• Sunday 18th August 2019

New Juncture

  • Published on: June 11, 2019

  • It is not as if the proponents of new Nepal are bereft of options. Having retained the old identification of Nepal in Nepal and the old flag, it is as if this retention has served to rally the opposition. The streets abound with agitators carrying the Nepali flag in the name of preserving, fostering and developing Nepal. Perhaps this exercise is proving the more expensive since a people thought to have been the preserve of the political parties have been forsaking their affiliation to the parties and their leadership who have been inept if not outright redundant in wreaking the change. More damaging, perhaps, is the heightened awareness amongst a people impacted by a development process gone awry because of the change. Corruption, the citizenship issue, the compromising of the judiciary and the anti-corruption institutions and the mal-functioning of traditional law and order and a convoluted civil administration have all rendered an impetuous government naked. The expense of federalism and the disorientation there from make the public deliberations highly meaningful because, simply, the impact of unproductive state conduct is so all-pervasive. Secularism has, counter-productively brought religion into politics for the first time in Nepali history and the emphasis on partisan benefits from cast, class and gender issues has created more fissures in Nepali society than mended them. The lacuna at the republican center is only naturally to have triggered a search for authority that can undo the damage. The threats heighten the search for alternatives and the streets are calling attention to the source of the problem which is the un-constitutionalism of the past decade of politics that flipped our political leadership above the constitution and rendered them impudent.
    Of course, calls for retrenchments become reactionary and old hat for the establishment which sought the transformation on the strength of money, muscle and media and the putsch of external elements whose agenda on Nepal have been made naked over the years. Political discourse currently deviates from national policy into which country has what priority for Nepal and which leader is more susceptible in its pursuit. Indeed, the more visible public discussion on corrupt sabotage of national institutions dangerously serves as subterfuge to camouflage traditional Nepal priorities in institutions and performance. The reasons being tabled for today’s failures, interestingly, are carefully implanted in the logic that the only alternative to democracy is more democracy. Since a seven-state federation is not working, there should be more states to serve the decentralization and self-rule priority. Since a parliamentary prime minister with a two thirds majority is not serving the people, a presidential system should. Moreover, since the constitution has compromised secularism religious mention should be outright deleted from the constitution. Yes, the alternative narratives to a forward-looking constitution are being gradually sold and the pawns are being set on the board for revolutionary transformation to be provided an impetus. The current status quo will not do. As it appears, public consensus is in denouncing the status quo and that is that. Looks like the slide will be made steeper and urgently at that, widening the divide.

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