Monday, November 15, 2010

Parliamentarians Raped the Interim Constitution of Nepal

A committee of legislative parliament of Nepal named as "Committee on Natural Resources and Means-CNRM" has forwarded a complaint against Supreme Court Justice Hon. Grish Chandra Lal to the Parliamentary Hearing Special Committee-PHSC, Legislative Parliament of Nepal against its mandate and constitutional provision.

At present Hon. Justice Lal is a temporary Justice at Supreme Court of Nepal. The Judicial Council of Nepal has recommended him for the post of permanent Justice at SC on November 2, 2010, respecting and appreciating his continuous and long efficient, visionary, constructive, productive and highly professional performances. His worked has been proved mile stone and historic for rule of law and to establish good governance in the nation. He is very active, updated and rationally neutral personality.

Even though, the CNRM filed a communally biased complaint saying to PHSC not to approve the appointment of Madhesi justice Lal. The CNRM has accused Lal of issuing a faulty and ill-intentioned verdict in on several cases of Rhino poaching when he was serving as Chief Justice at the Hetauda Appellate Court. However, there are no proofs, study, or investigations included or presented or described to support the logics of CNRM. One of the most important thing is the said case is still under consideration at Supreme Court of Nepal, so constitutionally no one person or authority are allowed to comment on such " Sub Judice" case that can influence the judicial process of Nepal.

The Bar Association (national level professional organization of lawyers) in Hetuada, Judicial Council and even Supreme Court have been very clear after long and detail formal-informal investigations that there were no any ill intention verdicts issued by Hon' Justice Lal. He has done in accordance with the constitutional provision, practice, and principle and existing laws of Nepal. They are well satisfied, sources said that the decision was totally based on presented proofs, claims and others rational statement and related aspects of the case. Sources added the Justice Lal is very ethical, highly professional and more than capable to be a permanent justice of Supreme Court of Nepal. He is an exemplary judge and always remained sources of inspirations for mass population inside and outside the judiciary.

The Bar association has concluded the complaint of CNRM as constitutional violation; impunity and ill-intentioned complain that is totally baseless, illegal, sponsored and fabricated. Judicial experts consider the unfortunate action of CNRM as a constitutional rape. According to the Interim Constitution of Nepal, 2063(2007) article (60) Restriction on discussion: (1) No discussion shall be held in the House on any matter which is sub judice in any court of Nepal and on any judicial act done by a Judge in the course of performance of his or her judicial duties. But the CNRM did the acts against the constitutional provision. So experts said it is unfortunate and condemnable that constitution makers abused the constitutional provision. The CNRM has neither constitutionally nor legally any rights or mandate of such stochastic and irresponsible quetch.

Hon. Justice Lal belongs to a group of Madhesi community, which has been under exclusion, suppression, exploitation and marginalization since decades. There are several ongoing political conflicts and ongoing insurgency against the state of exclusion. Though, some of the anti-madhesi forces want to bar him to be a permanent judge at Supreme Court, besides it is almost impossible due to the excising to provision of Law. The whole madhesi community seems angry and feeling a kind of communal insult because of the false produced story against Hon. Justice Lal. All most all madhesi members of PHSC are mentally prepared to support Hon Lal without any reservation. The madhesi members of the committee will also take all necessary action if any anti-madhesi forces try to raise unconstitutional, illegal and unethical issue that bar the madhesi representative to be a part of supreme court. The leaders of Nepalese political parties including U-Maoist, Nepali Congress, UML, Madhesi Forums, Sadbhawana, Tamolopa, and others have fully assured to nullify such unconstitutional, illegal and ill-indented complain and there will not be any difficulty in PHSC committee against Hon Lal. They have also assured that such types of unfortunate action will not repeat by any parliamentarian in future too. They have expressed sadness and strongly condemned the sponsored and corrupt complain against Hon. Lal.

Source: http://www.opednews.com/articles/Parliamentarians-Raped-the-by-Krishna-Hari-Pushk-101114-683.html

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Protecting the Powerless

It is a great pride for us to know that Maiti Nepal founder Ms Anuradha Koirala: Protecting the Powerless has made it to the list of top 10 CNN heroes. She has been working in rescuing and rehabilitating the trafficked girls and women. She and her organization are globally very popular for their outstanding contributions to fighting against human trafficking. CNN, the reputed US-based international news channel, has been choosing people whose selfless contributions have brought about tremendous changes in the lives of poor and helpless people across the globe as its heroes for the past four years. On November 25, CNN will announce the winner of CNN hero from among the top 10 nominees on the basis of online voting. Therefore, I humbly appeal and request all of you to vote online as quick as possible in favor of her. She is really great!

You may go through the given link:

http://edition.cnn.com/SPECIALS/cnn.heroes/archive10/anuradha.koirala.html

Once you open the page you will see in right side of her picture there is link in Red Color: Vote Now, afterward please follow the steps and go till you click VOTE with asked security code.

Alternatively, you may open:

http://heroes.cnn.com/vote.aspx

After opening the page you will see her picture in forth from left side and second from right side, once you click in her picture, you will see at last her picture as your selection, afterward please put the displayed number and click VOTE.

I would highly appreciate if you could forward the email at least ten people who are your good friends.

I hope you will certainly vote for her.

I thank you in advance.


Sincerely,

Krishna Hari Pushkar

Under Secretary, Government of Nepal

Monday, August 2, 2010

Weak State: Foreigners Disobeying the Laws of Nepal

(With special reference to Labour and Immigration Laws of Nepal)

By Krishna Hari Pushkar

In every country in the world, foreigners are required to have an employment permit from the respective government. If they do not consequences, such as immediate repatriation along with huge fines and imprisonments and even long term restriction in entry to the country can be implemented. In most of the country, the work permit is regulated by the joint mechanisms of the Labour Department and the Immigration System or something similar. Of course, the police is part of that, and a law enforcement agency can take immediate action if they find any foreigner working without obtaining the necessary labour/ employment permissions from respective authorities.

