Friday, October 5, 2007

What next in Nepal? Most critical remarks!

Dear All Citizens of Nepal!
Finally, over a month deadlock between Maoists and all political parties of Nepal has come to an end. The end came with a BANG of (now seven party) decision "Postopone the CA and conduct it by 14 April 2008" .Let's take the point from here.What will happen next in Nepal till 14 April 2008 or before reaching to that date?I, as, sensibel citizen of Nepal and being the mere spectator till today can say the following.
1. Girija babu, Sher babu, Shushil babu and their deciples will start biting each others head and quarrel internally for anykind of selfish and hidden desires they have by completely forgetting the total Nepal and total Nepali citizen. They may fool us again to justify why Girija Babu's firm statement to conduct CA on 22 November had to be changed despite his commitment until the last moment. So, we all Neplai will keep quiet and follow what these Babus yell.
2. Prachandd babu, Babu Ram babu, Mahara babu and their fierce deciples will invent new strategies to foil everything what comes from others and continuously jeorpardize the environment of politics, economy, social, development, human rights, peoples' right and minimum living environment. They will give birth to a 32 agenda new demands by proclaiming that these are the wayouts to conver old Nepal into New Nepal. Thus, we all Nepali will be constantly fooled by Maoists and we will be waiting and seeing without any reactions.
3. Madhab babu, Jhala Nath babu, Oli babu, Bam Dev babu and their gangs will be shouting here and there without any firm principles and strategy and only try to make most out of the opportunities. They will use all kinds of words and phrases to be near to the people not by concrete plan but by critising all others' work and plans. We Nepalis will be simply keeping quiet.
4. Present structure of the government will be changed- some with new faces, some with new hopes, some with different rles, some with heavy hearts, some with new entusiasm. Most likely, there will be a dogs fight among different stakeholders of the cabinet. Ultimately, the size of the cabinet may beat the record of over 50 ministers consuming the tax paid by all of us poor people. We will be giving benefit of doubt to this cabinet also and become mere spectator.
5. Nepal's economy will beat the record lowest in the history and will be in shambles. We may have to face extreme deficiency of goods and serivices as the price will be sky rocketing. Ultimately, we all will be watching and waiting this scenario and may have to convert ourselves as beggers.
6. International community (UNDP, Worrld Bank, and all big Donors) will see a fortune in Nepal to employ their people in the name of better peace building, economic development, social harmony, education development, etc. Many of us will be thriving for obtaining some shares of this fund from outside and others will be simply swallowing their mouth water.
7. Different groups created by Nepali Congress, Maobadi, UML, Sad Bhabana, Jana Morcha, RPPs, NRPPs, and many others will do their best to cut Nepal into pieces. Most likely before 14 April 2008, we will be divided into 50 different provinces (free republic states) with presidents and cabinets. This will result no central government like now. I do not knwo where Girija Babu, Prachanda Babu, Madhab Babu, Sher Babu, Pashupati Babu, Surya Bahadur Babu, Amik Babu, Bijuckche Babu, Rajendar Babu, Hridayash Babu and manu Babus will find their place as Presidents in these 50 provinces of Nepal. I have a worry here, where does our beloved Gyanendra Maharaj will be placed? Will any Babu be generous to adopt Gyanendra Maharaj and show any mercy? May be where Girija Babu and Prachanda Babu are there.
8, 9, 10, 11.......... ......... ......... .....n
Like wise there could be many more new changes taking place in Nepal and this will prove the loveliest slogan " NEW NEPAL" of all so called political parties. At least we all sensible citizen of this country will not have towait very long to see our New Nepal. Lets all wait till 14 April 2008 being deaf, dumb, paralized, very obedient spectators.
Thank you.
With regards,
Devi P. Dahal
Cnt. by nex email posting:
