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

political harmonization

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 The UCPN(Maoist) has insisted on fulfilling its demand to discuss the motion against the President who had rescinded the then government’s decision to sack the army chief .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

constitution writing.