Accountability For Good Governance

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There seems to be much differences between the political parties, even those who are partners in the present coalition government. First of all, the largest party in the present coalition, the Nepali Congress, is itself divided in several factions and in the just concluded Central Committee meeting of the party, many leaders expressed their unhappiness at the performance of their own ministers. Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal also has repeatedly said that he was not satisfied with the work of certain ministers and bureaucrats and he would change them for making the government more efficient and effective in the coming year. This has given a much-needed boost to the morale of the common citizens as they believe that the Prime Minister seems really serious in delivering goods to the common people.

However there are detractors as well in criticising the performance of the government. And this includes members of the coalition partners in the present government itself. The Nepali Congress organised its routine annual function of the 'National Reconciliation Day' just a few days back and here also it bypassed some parties and gave the feeling that it was not really serious about political reconciliation. One analyst said in a discussion programme that 'when the Nepali Congress cannot bring reconciliation in the party itself, how can it bring in national reconciliation?' This is a good question, but the fact remains that the leaders of this party are still trying to maintain the ideals of its founder, late BP Koirala, who first introduced the idea of national reconciliation. His own younger brother late Girija Prasad Koirala could not keep intact the ideals and farsightedness of his brother.

Grievances

But to come back to the efforts of the present Prime Minister Dahal, he has shown the way by cutting down the number of employees in the Prime Minister's Office itself. This is a good beginning. It was also reported in the media that Dahal reaches his office by 10 A.M. every day, except on public holidays. This is an improvement from the time when late Girija and late Sushil Koirala ran the nation from their rooms in Baluwatar when they were the prime ministers. There is no doubt the government has seen a lot of ups and downs in the past one year, but like said by PM Dahal, he himself is not satisfied with the works in certain ministries and he would act soon to remedy the past mistakes. There have been protests in many sectors and we have been witness to many such protests from industrialists and entrepreneurs to students and youths who seek to go abroad.

The last episode which shook the government was when two youngsters wanting to go to South Korea for employment were killed in a demonstration at Balkumari of Lalitpur district. But the government acted quickly and has made efforts to provide relief to the families of the two and also release those arrested during the demonstration. That the vehicle of one minister was burned down is not a good indicator of coordination between the security agencies. We cannot blame the government alone for such sporadic incidents as it has proved itself efficient in quelling some dangerous communal conflicts in Dharan of Eastern Nepal and a religious conflict in a township in Far Western Nepal.

But to solve the grievances of the people, the government and the political parties must try and tackle each problem from the roots. This is easier said than done, but one success has been seen in the efforts of the Nepal Electricity Authority which has not only been able to cut down load shedding, but also to generate more electricity that Nepal can export to neighbouring countries. The help of donors in contributing towards the building of transmission lines has helped in this effort of the government and NEA.

In this manner, the political parties, which once strongly criticized any Nepali going abroad for work, are now pleading with more developed countries to give job opportunities to Nepali citizens. They should also try and correct the situation here in the country itself so that Nepali youths do not have to go abroad for better job opportunities and better income as well. It is indeed a sad aspect for the nation to see an exodus of young skilled or unskilled manpower leaving the country in hordes, when it needs their presence here. Meanwhile, it is also not good that there seems to be a divided mentality within certain political parties and differences amongst them as well. This does not bode well for the very cause they fought for during difficult times. The parties must set aside such differences for now, when the nation and the whole system, as said by PM Dahal himself, is being challenged.

Good governance

Meanwhile, it can be seen that the government has not been sitting down idly and it has been carrying out many works, as reported even by the media outlets who usually criticize the work of any government which comes to power. But like pointed out by an analyst, people in high posts, whether they are ministers, top level bureaucrats or officials in the security forces, must also be more responsible and they should be held accountable, whether in corruption cases or incidents like the one that happened in Balkumari some days back. Only punishing or suspending the small fries is not enough. For the government to show its commitment for good governance, the so called 'high profile' officials must also be punished for any wrong doings in their part. Accountability is important for any system or government to be more effective in its tasks for development of the nation.   


(The author is a former chief editor of this daily)

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