I assume there is no need to mention what I mean by "fierce claws of Nepali politicians" and the "failed government".Using my conscience, education, training, experience, exposure, professional attachments and above all being the constant observer of the activities in the country for the last many years; I have the following prescriptions for all Nepali to rescue the country from prevailing "fierce claws of Nepali politicians" and the "failed government".
1. Fifteen million Nepali should come to the roads, and:
a. Drive out present government (ministers and the major arms of the government);
b. Drive out all the top 5 to 10 leaders of all the political parties;
c. Suspend all donors' support for at least 3 months;
d. Ask all diplomatic missions to keep quiet for 2 months;
e. Allow public and private development activities to continue within the available norms and standards for the time being;
f. Suspend 10 high ranking officials of all military, police, investigation department, and security systems;
g. Suspend the monarchy system and ask the King his family to declare as normal citizen of Nepal in public;
h. Form a Professional 9 member government from among the clean, educated (at least master degree holders), never indulged in corruption & crime, having at least 10 years of work experience in relevant portfolio (e.g. for education minister in training and education, for finance minister in economics and business management etc.). The ratio of female to male should be 60:40 in the government. The members of the government should sign in public for transparency, fair dealing, obeying/strictly following rule of law, work as role models, never indulge in politics, corruption and crime. Further, if there is a criticism from the public will resign immediately and help others to stay away from such things.
i. Declare 3 years' interim period to streamline all socio-economic, political, geo-political, legal, developmental, diplomatic, and system development activities. This interim period will be steered by a "Benevolent Dictatorial Type of Government" with all powers bestowed by the public.
2. The Professional Government will:
a. Revamp the existing policies, plans, rules and regulations to be inclusive, just, simple, and accessible to all. These should be made short and simple for the time being considering all the anomalies and discrepancies.
b. Form five dedicated teams to work on Education system, Economic system, Social system, Political system, Religious system with clear TORs and mandate. Team formation should be done from well designed selection system in a transparent, fair and inclusive manner.
c. Invest in five to ten mega projects to create at lest 50000 jobs each year.
d. Invest 40% of the national budget in employment focused education, vocational education, and skill training.
e. Develop long term & medium plans and systems as well as mechanisms for smooth functioning of political parties, government (judiciary, legislative, and executive arms), donors, diplomatic missions, and visioning Nepal for the next 50 years with national goals and strategies communicated to all the Nepalis.
f. Allow all the political parties, army, police, investigation department, judiciary, NGOs, INGOs, public and private organizations to revamp their current vague, ambiguous, non-transparent, complex, non-inclusive and clumsy rules, regulations, norms and prove to be actual public service oriented within a specified time frame.
g. Allow foreign donors, investors, diplomatic missions and UN agencies to participate in the discussions of national agenda for potential investment and supports to Nepal.
h. Activate Election Commission in all manners to conduct Constituent Assembly election within 2.5 years of the interim government formation.
i. Develop norms and ethics for the next government in an inclusive manner by inviting representatives from the elected members fro constituent assembly.
j. Facilitate, to form an elected government from among the constituent assembly members.
k. Develop handing over taking over strategy and handover the executive power to the elected government.
l. Remain in half power as advisor to the elected government until the New Constitution is passed by the assembly.
This is the only option that we have now if we have to develop Nepal as actual New and prosperous Nepal.
Devi P. Dahal

