TOPICS: Nepal and need for a visionary leadership

The evaluation of a good political leader is based on his ability to have a correct, timely and collective understanding of current issues and to successfully introduce or influence changes to a desired end. Since Nepal’s development and problems are complex, the solutions have to be found through proper identification, analysis, discussion and a quick and inclusive decision-making process. To implement the political and developmental challenge, we need a leader who is visionary and can rally like-minded colleagues around his agenda.

Looking at eight parties’ leadership, there is a need to evolve collective leadership that can quickly assemble to solve problems. They all appear to be driven by narrow political agendas, oneupmanship and vote bank politics. As seen in the fast brewing crisis around us and the government’s slow response, this type of leadership will not be able to cope with the current and impending challenges. Our leaders let the event happen first and then respond — a reactive syndrome, which is inadequate for crisis management. We need proactive leadership with a quick and measured response. We need prudent fire-prevention strategies and if this had been done in Lahan’s case, lives and property could have been saved.

Good political leadership should have the following qualities: Decision-making and centre of authority must be consultative, participatory and devolved to all ministries and regional nodes; the leader must be honest, of high moral standards, transparent, prompt, decisive and disciplined; and the leader must be inclusive in thinking. Besides, he must be aware that means are as important as the end; he should be very elastic as far as tactics are concerned and as hard as oak as far as the strategy is concerned; idealism should be his hallmark without losing sight of pragmatism; he must practise competitive politics to promote rather than prohibit co-operation among peers.

Nepalis after over 10 years of unimagined turmoil are looking up to their leaders for peace, security and prosperity. However, past events have started to dampen their hopes. The community of nations through the UN and on their own have shown readiness to help Nepal. Nepal’s goodwill is due to its unparalleled beauty, social harmony and tolerance befitting Lord Buddha and Sita’s birthplace and also due to Mount Everest. But this goodwill will not last if we squander this opportunity by fighting among ourselves. Can our leaders take a holistic and long-term approach in their thinking, deliberations, decision-making process?

Today’s challenges demand a truly collective leadership and participatory decision-making system. The leaders should anticipate and plan contingency measures to tackle multiple problems occurring during Constituent Assembly elections. This is not an unreasonable expectation as our leaders have promised all this. However, citizens should have patience, a sense of individual and institutional responsibility and respect basic human values and

societal norms.