Nepal is a peculiar country in the world where massive numbers of foreigners have been working without obtaining necessary employment permit and appropriate visas. It is not limited to the private sector, but also in government-owned and popular multinational companies which have huge numbers of foreign employees against the provisions of Labour Law and the Immigration Law of Nepal. Massively, tourist visas and "not right visa" holders have found being employed by various government and nongovernmental sectors including hotels, restaurants, construction, and telecommunication, hydropower, banking areas and other systems of Nepal.

According to Labour Act, 2048 (1992) and Labour Rules, 2050 (1993), if a Nepalese citizen could not be available for any skilled technical post even after publishing an advertisement in a national-level public newspaper and journal, the manager may submit an application to the Department of Labour along with the evidence of such fact for approval to appoint a non-Nepalese citizen. If it is found, in conduction of an inquiry upon the submission of any application pursuant, that a Nepalese citizen would not be available for the skilled technical post mentioned in the application, the Department of Labour may, on the recommendation of the Labour Office, grant approval to engage a non-Nepalese citizen at work for a maximum period of up to five years not to exceed two years at a time and, in the specialized kind of skilled technical post, for a period of up to seven years. The manager who engages non-Nepalese citizens shall have to make arrangements for making the Nepalese citizens skilled and for replacing the non-Nepalese citizens gradually by them."

There is no concrete statistics on how many foreigners are working and being employed against the provisions of the Labour Law and Immigration Law of Nepal. It is estimated that more than fifty thousand foreigners are working and living illegally in Nepal without obtaining appropriate visa and permission from the Department of Labour. The Labour Law is equally applicable to all those foreigners who work in any factory, company, organization, association, firm, or group thereof, established under the prevailing laws for the purpose of operating any industry, profession or service where ten or more workers or employees are engaged ( Labour Act, 2048). But who cares?

Unfortunately the state is under transition and suffering with the dilemmas of a conflict /post conflict situation where everything is fragile. The state is not currently capable to regulate with impunity the foreigners and its employers.

There are rare histories and stories where Immigration, Police or Labour Departments' authorities have tried to regulate or monitor the issue. It should be the matter of concern for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs too, but no efforts have been found against such impunity of foreigners. Many times the media has reported that international criminals and smugglers have been using the territory of Nepal as their safe home since no productive regulation, monitoring, observation and surveillances are being used to manage the presence and activity of foreigners.

Unfortunately, in the port of entry or in diplomatic missions of Nepal, we issue visas to almost all foreigners without analyzing and assessing the applications and their backgrounds in most cases. Very often we do not verify the negative list that comes from the international or national security surveillances or intelligence system. In practice, we just issue tourist visas to all foreigners who seek to enter Nepal, no matter what their purposes are, and how long, and where and how they want to stay.

In most developed countries of the world, labour or employment permits are being obtained either by the employer or by the potential employee in advance as a precondition before applying for employment/work visa. And in some of the countries, the selected foreign employee gets a short term non-tourist visa in the port of entry or can obtain it from a respective diplomatic mission after furnishing all necessary documents. Afterward the visa gets extended after arrival once the employees or respective employers fulfill all terms and conditions and obtain employment permits and approval from the department of labour or similar authorities. In most of the countries immigration authority issues, like a renewal resident e-card, contains the information detailing the status of the particular foreigners, so they do not have to carry the passport and visa all the time.

In Nepal, there is pitiable coordinating among the respective authorities on the issue. The Labour Department, Immigration Department and other sectorial department and ministries rarely share and coordinate the information, or even use joint efforts to address the issues of disobeying and impunity of foreigners that would compel them to respect and follow the laws of Nepal.

The national security mechanism, including the Chief District Officer, Nepal Police, and National Investigation Department are also among accountable authorities to control and manage the unlawful acts and presence of foreigners, but these are not effective and never come into action against the foreigners till they commit serious crimes or are involved in aggressive public demonstrations, activities and issues of public interest that affect the public and nation on a massive level.

It is neither the employer nor the foreign employees in Nepal themselves who are serious about Immigration and the Labour Law of Nepal. Some of them don't even know about the laws. Additionally, there is also corruption, manipulation and irregularities that exist in the system that empower and gives courage to foreign employees and their employers in Nepal to ignore the spirit and provisions of the law.

Also, the law is itself faulty in a sense of clearness and procedural aspects. These laws can be easily manipulated, defined and executed in accordance with the discretion of authorities. The respective law enforcement authorities cannot execute it properly because of lack of resources, trained human resources, ICT, and scientific service delivery culture. So, the government should immediately address the problems and difficulties by arranging joint efforts for betterment, effectiveness and efficiency of these laws and the concerned authority.

Some immediate actions are essential; first, the government should instantly issue a public notice describing the provisions in terms of appropriate visa and labour/employment permissions along with times detailed. Secondly, a joint operation team can be formed containing the representation from necessary law enforcement authorities that need a massive operation in various sectors and geographical areas of Nepal especially in potential sectors and areas where foreigners are illegally and irregularly employed. Indeed, the Department of Immigration and Department of Labour should start regular and strategic inspections and monitor work to check and control illegal and irregular activities and the presence of foreigners. The employment/labour permits should be made mandatory before-hand to issue or extend visas for a particular period. By Law, both employees and employers should be made equally responsible for the labour/employment/permit and appropriate visas.

Furthermore, the Department of Immigration, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Department of Labour must share the detailed information on the presence and job activities of foreigners who are employed or seeking to get employment in Nepal. At the end of the every year, the Department of Immigration and Labour should produce a yearly report describing in detail the employers who have recruited foreigners and also about the foreign employees themselves, their work detail and how long they are in Nepal under the definition of employment.