EC cancels polls programmes

The Election Commission has announced cancellation of all polls programmes scheduled for November on Friday on the request of the government.
In a statement, the EC said as it alone can do nothing at this situation, all programmes for the polls have been suspended for now.
Earlier, the government had asked the EC to cancel the programmes. The meeting of the council of minister held this morning after the seven parties failed to reach consensus on electoral system had decided to request the commission to suspend the programmes.
The commission also held an emergency meeting on Friday morning to discuss the unfolding political situation.
Though the government has asked the EC to suspend the election programmes, no new dates have been fixed.
The poll was suspended after the Maoists stuck to its demand for announcement of republic through interim parliament and proportional representative election system with the Nepali Congress against it. ia Oct 05 07

After waiting for five decades for an election that would empower people to write their own constitution, Nepal's dreams came crashing down yet again as its multi-party government decided to defer the crucial polls a third time to stave off a deadly confrontation with the Maoist guerrillas.
Only a single party in the ruling alliance, the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (UML), struck a note of dissent as Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala and the warring Maoists agreed to freeze all poll preparations and call a special session of parliament where they would make a last-ditch effort to reach an understanding.
After marathon negotiations for nearly a week that failed to break the deadlock between Koirala and the guerrillas, the top parties began yet another meeting Friday for an official announcement to suspend the poll process.
A sitting of the cabinet, which will endorse the proposal and formally ask the Election Commission to suspend the election programme, would follow the meeting.
The decision will affect the much-awaited constituent assembly election scheduled for November 22.
After already being postponed twice, it will now be deferred yet again, probably to April-May, as had been earlier proposed by the Maoists.
The UML's top leaders, however, have condemned the decision, saying it would push Nepal to the brink of an endless crisis.
There is growing speculation that the failure would mean the end of Koirala's leadership. The octogenarian prime minister had vowed to quit if he failed to hold the election in November.
The Koirala government will cut a sorry figure in the international arena. Nepal's major donors, including India, the US and the European Union, had warned the government that it would lose legitimacy if it failed to hold the election on time.
The crisis was triggered by the Maoists, who quit the government last month and began pressing for the immediate abolition of monarchy and adoption of a fully proportional representation system.
Koirala refused to heed either demand, creating a deadlock that put the election in doubt since last month.
It caused the government to appeal to the Election Commission to extend the dates for filing nominations since the Maoists had threatened to prevent the exercise.
The five-day extension given by the commission for filing the first set of nominations ends Friday.
The poll panel's reaction is also being awaited with bated breath. The chief election commissioner, Bhoj Raj Pokhral, had warned the government that it would not reshuffle the poll schedule a second time.
While the parties and the guerrillas are bickering in the capital, eastern Nepal and parts of the Terai plains in the south remain paralysed.
An alliance of six ethnic communities has called an indefinite general strike since Wednesday in a bid to block the constituent assembly election.
The Sanghiya Ganatantrik Rastriya Morcha, that includes Maoist dissenters as well as the splinter of a powerful Terai organisation, has called the protest to press its demand for the abolition of monarchy before the election, the formation of autonomous states for different communities and a fully proportional electoral system.
A dissident former minister and his followers have called a three-day general strike in the Terai plains from Thursday.
Rajendra Mahato, who last week resigned as minister for commerce, industry and supplies, quit the cabinet in a huff after a feud broke out in his Nepal Sadbhavana Party and the Election Commission recognised the dissidents as the bona fide party.
The constituent assembly election seems to be under a curse in Nepal.
Though King Tribhuvan, who ruled in the 50s pledged to hold the election, he never kept his promise and his successors staged coups to seize absolute power.

Nepal polls likely to be postponed

Thursday, 04 October , 2007, 23:05
Kathmandu: The November 22 election in Nepal, regarded as a key step in restoring peace and stability in the strife-torn nation, is likely to be deferred a third time with the multi-party democratic government reaching an agreement on Thursday night with the Maoist guerrillas to put on hold all preparations.
Nepal's official TV station, Nepal Television, said that an informal understanding had been reached between the government and the Maoists to suspend election preparations.
After nearly six-hour negotiations the six ruling parties and the rebels agreed to hold a last-minute dialogue Friday morning, after which it would be clear if the election would be postponed to April-June, as the Maoists had demanded earlier.
The understanding with the Maoists creates a piquant situation.
It enables the Girija Prasad Koirala government to avert a deadly confrontation with the Maoists that was likely to arise Friday - the day for filing the first round of nominations for the November 22 polls and the Maoists had warned they would disrupt the process.
On the other hand, it remains to be seen how Nepal's independent-minded Election Commission would react to the decision since it warned the government this week, after reshuffling dates for filing nominations, that it would not condone further changes.
Nepal's civil society, professional organisations and other parties are also likely to flay the government for its failure to hold elections in time.
However, the Koirala government would lose the support of the international community, which has clearly said that its legitimacy depends on holding the polls on time.
The impasse was created after the Maoists quit the government last month and began pressing for the immediate abolition of monarchy and adoption of a fully proportional representation system.
Koirala refused to heed either demand, creating a deadlock that has been casting dark clouds over the election for the past six days.
While the parties and the guerrillas are engaged in dialogue, eastern Nepal and parts of the Terai plains in the south remain paralysed.
An alliance of six ethnic communities has called for an indefinite general strike since Wednesday in a bid to block the constituent assembly election.
The Sanghiya Ganatantrik Rastriya Morcha, that includes Maoist dissenters and a faction of a powerful Terai organisation, has called the protest to press its demand for the abolition of monarchy before the election, the formation of autonomous states for different communities and a fully proportional electoral system.
Besides, a three-day general strike has been called in the Terai plains from Thursday by a dissident former minister and his followers.
Rajendra Mahato, who last week resigned as minister for commerce, industry and supplies, quit the cabinet in a huff after a feud broke out in his Nepal Sadbhavana Party and the Election Commission recognised the dissidents as the bona fide party.
Mahato has moved court over the verdict and vowed to disrupt the election, saying the government was biased against people from the plains and would not hold free and fair elections.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Nepal Becoming Lawless State

