For civilised geopolitics: Whose supremacy?
Nepal is passing through a cycle of both optimistic and pessimistic
feelings as reshuffling of ministers occur. Madhav Kumar Nepal, the former general secretary of CPN UML, is the new prime minister, since the last week of May. It may be an interesting political drama to the international community why one breed of communist force is substituted by another.
With very jejune performances of governance for about nine months in
executive position, the Maoists in Nepal are now in opposition benches in the Constitution Assembly (CA) as the largest single political party. As they exited from the executive body, the Maoists are acting nervously, speaking irrationally, and behaving irresponsibly inside the CA as well as
outside, and if they continue with such foolhardy acts, the consequence will be that both past accords and future peace and prosperity of Nepal may be victimized.
The general public mood is a function of behaviors
of the Maoists vis-à-vis political parties. Earlier, the Maoist chairperson Puspha Kamal Dahal resigned over the controversy on the status of the chief of army staff. Dahal, as a prime minister, had terminated the about to retire army chief, but President Dr Ram Baran Yadav, based on written appeal of seventeen major political parties nullified the prime ministerial decision. Since then the Maoists have created a new mantra of “civilian supremacy” that not only sensitized the Maoist cadres but also overshadowed the weakness and impotency of the Maoist governance. It has become their clever ploy.
Implicitly, the Maoists seem working on a few hidden agenda. Firstly, the constitution making process could be prolonged as per the Maoists’ interests and propaganda politics. In fact, the Maoists really want to impose their primacy rather than people’s supremacy as their top politburo members have been publicly claiming it. Further, few ongoing activities in the constitution making process also indicate their intentions. For example, one of the publicly disclosed issues is about a clause for banning a political party. The Maoists would like to include a clause to ban a political party if it defies the “vague” communist jargons. Furthermore, there also are a few CA members who would like a constitutional arrangement devoid of private property provision.
Secondly, by dragging Nepal Army into the controversy, the Maoists have bared a very serious long term strategy. A continuous irritation and provocation of the national force by a rival army chief is not a good symptom for civilized geopolitics. Since the Nepal Army is the only remaining public institution yet to be infiltrated by the politically indoctrinated comrades, the Maoists are using different tactics to demoralize it. Subsequently, their aim to capture it by means of horizontal integration of the so-called People’s Liberation Army (PLA) could be a big mistake in the history of modern Nepal.
There is no doubt that Nepal’s national army must be professional and transparent by all means, but politics should never be allowed entry therein. All political parties should have learnt a lesson from a parallel example of Nepal’s police force, which is inept due to political heavy handedness and its efficiency and effectiveness are questionable. So by letting national army face the same fate of the police forces the Maoists eventually could use them to enforce a totalitarian system in the long run. The publicly revealed but secret video message of Prachanda to PLA cadres justifies this game-plan.
The ongoing political confrontation between the Maoists and non-Maoist parties has pushed the citizens in such way that they are compelled to choose
between two guns of either Nepal Army or the Maoists, which is absolutely a very pathetic option. This also implies that the Maoists are engaged in psycho-political tactics in the name of civilian supremacy.
As of now, Nepal’s contemporary challenges such as creation of federal states and writing of a new constitution could be in jeopardy, if political parties are limited to power sharing play and bonded with only their rhetoric. The forgone cost of delaying such tasks of vital national interests would be beyond anybody’s imagination and the parties are only involved in a zero sum
game of making or breaking successive governments. Moreover, according to the present interim constitution, the present CA has less than a year to prepare a new constitution.
The citizens are expecting a people’s supremacy at all levels through a noble constitution with federal structures that explicitly delegates power to regional and local governments with a coherent system of accountability, institutional and financial decentralization, ecological, economical, and social rights to people along with a sincere pledge of civil liberties.
It is expected that people’s rational belief in federal democratic republic of Nepal won’t be overshadowed by irrational political motleys and their maneuvers of the leftists.
(Dr. Devkota is the editor of forthcoming book ‘Nepal in 21st Century’, Nova Publishers Inc. New York, 2009).