The horrible trend should be controlled immediately; otherwise it will be a threat on governance systems, the socio-economic situation, national security, sovereignty, and the financial system. Therefore, the government should immediately get rid of any disobeyers of the law. However, in the long-term, the Government of Nepal needs to form a team or commission of experts to review, revise, restructure and improve the overall system of Immigration and Employment Management of foreigners in Nepal.

Mr. Krishna Hari Pushkar writes about social issues, security and conflict management, often in relation to Nepal. An Under Secretary of Government in Nepal, he is well honored as a Peace, Security and Conflict Management Professional, who contributes regularly to national and international nongovernmental organizations as a peace and conflict management expert.

Source: http://newsblaze.com/story/20100801122441abha.nb/topstory.html

Sunday, July 11, 2010

UNMIN's Reintegration Plan is Under Fire in Nepal

Krishna Hari Pushkar

The United Nation Mission in Nepal (UNMIN)'s has imported and now introduced a sixty weeks reintegration plan for ex-Maoist Combatants in Nepal. It has come in a crucial strategic period and political transition period of Nepal. The UNMIN is being accused that it has been working against its mandate and favoring particular political powers and ideologies. Often, UNMIN tries to intervene in domestic political affairs, which crosses its limitation. In the past, the chief of UNMIN was about to be declared Persona non grata. Today, Nepal has just a caretaker government and is suffering from political limbo. As many of us know, the ongoing political escapades in Nepal are not favorable for an effective and successful implementation of a comprehensive peace process and related plans.

The "Reintegration Plan" of the UNMIN has come as a nasty surprise for domestic peace stakeholders, because the plan was supposed to come after political consensus and proper homework - respecting the aspirations and needs of the nation. It did not, however, come in the right time, right manner, right way and by the right authority. It is nothing special, just a way to please donors in the community; to allow the UN General Secretary to be safe; and to sustain both his job and the life of UNMIN in Nepal. It is an open secret to all that the ill-fated plan cannot work for reintegration.


Naturally, the plan has come under serious dispute and has been straightforwardly rejected by the head of the Government and its coalition parties, which should be regarded as a major fault of the plan. On the one hand, the Prime Minister Mr. Nepal has already threatened UNMIN against its so-called reintegration plan and on the other hand the Maoist has also expressed its strategic discrepancy by developing its own party's reintegration plan. On the other side, the ex Maoist combatants and other stakeholders including civil societies, private communities and general citizens are also not happy with the plan. Its simple--no one is happy except the employees and allies of UNMIN.

There are lots of problems with the plan. First, it sounds like its prepared in an academic manner, ignoring the sensitivity of local socioeconomic and political scenario. It seems the plan is designed and developed by those experts who are aware about the literature and story but not about the facts, local context and relevant contents of Nepal.

Secondly, it has no participatory planning characters that are must for any reintegration plan. Third, it has neither sustainability measures about the plan nor is it owned by government or the particular authority e.g. state/executive or parliamentary committees, civil society, local government or any authorities that are directly supported and authorized by the government. It is because the government is the only authority who has ultimate and final accountability to manage and deal with pre to post phases of reintegration and to entire processes with its citizens. It is not just a matter of peace and politics--it has to do with national and internal laws too. Furthermore, it is also true that the UNMIN has not worked properly in profiling and opportunity mapping areas that are a must for any successful reintegration plan. Thus, the locals in Nepal consider the aired reintegration plan as an authoritative/interventional course of action.

In my observation, UNMIN and respective outsiders should pay more attention and need to be careful about its given mandate and legitimized role. They should understand "reintegration" is not like distributing food packets or organizing seminar projects. The reintegration is related to the past and the long term future of the nation’s people, as well as its peace, polity, and governance related affairs.

It has broader areas and scope, which has a lot to do with political consensus and agreements. So, they must attempt to work on a pre-policy impact assessment approach and must use the conflict sensitivity analysis while working on such crucial plans, policies, programs and projects in such a conflict-affected fragile country like Nepal, which is a among the poorest countries of the world. It is on the one hand a post-conflict nation and on the other hand it has severe ongoing arm ethno-regional-political insurgencies in various parts of Nepal. The reintegration plan has direct relations and links with other ongoing insurgency groups and its insurgents' arm group, so it need be clarified before to introduce such policy and plan. Though, UNMIN has not yet presented any strategy to address the issue in their so called advertised disabled reintegration plan, which is unfortunate one. UNMIN must know that any reintegration plan should not undermine the contemporary sociopolitical situation or the sustainability of its long term management while introducing the reintegration plan.



Sadly, the UNMIN has failed to recognize even the existing and potential actors of reintegration. The UNMIN deliberately failed to consider the importance of, or to coordinate with the various stakeholders in different layers. Therefore, the UNMIN must correct its roles and activities regarding the reintegration of ex combatants in Nepal, otherwise, such plans could add more political tension and confusion over the peace process in an upcoming day in Nepal. The poorly designed reintegration plan may push the nation into further conflict and political polarization. It could stymie the entire ongoing peace process. Of course it would be vexing to bring the peace process into its logical end.

Any plan from the UNMIN that may assist the mismanagement of ex combatants and their future should not come into the nation. The UNMIN has no rights or authority to play with the future of the nation and its citizens. The time will come soon where the state will get stronger, and will be compelled to take action against the UNMIN--and declare their officials Persona non gratae, if they continue such activities in the upcoming days.

Source

Government in Nepal: Consensual Vs Majority Party?

By Krishna Hari Pushkar

The Nepal peace process is in Limbo. On the one hand the resignation of Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal has been accepted by President Ram Baran Yadav on Wednesday 30 June.

