Turf battle

The Interim Government (which replaced the SPA government installed immediately after Jana Andolan II) has made great decisions and is embarked on a historic mission. At the same time, it has become a prisoner of indecision in many important day-to-day functions. If its first 100 days are anything to go by, the IG has failed to come strong in maintaining law and order. But even in the far less daunting task of filling the top vacancies in government and in various public institutions, its indecisiveness has been a matter of public discussion, implying that the government did not value the importance of those organisations to society. Take TU, where after one year of indecision, the vacancy for vice-chancellor was recently filled. The 46th TU Day was observed on Monday. But for lack of other important officials such as rector, registrar and members of the TU Service Commission, vital decisions have been pending for too long. Meanwhile, TU teachers’ association has announced a second-phase protest programme, demanding that the government make the appointments without further delay.

But the malaise goes beyond TU. Though the countdown to the constituent assembly polls has begun, many important state organisations are without their chiefs — ministries, regional administration offices, and district-level offices, not to speak of the various commissions, such as National Human Rights Commission, the academy, the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority, and the Office of the Auditor General. As for the diplomatic assignments, some dozen ambassadors had been recalled post-Jana Andolan, leaving the decision on their replacements pending for months. Then the names of 14 ambassadors were recommended, but none have been sent to their assigned capitals as yet.

Sadly, the reasons for the prolonged vacancies are hardly edifying. History has entrusted the eight-party alliance (EPA) with the responsibility of charting the course for a New Nepal based on democracy, good governance, justice, equality, inclusiveness and other high values. But the state and the people have been suffering because of the failure of the bigger EPA constituents to agree on the division of the loaves and fishes. Not surprisingly, the differing parties blame one another, but particularly, non-Congress leaders hold the Prime Minister principally responsible, because no decision can be taken without the Prime Minister’s initiative and nod. The failure of the major parties to agree has not sent the right message to the people. It has only contributed to creating the impression that if the parties are so petty-minded about recognising one another’s legitimate rights and claims, how can they bring themselves equal to the huge task of building a New Nepal? While all parties should try to do their bit to reach an agreement, the party the Prime Minister heads is expected to do more, because the honour of having the post of the PM is something special. A few more posts for other parties cannot come anywhere near this advantage.