By Mohan Nepali, Kathmandu

The feudalist and status-quoist forces of Nepal have brought the country into a political and moral dilemma. When a criminal armed group under a political veil massacred 30 unarmed civilians in a leisurely manner in Rautahat district on March 20 this year, the Nepal government could not prove its existence. The cold-blooded massacre took place before the eyes of the district administration of the Nepal government. When the victims’ family members reported to police with the name list of locally identified list of criminals, the Rautahat district administration refused to receive the information report. This only proved how the Nepal government has been manipulated by other forces.

Nepal’s borders have been openly encroached by the Indian side. The local Nepalis living at Indo-Nepal border areas usually complain against how Indian robbers and criminals enter Nepal every day and loot and kill the Nepalis. Yet the Nepal government has neither listened to their problems nor has taken any necessary measures to make its citizens feel secure and sovereign. On the one hand, the Indian security forces have been deployed at Indo-Nepal borders and on the other hand the Nepali security forces have always been misused only for vested political interests. Especially, the current Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala is a power-hungry man who never respects people’s genuine voices. All he does is family politics. He is making all possible efforts to prepare his own daughter Sujata Koirala, his son Shekhar Koirala, his niece Sailaja Acharya, his nephew Mahesh Acharya and a few other hardline loyalists as his successors. Koirala does not seem to have thought about his politics beyond family framework. This is the complaint of the Nepali Congress Party workers and supporters who refuse to follow the hereditary rule within their party. They say the Koirala family is in close collaboration with the king and his political forces in order to discourage any transformative affairs. This is the main reason why the Nepali Congress leadership always stands against the implementation of any good declaration that is in favor of the majority of people.

Analysts strongly argue that Nepal’s political patterns will never change so long as the main status-quoist forces such as the Nepali Congress, the Nepali Congress (Democratic) and the United Marxists-Leninists (UML) remain in the mainstream of Nepal’s national politics. Ordinary farmers and workers refuse to believe that these party leaderships can contribute to positive changes in the country. Hari Lal Maharjan of Kirtipur (Kathmandu), a farmer likes to see a new leadership in Nepal’s national politics. “I’m already annoyed to the last extent by these political parties. They neither did well in the past while in power nor are doing well,” Maharjan says. He further says, “These previously ruling parties have not to this day changed their bad habits. I don’t believe they can do any better now.” A similar view was expressed by another farmer Jit Lal Maharjan. He is not very hopeful of any remarkable change in the work of the parties. “We never get fertilizers on time,” Jit Lal says. “If ruling parties are busy only about their power and cannot do small things for us, how can they do big things,” he questions.

As to how successful the current mainstream political parties are, Nim Ratna Dangol, a worker in a local clothing store in the historical city Patan, believes that if new and honest leadership runs Nepal, the country can rapidly advance. He says, “The present parties have already proved they are corrupt and cannot sacrifice for people. New leadership in Nepal is compulsory.” But he could not state if there is any particular new leadership likely to replace the existing one. He only said that the leadership of his vision would be honest and sacrificing for people.

While ordinary Nepalis have been expressing mistrust in the parties, they are trumpeting the elections of the Constituent Assembly, with king and his men in all state mechanisms. The only difference between 14 months ago and today is that the king is not directly ruling. But he, as a de facto ruler, has not ceased to rule Nepal.
They mystery why the king is still a de facto ruler of Nepal can be unfolded if one goes into the historical background of Nepal’s politics. Moreover, the study of the 14 months’ phenomena after the king retreated from the direct rule would facilitate one’s understanding about why the king is still in the heads of status-quoist political parties of Nepal.