I am not sure if it is just a part of the agreement dated May 28 where Nepal's major three parties had arrived at a Three Point Agreement: (1) To bring a logical end to the peace process and accomplish the historical goal of drafting the New Constitution, we hereby commit ourselves to accomplish our duties in consensus and unity. (2) We agree to extend the tenure of the current Constituent Assembly by a one year period to accomplish the remaining tasks of drafting the constitution. (3) To accomplish the above-mentioned jobs and responsibilities we agree to form a National Unity government in consensus and assure that the prime minister of the current coalition government is ready to tender his resignation prior to extending the Constituent Assembly tenure by 12 more months.

Most of the nonpoliticians are agreed that the resignation was a necessary part of the internal pressures where the CPM - UML party and its leaders had put huge pressures on primeminister Mr. Nepal to resign immediately--he was also facing open humiliation from his own political kith and kin. Of course, there were huge pressures from the Maoist Party too but it was not as effective since he did not even resign while the Maoists called general strikes and with many other stronger democratic and non democratic pressures (including the halt of the protest in the parliament, etc). It is very sad to illustrate that the Mr. Nepal-led coalition government was under trouble all the time due to the opposition of the Maoists, so the Government was unable to perform their routine duties and responsibilities properly. Besides there have been little but productive achievements in the ongoing peace process of Nepal in work related to DDR.

The constitution building process could have been completed in due time but it did not happen due to the noncooperation of the Maoist's and their continuous massive opposition and protests.

Honestly, the Maoists party did not even recognize the Mr. Nepal-led government, so they did not want to be cooperative in any level or with anything having to do with the Government (besides the frequent asking of the quick resignation of Mr. Nepal). The most important issue was that the Mr. Nepal-led government was constituted in support of 24 parties of Nepal, and apx 22 were supported until last. The PM suntil has tge majority in the parliament but he had to resign anyway. This may be considered one of the most destructive demerits of the transitional democratic practices.

Indeed, the letter and spirit of the Interim Constitution of Nepal and the Comprehensive Peace Accord of Nepal encourages the multi-party consensual government.

The Interim Constitution and the Comprehensive Peace Accord of Nepal stress that the national consensual government is a precondition to bring about the ongoing peace process to a logical end and to complete the constitution building process in due time. However, very few of the political parties are actually serious about either of these issues.

They have started to practice an approach which has become deeply unfortunate for Nepal. Now there is a race between the parties who all want to lead the work under their own primeministership (which is not feasible at any cost because the country has only a one prime minister constitutional system). In order for the work to be don, Nepal would need at least 24 prime ministers--otherwise they will not be able to come to a consensus!

Because of the forced resignation of the Mr. Nepal-led multiparty government, there is now chaos and several disturbing confrontations to decide who will be the next prime minister of Nepal.

There are three major parties that will most likely play a crucial role to decide upon the upcoming government. The biggest one is the Maoist party; they have two candidates for Prime Minister (Mr. Pusp Kamal Dahal and Dr. Baburam Bhattrai), however there seems to be no common consensus or actual support of these particular candidates.

Similarly, the Nepalese Congressional parties have two major candidates (Mr. Sher Bahadur Deuwa and Ram Chandra Poudel) but they also have a similar situation to the Maoist candidates.

The next candidate in line is CPN-UML, whose Prime Minister Mr. Nepal was just forced to resign, and now the president Mr. Jhalnath Khanal wants to claim this primeministership--but his candidacy is not accepted by either internal and external powers.

Also, a small party Madhesi Janadhikar Forum Loktantrik, whose president Mr. Gachhedar, is also raising strong voices for his candidacy in primeministership.

India, China, and America have an especially strong influence and strategic power in terms of constituting this new government, so it won't enough to get just domestic support, but particular parties and candidates will also seek strong support from the above-mentioned international community.

In preliminary observation, there is a little hope for the Maoist leader Dr. Baburam Bhattrai, because in order to win, he must gain anonymous support from its party, which is not an easy job because his party's president Mr. Prachand has a strong grip in his party's central to local command. On the other hand his party president has already announced his own official candidacy for primeministership.

According to the media reports and informal sources both Mr. Bhattrai and Mr. Prachanda do not have a harmonious relationship with each other and also have been found to differ in working and understanding the policies of Maoism. There is a serious rivalry that has existed for a long time between both candidates. Secondly, other parties won't support any Maoist leader for primeministership until they complete their previous commitments and agreements regarding reintegration of ex Maoist combatants, dissolution of the Young Communist League, free and fair return of seized and captured public and private properties to their original owners, honest and unconditionally obeying the comprehensive peace agreements and its related policies and practices. These have emerged as the biggest challenges facing the Maoist leader.

Concerning Prachanda, he also has similar difficulties like Bhattrai has. In addition to this, India and America have become strong opponents against him. According to media reports, India believes he supports and bears strong allies with Indian Maoist insurgency groups where hundreds of people have died during the ongoing bloodshed guerrilla warfare in many parts of India. There are many that believe Prachada's party has been supporting and helping to build an insurgency strategy, including protecting and training Indian insurgents and supply logistics etc. However, it has yet to be proven since the Government of India has not yet been able to present any proof for such allies for now. So in the meantime, Indian forces use all possible efforts to pull the Maoists from power.

Concerning America, now India and America have strong and similar ties on contemporary politics of Nepal. Suntil Maoists are on a list of suspected terrorists in the United States, and Maoists play a very different card with regard to Tibet against the interests of the US, and the US believes Maoists are in favor of Chinese strategies that are not attractive at all to the US.

Although Maoists have gained favorable supports from Scandinavia and mild support from other Schengen countries (but UK has similar interests to the US). China is also a strong power but they have a vested interest in promoting communism in Nepal but have not openly promoted any particular communist parties of Nepal. China is found mild in domestic intervention in comparison to India.

There is also a crisis of trust over the Maoists. Most of the Nepalese political parties and international community accuse Maoists as always being ready to building and make all kinds of consensus and agreements but they never put them into practice, intentionally failing in implementation. Manipulation seems to have become their manner.

