The real Maoist

The three largest parties are currently engaged in dialogue in order to end political differences and develop mutual trust. At present the parties are listening to each other’s concerns, and exploring ways to move the peace process forward. According to the participants, power sharing is on the agenda. The question now is not whether the UCPN-Maoists can be trusted, but how they can be persuaded to enter the democratic mainstream. It has now become clear that the Maoists are ideologically unyielding and are merely taking advantage of the other parties’

goodwill. As the largest democratic parties sit down to talk with the Maoists, it should be clear that the agenda is not how to appease the Maoists, but how

to protect the country and the people from becoming enmeshed in a spiral of continued violence and

communist dictatorship. For this we need a more vibrant government that can remain steadfast on democratic principles, as well as deliver justice and good governance. At this point, there can be no compromise with the Maoists outside the purview of the parliament, the interim constitution and the Constituent Assembly.

The ongoing dialogue between the three parties, however, could hit a snag after Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda’s address to members of People’s Cultural Federation in Lalitpur on Monday. Prachanda’s address unequivocally expresses the Unified CPN-Maoist’s political tactics and long-term goals.

In the speech he

clarifies that the party’s primary objective is to “capture” the state through a decisive “people’s revolt”. For that they are going to use the

street, the parliament and the government as the means. More dangerously

he makes it clear that it is not the party line to write the constitution and attain power through elections. Prachanda was instructing party workers and explaining the party’s current policy and tactics. It indicates that the UCPN-Maoist is not interested in writing the constitution and obtaining power through democratic means.

Nepal’s peace process and the constitution writing process hit a stumbling block after Maoist leader Prachanda stepped down from power in May 2009. Soon thereafter, Prachanda came under severe criticism when a video tape surfaced, which showed the Maoist leader claiming that they had been able to hoodwink other parties and the international community about their real strength in terms of the number of PLA soldiers. In it, Prachanda also claimed that their real goal was to capture the state by politicizing the Nepali Army. Prachanda later defended his statement saying the speech was made before the CA elections in a completely different context. However, his speech in Lalitpur is damaging to the party and cannot be condoned because it was made on Monday and reveals that the party has no respect for the new constitution and democratic processes. He can no longer shrug off responsibility, like he used to do before, by saying that he was merely trying to motivate party workers. In the speech, he himself makes it clear that he is recounting the party’s recent central committee decisions and its policies.

Late as usual

The machine readable passports (MRPs) are to come into use from April of this year as required by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). These passports are being used to check fake and illegal passports. The Nepalese officials are aware of this deadline but are doing little about it. Failure to possess such passports would mean that Nepalese travelers the world over would have to face hassles. So that that this does not happen it behooves on the authorities to work towards issuing the MRPs. However, it is found that the concerned ministries have yet to recruit the necessary manpower to issue such passports within the deadline. The concerned also say that this could be done only at the central level at present and besides there is shortage of funds to make such passports.

Meanwhile, as it is very unlikely that these passports would be issued by April, the authorities say they would urge the ICAO to accept the present passport. If it does so then it is fine. But if the request is refused than there would be problems for Nepalese traveling with the existing passport. Thus, it would be better if the necessary arrangements were made to issue the MRPs without further delay.