There are many concrete evidences that the Seven Party Alliance (SPA), now in the government in which Maoist insurgents remain as a separate opposition force (a surprising political exercise in the world), did make a secret compromise to preserve the monarchy of Nepal. While the April uprising in 2006 was about to abolish monarchy from the streets, the SPA quickly reached a compromise with the king. The consequence of this was the reinstitution of the House of Representatives dissolved by the elected Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba in 2001. It has now been proved by their anti-people activities. For example, the Nepal government has not taken action against those pointed out by the Rayamajhi Investigating Commission report. Almost all of the military generals blacklisted by the Commission report have now been promoted. Almost all the police officials involved in human rights violations have also been promoted. All the king’s secretaries have been maintained. About five thousand soldiers are with king. They are his pocket guards.

Moreover, king’s illegal properties have not been seized despite the order given by the parliament 14 months ago. Chief District Officers in all the 75 districts belong to royal ideology. They run district administration so as to facilitate a suitable atmosphere for the return of royal politics.

The king of Nepal still owns a huge area of land worth billions. He has never touched soil nor has touched a farmer’s tool. But he owns an unlimited amount of land while the homeless of Nepal have not been heard at all. He is believed to have hidden billions of dollars in Swiss Bank, Standard Chartered Bank and City Bank. He owns dozens of tax-evading companies. The Nepal government has not been able to search for his illegal properties so as to nationalize them. But the Nepal government has shown a piece of drama by propagandizing the nationalization of seven palaces where the king’s family members do not live. Those palaces have never been king’s private properties. While the Nepal government has protected king’s illegal properties worth billions, it has preferred to linger in power by propagandizing the nationalization of palaces.

In the Nepal Army, all the generals are hardline monarchists though they falsely claim that they respect democracy and the Nepal government. The interpersonal communication of these generals proves how hard they have been working to protect feudal monarchy in Nepal. The Nepal government is foolishly talking of holding the constituent assembly elections with these monarchist generals as security chiefs. In Nepal’s districts like Kapilvastu, Nawalparasi, Sarlahai, Siraha, Saptari, Parsa, Bara, Banke, Surkhet and Dailekh, armed contras trained and financed by monarchist forces are still in existence. They are doubted to have hidden American M-16s for revenge against Maoists.

People have begun to believe that the current Nepal government has sold out the Terai region of the country. This doubt has been exposed by the local inhabitants of the Terai region because the Jantantrik Terai Mukti Morcha (JTMM) headed by an ex-land broker Nagendra Paswan (who calls himself Jwala Singh meaning ‘fire flames’) has time again invited the Nepal government to come with the Nepal Army to fight his force and has begun a bloody communal campaign to kill and chase all the people of other races living and working in the Terai region. He has clearly declared that only the people of Indian origin are allowed to live in the region. In an interview with the Nayapatrika daily published on 26 August 2007, he has clearly stated that his armed group would not allow any mechanisms of the Nepal government to function in the Terai region. But the Nepal government has not responded in the capacity of a sovereign government. This proves that the present government is not people’s government. It is serving some other interests.

The sooner this government is replaced by a new and transformative leadership, the better for Nepal. Those who can dare to proclaim the republic and the abolition of feudal monarchy will be wholeheartedly supported by the people. Any uncorrupt political forces that can practically begin political, socio-economic and religious-cultural transformation can be the new leaderships going to replace the current anti-change government.