Despite the illustrated facts and arguments, it is clear that the ongoing peace process and constitution building tasks cannot be performed properly without meaningful participation and contribution of the Maoists. So, they must be cooperative and should be a major pillar of government as well as part of the constitution assembly. Also, there is a sturdy voice from the Maoist party that for them, a logical end of the peace process and constitution building will not be possible until they get primeministership. So, it is a really difficult situation for Nepal.

Concerning the candidacy of Mr. Poudel and Mr. Deuwa for prime minister, the party has been suffering with highly infected groupism, with no common consensus of its candidacy. There is a massive mutual disagreement against each other inside the central command of party. Besides, Maoist leaders as well as the UML is not ready to support and participate in the Government under a Congress Party's primeministership since both the leader's personalities and their working styles are believed to be not good enough or capable to lead the party and the nation too. Although, Mr. Poudel has a back up from India and Europe, and Mr. Deuwa has a good back up from America, the UK and also a soft corner from China side. In addition, small parties like the Madhesi Janadhikar Forum are also raising its candidacy but it neither has clear support from big parties nor from the international community.

In Nepal, generally people and nationalist politicians are in opposition to any alternatives that again provide possibilities of majoritian government. Now everyone is clear that the majoritian government is not capable of achieving the national motto and goal of peace and constitution building. People have experienced past practices where Majority government was unable to deliver even the minimum level of peace and constitution.

So, the people will be extremely unhappy to see the "old win in a new bottle". People have warned the politicians and parties that they can do whatever they want, but they need both sustainable peace and an efficient homegrown constitution in due time. In the meantime, both expectations are not possible until all political parties come to the common platform and constitute national consensus government with single voices about the successful execution of the comprehensive peace accord and constitution building.

Thus, to address the above described ongoing dilemmas, the Nepalese political parties need to design its strategy in different ways than previously. There was a past experience where major Nepalese political parties agreed to accept the guidance and command of the government and constitution building process through the High Level Political Mechanism (HLPM). The mechanism was entrusted with taking the ongoing peace process to a logical conclusion, helping draft the new constitution within the stipulated date and ending the protracted political deadlock. However, it has failed to achieve even the minimum goal and objective of the HLPM. The causes behind its failure were technical difficulties in poor coordination and disputable correlation among insider and outsider forces of government and parliament/constitution assembly. So, a redesign and correction of past mistakes could be a valuable asset to address the existing problem. The top political leaders, especially the chief of the major largest parties may be represented in the restructured upcoming HLPM. However, they must build a SMART Comprehensive Political Accord (CPA) before constituting the new HLPM. In addition, all respective parties and stakeholders must agree to enforce the aforementioned three point agreement without any condition and delay, which are crucial to accelerating peace and the constitution building process in Nepal.

Of course, there should be a clear provision in both the constitution and distribution of cabinet portfolios based on expertise and practical capabilities of a particular representing person. The prime minister, defense minister, finance minister, home minister, foreign ministry and peace minister must be from different parties and they should obey all the suggestions, advice and instruction that are given by the decision of HLPM, which is perhaps a basic prerequisite in transition for an efficient common consensual government. There should be also be a clear consensus on representational issues. Diversity and gender issues also must be addressed in upcoming HLPM as well as in government structure.

Naturally, the largest party should get a chance to be prime minister first; afterwards the rest will come and get places respectively in accordance with their size and strength. If possible, the upcoming government should minimize the number of parliamentarians in cabinet. It is always good to have different representatives in different state wings (legislative, executive and judiciary) which make sense while taking into practical consideration the theory of "power separation and balance." These tools can also force the legislative and executive bodies to be more specific and concentrated in their assigned tasks and responsibilities.

Therefore, the contemporary scenario of Nepal wants a consensual government, not a Majority Party government which has already proved to be a failure to meet both the present and future needs of Nepal, so political parties must be able to provide the broader roadmap for upcoming multiparty national consensus government within the assigned deadline. Also, the nation requires two different high level powerful political apparatus under the command of HLPM who can work until successful achievement of sustainable peace and constitution in Nepal.

Government, as well existing parliaments, should also think and address the necessary dilemmas of DDR, SSR and RRR. The peace process and constitution writing responsibilities cannot be achieved successfully until management of armies and arms comes to its logical end with common consensus and cooperation.

Eventually, the issue of consensual government has become a principal need for Nepal, but it seems almost impossible due to the hoggishness and infighting of political leaders and parties. So, all stakeholders must use their position with all accessible and concerned parties and its leader to come up with a consensual government--which is what the people want after all.

Government in Nepal: Consensual Vs Majority Party?

By Krishna Hari Pushkar

The Nepal peace process is in Limbo. On the one hand the resignation of Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal has been accepted by President Ram Baran Yadav on Wednesday 30 June.

I am not sure if it is just a part of the agreement dated May 28 where Nepal's major three parties had arrived at a Three Point Agreement: (1) To bring a logical end to the peace process and accomplish the historical goal of drafting the New Constitution, we hereby commit ourselves to accomplish our duties in consensus and unity. (2) We agree to extend the tenure of the current Constituent Assembly by a one year period to accomplish the remaining tasks of drafting the constitution. (3) To accomplish the above-mentioned jobs and responsibilities we agree to form a National Unity government in consensus and assure that the prime minister of the current coalition government is ready to tender his resignation prior to extending the Constituent Assembly tenure by 12 more months.

Most of the nonpoliticians are agreed that the resignation was a necessary part of the internal pressures where the CPM - UML party and its leaders had put huge pressures on primeminister Mr. Nepal to resign immediately--he was also facing open humiliation from his own political kith and kin. Of course, there were huge pressures from the Maoist Party too but it was not as effective since he did not even resign while the Maoists called general strikes and with many other stronger democratic and non democratic pressures (including the halt of the protest in the parliament, etc). It is very sad to illustrate that the Mr. Nepal-led coalition government was under trouble all the time due to the opposition of the Maoists, so the Government was unable to perform their routine duties and responsibilities properly. Besides there have been little but productive achievements in the ongoing peace process of Nepal in work related to DDR.

