidates who will be chosen. Virtually all organisations with the vacant top posts at present are in need of an overhaul to enable them to perform better and make a meaningful contribution in their domains of duty in the days to come. If SPA government leaders continue to remain embroiled in petty wranglings over the distribution of public posts, obstructing vital business for that, as in the twelve years of their rule, rather than setting sound selection criteria and scouting for the best candidates, the public will be forced to conclude that they have not learned anything from the past.