Shrewd maneuvers and manipulations Maoist game-plan

Amartya Sen, the nobel prize laureate in economics, after extensive study on the occurrence of famines in many parts of the world, concluded a free press and democracy as essential to prevent famines. He asserted there will be no famine in a functioning democracy with free press. In Nepal, the media, although somewhat subdued in recent months in the wake of Maoist intimidation and threats, have brought about a chilling video tape exposing the Maoist game plan. This shows the strength of media power in a democracy in checking the authoritarian course.

Many people have spoken and written about the Maoist’s hidden agenda. Others had suspected it. The videotape has authenticated it. It also reveals the background behind the Maoist move to oust Katawal. The man very well understood the Maoist intent behind the integration. In Prachanda’s words, about 10.000 Maoist combatants about to be integrated in the army would be successful in politicizing and ‘Maoizing’ the Nepal Army because of the formers’ enlightenment and motivation. With the Maoist plan to reduce the Nepal Army size to some 30,000 to 50,000, the whole army could be brought under control. He also spoke of the integration unit by unit, and not on individual merit as agreed in the CPA. He had also asserted if the Maoists came victorious in the CA election, they would not accept the UN verified number but would rewrite the rules. Prachanda knew that neither Katawal nor the Special Committee would support the Maoist plan. Therefore, he needed somebody who would obey their orders blindly.

The video tape is also a telling commentary on the performance of UNMIN in the verification process. Through shrewd maneuver and manipulation, the Maoists were able to increase their army’s strength many times. The total number of combatants before the verification and the peace deal was some 7-8,000. After the verification, the number reached 20,000.

Thus, UNMIN was instrumental in giving legitimacy to the young boys who were enlisted by the Maoists in their ranks after the peace deal. Prachanda also speaks about how the inmates in cantonments could go to the countryside to prepare for revolt.

The tape also is a sweet reminder to the gullible observers who often speak about the poor conditions of the combatants in cantonments. The inmates do not receive the billions of rupees provided by the government. A large part of it is used to buy arms, pay party levy and other activities. There is no proper accounting of the sums administered by the Maoists. The Auditor General’s Office pointed out financial arrears. To avoid any further questioning on the matter, the last cabinet, after resignation, converted Rs. 480 million treated as arrears into grants. The videotape reveals that out of the 600 million rupees meant for the camps at that time, the inmates would receive only a small portion. The rest would be used for preparing the revolt - some 200 million for procuring arms.

The peace process started with the Maoist commitment to peace, multiparty politics, rule of law and human rights. They renounced violence and declared the insurgency over in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. But even after more than a year of signing this the Maoist supremo’s discourse before his commanders, as in the video tape, is full of revolutionary rhetoric, tactic and preparations for revolt. The man justifies the video speech saying that this was made in a different context and that he is committed to the CPA. But he has always maintained two and more faces. Just three days back, he showed exemplary statesmanship by tendering his resignation to the President and became a caretaker Prime Minister.

Immediately, the next day he directed his parliamentary party to obstruct House proceedings and not allow the successor cabinet to be formed. His party cadres in Ramechhap, Karnali and other districts started issuing dictates to NC and UML party members to either flee the villages or obey their orders. Threat, torture and intimidation associated with the notorious Jana Karbahi of the insurgency days seem revived.

Contrary to what they profess outwardly, the Maoists talk of strategic offense and continue to prepare their cadres for the assault. Their parallel administrative network of the insurgency days remains intact underground. Their party meetings are always held in camera. Nobody has access to their party resolutions and, unlike other political parties, they do not make their decisions public. In a paper circulated in their recent conclave in Kharipati, they proposed to further train the PLA for revolt.

Clearly, Nepal’s peace process is at risk of being derailed seriously. By successfully hoodwinking everybody — the wily politicians, naïve foreign observers and the civil society, the Maoists are using the peace process to consolidate power and raise strength, to eventually capture total power.

The recent attempt to change the military chief was a step in that direction. It is high time all freedom loving Nepalis and the international community realized this and worked to make democracy work in its true form.