The constitution building process could have been completed in due time but it did not happen due to the noncooperation of the Maoist's and their continuous massive opposition and protests.

Honestly, the Maoists party did not even recognize the Mr. Nepal-led government, so they did not want to be cooperative in any level or with anything having to do with the Government (besides the frequent asking of the quick resignation of Mr. Nepal). The most important issue was that the Mr. Nepal-led government was constituted in support of 24 parties of Nepal, and apx 22 were supported until last. The PM suntil has tge majority in the parliament but he had to resign anyway. This may be considered one of the most destructive demerits of the transitional democratic practices.

Indeed, the letter and spirit of the Interim Constitution of Nepal and the Comprehensive Peace Accord of Nepal encourages the multi-party consensual government.

The Interim Constitution and the Comprehensive Peace Accord of Nepal stress that the national consensual government is a precondition to bring about the ongoing peace process to a logical end and to complete the constitution building process in due time. However, very few of the political parties are actually serious about either of these issues.

They have started to practice an approach which has become deeply unfortunate for Nepal. Now there is a race between the parties who all want to lead the work under their own primeministership (which is not feasible at any cost because the country has only a one prime minister constitutional system). In order for the work to be don, Nepal would need at least 24 prime ministers--otherwise they will not be able to come to a consensus!

Because of the forced resignation of the Mr. Nepal-led multiparty government, there is now chaos and several disturbing confrontations to decide who will be the next prime minister of Nepal.

There are three major parties that will most likely play a crucial role to decide upon the upcoming government. The biggest one is the Maoist party; they have two candidates for Prime Minister (Mr. Pusp Kamal Dahal and Dr. Baburam Bhattrai), however there seems to be no common consensus or actual support of these particular candidates.

Similarly, the Nepalese Congressional parties have two major candidates (Mr. Sher Bahadur Deuwa and Ram Chandra Poudel) but they also have a similar situation to the Maoist candidates.

The next candidate in line is CPN-UML, whose Prime Minister Mr. Nepal was just forced to resign, and now the president Mr. Jhalnath Khanal wants to claim this primeministership--but his candidacy is not accepted by either internal and external powers.

Also, a small party Madhesi Janadhikar Forum Loktantrik, whose president Mr. Gachhedar, is also raising strong voices for his candidacy in primeministership.

India, China, and America have an especially strong influence and strategic power in terms of constituting this new government, so it won't enough to get just domestic support, but particular parties and candidates will also seek strong support from the above-mentioned international community.

In preliminary observation, there is a little hope for the Maoist leader Dr. Baburam Bhattrai, because in order to win, he must gain anonymous support from its party, which is not an easy job because his party's president Mr. Prachand has a strong grip in his party's central to local command. On the other hand his party president has already announced his own official candidacy for primeministership.

According to the media reports and informal sources both Mr. Bhattrai and Mr. Prachanda do not have a harmonious relationship with each other and also have been found to differ in working and understanding the policies of Maoism. There is a serious rivalry that has existed for a long time between both candidates. Secondly, other parties won't support any Maoist leader for primeministership until they complete their previous commitments and agreements regarding reintegration of ex Maoist combatants, dissolution of the Young Communist League, free and fair return of seized and captured public and private properties to their original owners, honest and unconditionally obeying the comprehensive peace agreements and its related policies and practices. These have emerged as the biggest challenges facing the Maoist leader.

Concerning Prachanda, he also has similar difficulties like Bhattrai has. In addition to this, India and America have become strong opponents against him. According to media reports, India believes he supports and bears strong allies with Indian Maoist insurgency groups where hundreds of people have died during the ongoing bloodshed guerrilla warfare in many parts of India. There are many that believe Prachada's party has been supporting and helping to build an insurgency strategy, including protecting and training Indian insurgents and supply logistics etc. However, it has yet to be proven since the Government of India has not yet been able to present any proof for such allies for now. So in the meantime, Indian forces use all possible efforts to pull the Maoists from power.

Concerning America, now India and America have strong and similar ties on contemporary politics of Nepal. Suntil Maoists are on a list of suspected terrorists in the United States, and Maoists play a very different card with regard to Tibet against the interests of the US, and the US believes Maoists are in favor of Chinese strategies that are not attractive at all to the US.

Although Maoists have gained favorable supports from Scandinavia and mild support from other Schengen countries (but UK has similar interests to the US). China is also a strong power but they have a vested interest in promoting communism in Nepal but have not openly promoted any particular communist parties of Nepal. China is found mild in domestic intervention in comparison to India.

There is also a crisis of trust over the Maoists. Most of the Nepalese political parties and international community accuse Maoists as always being ready to building and make all kinds of consensus and agreements but they never put them into practice, intentionally failing in implementation. Manipulation seems to have become their manner.

Despite the illustrated facts and arguments, it is clear that the ongoing peace process and constitution building tasks cannot be performed properly without meaningful participation and contribution of the Maoists. So, they must be cooperative and should be a major pillar of government as well as part of the constitution assembly. Also, there is a sturdy voice from the Maoist party that for them, a logical end of the peace process and constitution building will not be possible until they get primeministership. So, it is a really difficult situation for Nepal.

Concerning the candidacy of Mr. Poudel and Mr. Deuwa for prime minister, the party has been suffering with highly infected groupism, with no common consensus of its candidacy. There is a massive mutual disagreement against each other inside the central command of party. Besides, Maoist leaders as well as the UML is not ready to support and participate in the Government under a Congress Party's primeministership since both the leader's personalities and their working styles are believed to be not good enough or capable to lead the party and the nation too. Although, Mr. Poudel has a back up from India and Europe, and Mr. Deuwa has a good back up from America, the UK and also a soft corner from China side. In addition, small parties like the Madhesi Janadhikar Forum are also raising its candidacy but it neither has clear support from big parties nor from the international community.

