Heavy political wrangling Fallout on statute writing
We have less than nine months to redeem
the Constituent Assembly pledge to enact a new
democratic federal constitution for the nation. But
it looks like that we are
not meeting the promise . Though it has been repeatedly said that the constitution will be delivered in
time as spelt out in the
Interim constitution, the ground reality speaks otherwise. After a long interregnum Madhav Nepal absolved the post of constitutional committee chairperson to take over the responsibility of prime minister, Nilambar Acharya has
been elected to take
over the role recently. Much to our dismay political
parties failed to beat their differences to elect the chairperson on consensus basis as it would have
heralded a message of
especially for the process
of constitution writing. Undoubtedly, Mr. Acharya’s credentials as a legal luminary and a person of integrity can not be impeached.
The constituent assembly has revised its schedule several times but without altering the final deadline. Whatever may be the reasons for frequent revisions and amendment of the schedule, this has done injustice to the citizens and made a mockery of the participatory process of constitution writing. More agonizing is the fact that the major political parties do not seem prepared, if not willing, to deliver the constitution despite the CA rescheduling.
For the last two months the legislature has been stalled and key policy and financial proposals of the government have yet to be discussed and ratified. The UCPN(Maoist) has insisted on fulfilling its demand to discuss the motion against the President who had rescinded the then government’s decision to sack the army chief . But the ruling coalition has not reconciled to it arguing that the Maoist demand does not meet the constitutional provision both in letter and spirit.
Another bone of contention that has driven wedge among the major political parties is the
question of adjustment of over twenty thousand ex-PLA combatants who
have been encamped in different cantonments across the country for years. The United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) is wasting its time as political parties have not been able to
fully utilize its mandate
to bring about adjustment or integration of the ex- Maoist combatants.
What has consumed most of the time is the wrangling over the interpretation of the terminologies used in the comprehensive peace treaty signed by the state and the rebels in 2007. It
has resulted into the lack of homogeneity or common understanding among
the parties as to how to
rehabilitate the ex- combatants to resolve and bid adieu to the last but important remnant of the ten year
long armed conflict. The Nepali Congress is all out opposed to integration of the ex-PLA combatants in the Nepal Army, whereas UCPN (M) seems to be in no mood to relent short of integration of the rebel army in the national army. The panel reconstituted recently headed by Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal himself has not been able to make much dent in resolving the issue. These days conflict among the parties seems to be revolving around constitution
first vs adjustment or integration first. The CPN (Maoist) should definitely be in favor of finalizing the constitution writing process before its direct or indirect hold over the combatants is snapped whereas other parties are seemingly inclined to take both the process
forward simultaneously, if not the rehabilitation first.
The crucial agenda for Nepal is to write the constitution and start a new era
of democracy, federalism and republicanism. Any
delay in the framing and promulgation of the constitution shall not be vindicated as it will constitute a breach of the interim statute provision and violation of the pledge made to the
people. In no case should CA fail to deliver the constitution in time as this will give a negative message to the outside world staking positive interest in the on going peace process in
this country. The role of
the UN needs to be mentioned in this context. From assisting the process of signing the comprehensive peace treaty, supporting the process of CA elections to rehabilitation of ex-PLA combatants( which is yet
to be carried out), the contribution of the UN has been consequential.
The slackened rate of progress in the writing of
the constitution is viewed with greater concern and the political actors are called in to lend impetus
to the process. The observation of elder politician Girja Prasad Koirala, reported
in the press recently, that Nepalese alone should
resolve the Nepal’s own problem to which CPN (Maoist) leader Prachanda has subscribed too should guide the future course of action of the parties to deliver the constitution and resolve the issue of ex-combatant’s rehabilitation.
Though belatedly, some indications are seen these day following the revival
of the process of dialogues between political leaders .
It is expected to herald
political convergence to break the impasse and add momentum in the process of peace building and