Wednesday, October 3, 2007

PM summons House to end political crisis

Published: Wednesday, 3 October, 2007, 02:46 AM Doha Time

KATHMANDU: Instead of the election in November, Nepal’s King Gyanendra’s fate could be sealed by next week with Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala yesterday deciding to summon a special session of parliament.
The decision was made after Koirala met Speaker Subhash Chandra Nembang to discuss a way to resolve the continuing political deadlock and the spectre of fresh violence with a Maoist ultimatum expiring on Friday.
The meeting took place after the Maoists, who quit the government last month, warned Koirala on Sunday that they would start new protests to disrupt the November election if he failed to agree to their demands about the polls.
The guerrillas, who had waged an uprising since 1996 to overthrow the monarchy, now want the government to abolish the crown immediately without waiting for the election.
They also want the government to have a fully proportional representation system for the November 22 election instead of a mixed system.With Koirala refusing to heed either demand, the rebels last week began a double-pronged attack, taking their fight to parliament.
On Friday, they gathered the support of two more fringe communist parties and asked the premier to call a special session of parliament.Nepal’s new constitution has a provision that allows parliament to decide the king’s fate.
If the house feels that King Gyanendra is trying to sabotage the November election or is involved in any other anti-national activity, it can put the 238-year institution of monarchy to vote.
Should two-thirds of the MPs agree to scrap the crown, the king would become a commoner even before the general election.Koirala has been resisting the Maoist proposal to let the house decide the royal family’s future on the ground that it would not be acceptable to the international community, who want the decision to be left to the people and the November election.
After the Maoists and their allies called for a special session of the house in a bid to force his hand, Koirala, according to the constitution, has to do their bidding within 15 days, by October 13.
However, the prime minister and the speaker could not immediately agree on the date when the session would be convened since several MPs are currently out of the capital, touring their constituencies for the election.Koirala’s move comes a day after he took umbrage at the king attending a religious festival and ordering that the number of security guards for the monarch be reduced by half.
With the new constitution taking away all the king’s public roles and giving them to the prime minister, Koirala on Sunday attended a traditional Hindu festival that for 250 years had been attended by Nepal’s kings.
Though King Gyanendra let Koirala take his place, he however made a low-key visit to the site to receive the blessings of Living Goddess Kumari, which is believed to be essential for the safety of the royal family.
However, Koirala is regarding the visit as a challenge to his own authority and in a fit of anger asked army chief Gen Rukmangud Katuwal to halve the number of soldiers deployed in the Narayanhity palace. – IANS

Nepal backs India's Security Council bid

Nepal backs India's Security Council bid
Posted on : 2007-10-03 Author : IANS
News Category : Asia

Kathmandu, Oct 3 - Marking a diplomatic gain for India, Nepal's new multiparty government has said it would support its southern neighbour's bid for a permanent berth in the UN Security Council -- a year after the then royal government had rebuffed the request.

Nepal's Foreign Affairs Minister Sahana Pradhan, who is attending the ongoing 62nd UN General Assembly in New York, Tuesday said her government was supporting bids by India and Japan to become Security Council members with veto power.

Pradhan also said that Nepal would like to see Germany, Brazil and an African nation represented in the council.

The 15-member body currently has five permanent members with veto power: Britain, France, Russia, China and the US.

While the US is opposed to India's bid, Britain and Russia are supporting it. China has said it has no objections.

Nepal's vote comes as a tangible diplomatic gain for India that had disapproved of King Gyanendra's coup and supported the political parties that launched a pro-democracy movement to end the royal regime.

During the king's 15-month rule, India had sent only one emissary for diplomatic negotiations while all other meetings and projects were put on hold.

However, the royal government snubbed then Indian minister of state for external affairs Rao Inderjit Singh, saying it would support Japan and Brazil, but would put its closest neighbour's request 'under consideration'.

When a public uprising forced the king to quit and the opposition parties came to power, Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala chose to make New Delhi his first port of call abroad. Manmohan Singh gave Koirala an unprecedented welcome by going to the airport to receive him.

Currently, along with other major donors, India has been urging the Koirala government to hold elections in November as per schedule and has offered to help in any way it can.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

A Maoist, worth watching!

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Monday, October 1, 2007

situation in Nepal poor ahead of polls'

Kathmandu, Sept. 30 (PTI): A top parliamentary panel tasked to review the security situation in Nepal ahead of the November 22 polls today expressed concern at the prevailing law and order situation, terming it "poor" and inadequate for the successful conduct of the landmark democratic exercise.
The interim parliament's Constituent Assembly Elections Management and Monitoring Special Committee (CAEMMSC) today advised the government to increase the deployment of Nepal Police and the Armed Police Force throughout the country as the security situation was poor in the district for the elections.
The monitoring panel's report stated that the politicians were afraid to conduct their political activities outside the district headquarters due to the frail security situation in the country.
Stating that the law and order remains the main challenge ahead of the elections, the report has urged the government to pay special attention to control cross-border criminal activities in the districts in the Terai plains bordering India.
Separate parliamentary panels had recently assessed the security situation in the country. After compiling the findings of the parliamentary teams, the special House committee chaired by Speaker Subash Nemwang held a meeting today to release its report.
The special parliamentary team led by the chief whips of the ruling parties have been monitoring the security situation in all the five regions of the country.
The parliamentary special committee had dispatched special teams to acquire first hand information about the security situation amidst widespread concern about the frail security situation ahead of the landmark elections to form a body to frame a constitution and decide the fate of the 238-year old monarchy, the Kantipur online reported today.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Nepal's Fragile Peace Process

