• Friday 21st February 2020

Public Distrust

  • Published on: December 11, 2019



  • Pressures are piling on the ‘System’. It’s not just on government. The problem is that the system was built with the understanding that the cabal that built the Delhi ‘understanding’ of 2006 would collaborate on strengthening the ‘system’ they were asked to impose on the Nepali people. Come time of implementing a constitution, their prime coordinator, India, was shown the door. It is that same secretary whose advice they chose to ignore that is currently Delhi’s foreign minister. But that may be dismissed as the past. The present, shall we say, has caught up. Longstanding issues of Indian land encroachment has come up publicly at the very instigation of government—the question of which government and how remain mysteriously subterfuge at this juncture. Public demands for solution render the solution difficult since all the public grandstanding deny the governments the leeway of the essential silent diplomacy. Public suspicion that the silence in such diplomacy is but an excuse for non-functioning is at a peak. And it is this public distrust on government that permeates into the threshold of widespread systemic disbelief.
    And, so, when government party people dismiss spurious rumors of how prime minister K.P. Oli is manipulating possibilities for his succession on grounds of the constitution, people are bound to recollect how the ruling parties have treated constitutions and constitutionalism. Indeed, when part defense site their own party charters as the basis of their actions, there are people who cannot forget how their own party charter provisions were relegated to the dustbin when it came to adopting the current constitution. The idea is that anything goes that can be sustained by the party afterwards. It is possible to wait for Oli’s succession of course, but, already, the successor to the Speaker’s post in parliament is imminent. Contrary to previous agreement that the Congress, the Maoists and the UML would divide the posts of House speaker, prim minister and the president among themselves has been traversed by also the combination of the Maoists and the UML into one party. We now see the NCP occupying all three seats—the current problem emerging from disgraced Speaker Mehra vacating his seat. The reluctance to promote the deputy speaker through vote is itself a mystery given that it would have been opportune to allow the fairer sex a representation at one time deemed equal by constitutional understanding.
    This week should see things escalate. The winter session approaches. The house needs a new speaker since that is the office from which bills emanate to be tabled in parliament. The complaint is that a sick prime minister and a vacant speaker’s post has delayed governance dangerously. How government overcomes this snag is what is awaited. The constitutional hitches to understanding and precedents will certainly need novel interpretations which must be justified constitutionally again. Or, on the other hand, some precedents based on understandings cannot but be by-passed by new constitutional understandings. There is no reason thus to swallow the official assessment that the crisis period is over. Indeed, past unconstitutional-ism suggest that the system cannot but continue without the ad hoc-ism of previous flagrancies. It is this that spurs the intense public skepticism. The results are awaited.

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