In Nepal, generally people and nationalist politicians are in opposition to any alternatives that again provide possibilities of majoritian government. Now everyone is clear that the majoritian government is not capable of achieving the national motto and goal of peace and constitution building. People have experienced past practices where Majority government was unable to deliver even the minimum level of peace and constitution.

So, the people will be extremely unhappy to see the "old win in a new bottle". People have warned the politicians and parties that they can do whatever they want, but they need both sustainable peace and an efficient homegrown constitution in due time. In the meantime, both expectations are not possible until all political parties come to the common platform and constitute national consensus government with single voices about the successful execution of the comprehensive peace accord and constitution building.

Thus, to address the above described ongoing dilemmas, the Nepalese political parties need to design its strategy in different ways than previously. There was a past experience where major Nepalese political parties agreed to accept the guidance and command of the government and constitution building process through the High Level Political Mechanism (HLPM). The mechanism was entrusted with taking the ongoing peace process to a logical conclusion, helping draft the new constitution within the stipulated date and ending the protracted political deadlock. However, it has failed to achieve even the minimum goal and objective of the HLPM. The causes behind its failure were technical difficulties in poor coordination and disputable correlation among insider and outsider forces of government and parliament/constitution assembly. So, a redesign and correction of past mistakes could be a valuable asset to address the existing problem. The top political leaders, especially the chief of the major largest parties may be represented in the restructured upcoming HLPM. However, they must build a SMART Comprehensive Political Accord (CPA) before constituting the new HLPM. In addition, all respective parties and stakeholders must agree to enforce the aforementioned three point agreement without any condition and delay, which are crucial to accelerating peace and the constitution building process in Nepal.

Of course, there should be a clear provision in both the constitution and distribution of cabinet portfolios based on expertise and practical capabilities of a particular representing person. The prime minister, defense minister, finance minister, home minister, foreign ministry and peace minister must be from different parties and they should obey all the suggestions, advice and instruction that are given by the decision of HLPM, which is perhaps a basic prerequisite in transition for an efficient common consensual government. There should be also be a clear consensus on representational issues. Diversity and gender issues also must be addressed in upcoming HLPM as well as in government structure.

Naturally, the largest party should get a chance to be prime minister first; afterwards the rest will come and get places respectively in accordance with their size and strength. If possible, the upcoming government should minimize the number of parliamentarians in cabinet. It is always good to have different representatives in different state wings (legislative, executive and judiciary) which make sense while taking into practical consideration the theory of "power separation and balance." These tools can also force the legislative and executive bodies to be more specific and concentrated in their assigned tasks and responsibilities.

Therefore, the contemporary scenario of Nepal wants a consensual government, not a Majority Party government which has already proved to be a failure to meet both the present and future needs of Nepal, so political parties must be able to provide the broader roadmap for upcoming multiparty national consensus government within the assigned deadline. Also, the nation requires two different high level powerful political apparatus under the command of HLPM who can work until successful achievement of sustainable peace and constitution in Nepal.

Government, as well existing parliaments, should also think and address the necessary dilemmas of DDR, SSR and RRR. The peace process and constitution writing responsibilities cannot be achieved successfully until management of armies and arms comes to its logical end with common consensus and cooperation.

Eventually, the issue of consensual government has become a principal need for Nepal, but it seems almost impossible due to the hoggishness and infighting of political leaders and parties. So, all stakeholders must use their position with all accessible and concerned parties and its leader to come up with a consensual government--which is what the people want after all.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Reintegration of Former Combatants

