• Friday 10th April 2020

Not Untoward

  • Published on: December 4, 2019



  • Why is it not surprising for Prime Minister K.P. Oli to address the nation as to his health? It is precisely because the nation is concerned of his health. The concern is genuine. Oli who has had a kidney replacement some twelve years ago has been under dialysis for quite some time now and his doctors have decided publicly that he needs another kidney again. In the meantime he has had several journeys to Bangkok and Singapore for multiple treatments. Oli has thus had to make this public statement after a major operation in Kathmandu last week and the staging of his own account of recuperation is designed to assuage the public that normalcy is returning to his health. In other words, what he is telling the public is that he is fit to run the ship of state. He need not worry. The public are aware that the prime minister of this country is the first of his cabinet and chairs a political organization where he has an equal counterpart. He thus has another party head to whom he has devolved the task of running the party and a deputy prime minister that can share the task of chairing the cabinet. How much his public assurances have served to reassure the public that he is fit to run government is another matter. But what he is saying is meaningful in the sense that he is telling his detractors who are raising his health issues that he is not resigning on health grounds. And, so, one must go about trying to locate his detractors to whom he is saying that he will not resign.
    Quite apart from the fact that the opposition will oppose in a democracy, Oli would certainly not be addressing the opposition parties given their near-inconsequential stage in parliament what with his party’s overwhelming majority there. Eyes must therefore fall on to those who would benefit from an Oli resignation from whence these spurious questions on his health could well be emerging. The message is thus clear. Regardless of wherefrom these questions arise, K.P. Oli is not resigning on grounds of his health at this stage. In fact, he must have made certain that he need not. At least that is what he is talking to the nation about. Nor is there any such precedence in Nepali politics. Recall what stage of health both Girija Koirala and Sushil Koirala were and if at all they passed the baton. Indeed, the compulsion not to do so is in the manner of Nepali political organizations. Political parties find it easy to cover up the organizations of individuals and thus are basically conglomerates of individual organizations. The NCP is currently dominated by the K.P. Oli organization and it is most unlikely that this organization will be allowed to retrench in his life time. Indeed, the cabal will surely have seen the future and have made safe-guards to retain its dominance even after K.P. This is precisely why Oli’s detractors will be raising questions as to his health. And, this is exactly why Oli is saying that the concern is spurious. He may be sick. But, he is recovering. And that is that.

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