Nepal's Fragile Peace Process
Asia Briefing N°68 28 septembre 2007

A Maoist walk-out from government on 18 September 2007 and mainstream political parties’ intransigence are threatening elections for Nepal’s Constituent Assembly (CA) scheduled for 22 November. Although a compromise to bring the Maoists back on board is possible, the heightened tensions add to longstanding problems including weak political will, poor governance and security, and continued claims for representation by marginalised groups. The Maoists could contest elections from outside government but polls without their participation would be meaningless, and they retain the capacity to make the country ungovernable if they oppose the process. Critical elements of the 2006 peace deal, such as security sector reform, remain to be tackled, while implementation and monitoring of past agreements have been minimal. Primary responsibility for steering the process lies with the mainstream parties, which need to demonstrate coherence, commitment and a will to reform their own behaviour if lasting peace is to be established.
Parties have started emphasising the importance of the election, and increased signs of commitment from most have added momentum to a process which had been suffering from dangerous drift. At the same time, the formerly confident Maoists have shown increasing nervousness at facing the electorate. Maintaining a sense of purpose, especially through nationwide campaigning, will increase public confidence and leave less room for spoilers to manoeuvre. Opponents of the process, especially royalists alarmed at the growing republican consensus, are desperate to derail it but have a chance only if the major parties are weak and divided.
Several armed groups have vowed to disrupt the election; mid-September communal violence following the killing of a former vigilante leader left around two dozen dead and illustrated how easily a fragile situation can tilt into dangerous unrest. More serious violence is a real risk. An election postponement will only reduce such dangers if major parties agree on urgent, substantive steps to address the grievances and governance failings that have fostered recent unrest. Failing this, further delays will only make solutions harder to find and invite unhelpful recrimination and finger-pointing.
The November 2006 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was never as comprehensive as its name implied, and it has been undermined by limited implementation and monitoring. Maoist discontent is partly a result of exaggerated expectations but has been exacerbated by the lack of effort on all sides to build genuine eight-party consensus and fulfil all parts of the peace deal. The mutual confidence that enabled the agreement to be reached had to increase to ensure its implementation; instead it has decreased in many areas, with parties unwilling to recognise their shared responsibilities to make it work. The ball is in the government’s court, with the mainstream parties needing to address reasonable Maoist concerns, hold firm to democratic principles and take sensible steps to engage CA opponents.

The government and its constituent parties should:

sustain efforts to bring the Maoists back on board;
start nationwide electoral campaigning, on a party basis but also emphasising a common agenda of peace and constitutional change, recognising unambiguously that an elected assembly, not the appointed body some politicians have quietly sought, is the only way to guarantee the process’ legitimacy;
create a secure environment for free and fair polls by reaching cross-party consensus on security plans, engaging groups opposed to the polls in dialogue, and discussing the functioning of post-poll government and the CA, including how to guarantee roles for all stakeholders;
develop mutually agreed mechanisms to implement the CPA and monitor parties’ fulfilment of their commitments;
take on security sector reform, with both short-term measures to boost local accountability and trust in the police and by moving forward discussion of longer-term plans, including the future of the national and Maoist armies;
deal sensibly with Maoist fighters in cantonments, resolving disputes over allowances and facilities and building on cooperation in these areas and the now resumed combatant verification process; and
tackle impunity (for example, acting on disappearances while starting a genuine consultation on broader transitional justice issues) and restore trust in the judiciary (including by the Maoists stopping parallel people’s courts), and in institutions such as National Human Rights Commission.

The international community should:

support the peace process and the elections, including by giving practical help through monitors and reminding all political actors, especially the Maoists, that obstructing progress will cost them international legitimacy;
offer development assistance only in accordance with the spirit of the CPA, which includes recognising the Maoists’ party, the CPN(M), as a legitimate political actor (and part of the government, should it rejoin) and engaging it in donor programs, including in security sector reform and political training; and
without raising expectations that it can resolve domestic political difficulties, be prepared to offer good offices to facilitate consensus if requested by the parties.
Kathmandu/Brussels, 28 September 2007 source: International Crisis Group

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