Ministry of Labour Needs To Be Involved in Reintegration of Former Combatants
By Krishna Hari Pushkar
The reintegration issue of ex-Maoist combatants has become one of the most confrontational issues of the ongoing Nepal peace process.
The ongoing Nepalese Peace Process (PP) has been virtually shelved. The basic deadline for constitution building has been ended with no result. The Peace Process is simply being destroyed due to the consensual derivatives between the Maoists and Nepal Government on reintegration issues.
Both parties have agreed to integrate the former Maoist guerrillas into the Nepalese security system but have always been undecided about the number of guerrillas. The United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) is supposed to provide technical support in the peace process; however the role of UNMIN has not been very useful in this regard.
Surprisingly, the Internal and external stakeholders of the Nepalese Peace Process have remained silent on the turmoil. For this reason, the bilateral-multilateral confrontation on reintegration affairs has become one of the major hurdles in achieving sustainable peace through an agreed-upon comprehensive peace accord.
Both parties are sticking to the stance to forcefully push the ex-combatants into security forces ignoring the choice, voice and rights of the ex-Maoist guerrillas. Despite the huge scope, and the role and sources of the ministry, it is being completely undermined by so called peace leaders and their teams handling the issues.
According to the Government of Nepal's Work Division Regulation 2064, the Ministry of Labour and Transport Management has important and relevant responsibilities that include internal and external labour and employment affairs, social safety nets and security, vocational trainings, HRD/man power development and etc. Thus the assigned responsibilities and authority of the Ministry could be incredibly helpful to manage or reintegrate thousands of intended people or ex-Maoist combatants through direct/indirect, internal and external mechanisms of the ministry.
Frankly, the ministry is quite able to provide opportunities for internal and external employment, skill oriented vocational trainings, and many other courses and opportunities for reintegration and rehabilitation of former guerrillas.
Although, the role and potential resources of the Ministry has been forgotten while discussing the reintegration and rehabilitation issue of ex-combatants; it has been never been discussed or put forward by the Ministry itself/ the government nor by the Maoist party.
According to a survey report, the majority of cantonment-based Maoist guerrillas are considering their choices to go for other alternatives rather to enter into army. Also, both parties have realized that accommodating all (approximately 19,000) former guerrillas in the army is not possible, they all are still insisting and only sticking with employing them in the army sector.
It is not just a matter of realization of facts but also beyond the national need and capacity. It has been also observed that there are hundreds of ex-Maoist combatants who are not eligible (old, children, disabled, ill-sick etc.) to meet the minimum eligibility and condition to enter in national security system, so again, there are good alternatives to assigning the job to the labour ministry.
The top brass of government, ruling political parties, Maoists, and the technical committee, have all stopped moving forward on reintegration issues--including the previously constituted high-level political mechanism (HLPM).
Still dismissing the truth, both conflicting parties are digging ways either to integrate them into the army or in other national security systems leaving the other better options of rehabilitation and reintegration through the Ministry of Labour.
In accordance with eligibility and the rights, voices and choices of the former Maoist Guerrillas, the Ministry may create many options and modules of reintegration and rehabilitation, such as:
A. Choices to go in foreign employment in more than one hundred thirty destinations, under more than two hundred varieties of technical and non technical jobs.
B. Choices to settle into domestic employment. The ministry can easily help to develop preferential employment packages for the ex-combatants by developing strategic policy, programs and functional coordination of industrialists, private sector and trade union institutions.
C. The Ministry has capabilities to provide skill based short-term and long-term vocational trainings on a need basis that may help ex-combatants, whether they choose domestic and international jobs or prefer self-employment.
D. The ministry has enriched funding capabilities for pre to post employment phases and can introduce chain welfare investments for the potential candidates among the ex-combatant Maoist guerrillas.
E. In addition, the ministry have many contingency possibilities to rehabilitate ex-Maoist combatants through social safety net programs and also could include them into jobs such as in the transport management sector. However the government as well other related stakeholders must be careful to consider the integrated community-based reintegration approach rather than the ex-combatant based targeted approach of reintegration. The worlds experience has proved that most DDR programs have failed because the community and relevant stakeholders were ignored in pre to post phases of the entire process.
Therefore, the Ministry could be a principle means to deal and resolve the ongoing dilemmas of the peace process on the reintegration and rehabilitation issue of ex-Maoist combatants since it has a strong, and broader nationwide network and many collaborations with the respective community as well as to the stakeholders. Sometimes, it is judicious to resolve the problem from outside the horizon, especially if the given framework is unable to resolve the problem or adding more and more difficulties in the name of searching for solutions within a limited framework.
Furthermore, it has been observed through a survey report that they will be happier to jump inside the explored options of the Ministry. The illustrated options are financially, technically and legally viable and can also be quickly implemented to address the reintegration and rehabilitation crisis of cantonment-based guerillas, as well as for those deviated combatants who are running in search of socioeconomic reintegration and rehabilitation.
Except for the Maoist party, most of the stakeholders in the peace process want to minimize the number as much as possible of ex-combatants to integrate into the Nepal Army or any other national security system. Because the existing Maoist guerrillas neither meet any professional standard and norms of "State Security" nor is this possible after the merger as international factors and recognition are important for the state security system.
Secondly, Maoist Guerrillas are obvious political extremists, biased and infected with extreme Maoism and prachnadpath, and naturally deviate towards a specific political ideology of its party. Thirdly, similar questions might emerge when another existing insurgent group asks for a similar type of reintegration.
There are more than two dozen other rebellion groups who have also been fighting against the State in various parts of Nepal. It is my observation that the political reintegration model of the Nepalese peace process (accepting Maoists as lawmakers, giving enough places in parliament and directly appointing them into various senior policy level posts in the name of political integration) has become one of the major motivational factors for existing ethno-regional insurgent groups who have started fighting with a hope that they will also get chances to be member of parliaments or some other appointment while they enter in the peace process like the Maoist rebellion.
Of course, the nature and composition of existing insurgent groups are also similar to Maoist guerrillas, and some would say a majority are the splinter groups of Maoists--so what do we do in the future if such things are repeated? Other rebels could also ask for a similar model of political reintegration and also mass entry into the state security system as Maoists are claiming now, so can we really afford it?
Lastly, the existing performances and activities of Maoist guerrillas are still in a rebellious line; they are not even trying to stay in normality nor do they believe in peaceful political democratic philosophy, even after entering in the peace process under the supervision of UNMIN. Therefore it is difficult to stick on a path that pushes entire reintegration with the whole country in chaos.
Therefore, it is clever for all peace process stakeholders to explore the Ministry of Labour and Transport Management as efficient options/alternatives for the reintegration and rehabilitation issue of Ex-Maoist Combatants. This option will bring plenty of benefits including resolving the political deadlock, and will be helpful to drive the entire peace process to its logical end, assisting to harmonize and socialize the ex-combatants in strategic manner.
One of the principle products of the approach is to help and restore the constitution building process in a timely and efficient manner. Additionally, this approach will also minimize the general and technical complexities of reintegration and rehabilitation of cantonment-based guerillas.
Of course, the described way, via the ministry, will increase and add additional value on the success of the ongoing process, and its productivity towards the similar concept and manner of DDR, SSR and RRR (which are crucial and indispensable in a post conflict scenario). Hence, the Ministry must be given the chance for active involvement while dealing with the reintegration and rehabilitation issue of ex-Maoist combatants.
It is a better way to achieve sustainable peace, security and harmony in the country and will mobilize and utilize the existing official sector, resources and approaches of the nation.
Mr. Krishnahari Pushkar writes about social issues, security and conflict management, often in relation to Nepal. An Under Secretary of Government in Nepal, he is well-honored as a Peace, Security and Conflict Management Professional, who contributes regularly to national and international nongovernmental organizations as a peace and conflict management expert.
Source: http://newsblaze.com/story/20100623135945abha.nb/topstory.html

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