Definitely, a dramatic change has taken place in Nepali politics and now the country has got a new Prime Minister as well as new ministers. The list of ministers is yet to be completed.
It was a very bold move by present Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda, when he suddenly decided to leave the past alliance, because the then PM Sher Bahadur Deuba made a headstrong stance in being the head of government first and also in his party choosing the next President of the country. Analysts later said this was a terrible mistake made by Deuba.
Individuals can always make mistakes, especially at difficult times. This has been proved in history before by the wrong decisions taken by leaders who were considered super powerful in many countries of the world.
Critics not from outside, but from within his own party have already started a tirade against the wrong decision of Deuba. But it would be wrong to blame only one man when the whole system has proved to be wrong, from electing unfit persons, to looking the other way when some people make corruption a step towards more prestige. If any country is to really develop, then the first objective of any leader or other policy-makers should be to look after the concerns of the person on the streets. Only if such persons feel secure in his or her own homeland and they also have opportunities for gainful work, we will see the real development of the nation.
Just a few days after the coming in of the new government, the most encouraging aspect for this author and other like-minded persons, has been the determination shown by both the Prime Minister and also his popular deputy and former TV anchor Ravi Lamichhane to not tolerate any form of corruption. In fact, Prime Minister Prachanda has also made an announcement that he will form a commission to look into the wealth accumulated by all top level leaders and others after 1990.
Similarly, DPM and Home Minister Lamichhane has also strictly told all police officers to not meet him for any favours and he has also ordered the ministry to withdraw all police personnel being given to ministry officials and former top level police officials as their private helpers in the guise of them being ‘bodyguards’. This is a bold move and investigations in the past have also shown how thousands of army and police personnel are being misused by former top officials. The army may not be within the jurisdiction of Minister Lamichhane, but whoever becomes the next Defense Minister must also follow such a trait and end the misuse of personnel who are being paid through the taxpayers’ money.
But like the people expect a better year with every New Year, the Nepalis are also expecting better governance from the new government. They are especially optimistic, as the new PM has solemnly said that making a strong economy would be his first target. Furthermore, he is also leading a cabinet of sincere and enthusiastic leaders, who have also promised how they would work for the welfare of the people. Of course, this is something which only time will prove, but the auspicious beginning is something and the people expect some good performance from the newly formed government.
This is golden opportunity for this government to not only prove the sincerity of the leaders, but to also fulfill the desire for change of the voters who expect to see more reforms. Its decision to make the economy strong is very good. The people well know that without a strong economy, neither can the country move forward, nor can the general public live in a secure environment. But there is no doubt turning around the economy of a country like Nepal is a huge challenge. The present government has accepted and thus it has taken it as a priority to strengthen the economy. Other things like providing passports, driving licenses and national identity cards are also good, but they are very minor issues in comparison with providing a better living for the people by implementing major development projects.
Planning for long-term projects should also be taken as a priority while implementing certain issues, which both political leaders and commoners speak about, just to fulfill the populist slogans leaders made before. Once there is good governance, the smaller issues will take care of themselves with the officials being aware that there is a strong and determined government at the helm. So we must also give time to the present government to do certain jobs which have irked the citizens, but at the same time also make long term plans for the nation to leap ahead in its development efforts. This is where this author does not agree with certain intellectuals and so called ‘experts’, who have decried the new government when it has been in office for just some days. Give it some time and let its work show whether the leaders are sincere in what they have said or not.
No doubt, there is rivalry among all the political leaders and thus some sense of distress comes when one thinks one has lost in the race for power. But this should not be taken as the end of the game as the beautiful part of any democracy is that it gives another chance to everybody to gain the confidence of the people. This has been proved right in many different parts of the world. So while disappointment is understandable, utter frustration cannot be tolerated whether from the defeated leaders or others who have been groomed under their shadows.
Every government is given a ‘honey moon’ period and individual leaders are given further time to prove themselves. Thus, it should be no different for the new government now. But we should all wish that the major political parties and their leaders will stick to their promises and make the country a peaceful and prosperous place where the people can live in a sense of social security.
(Yug Bahadur is a freelancer.)