•      Fri Jun 14 2024

Nurture republican values to meet people’s aspiration

Nepal Republic Day Celebration

Narayan Prasad Ghimire

Kathmandu, May 29: The republic is an epoch-making regime change in Nepal. The first meeting of the Constituent Assembly on May 28, 2008 formally ended the monarchy and announced Nepal a republic. The moment made Nepalis truly sovereign, for they are no longer ruled by anyone entitled to the supremacy by birth.

Now, it has been almost 16 years we abolished the 247-year-old monarchy, and are celebrating the 17th Republic Day. The government decided to observe the day for three days- May 27 to 29.

As we are heading to a decadal turn of the momentous day in the national political history- two decades after three years- it is time to review the role of the actors and campaigners involved in several movements, including the armed revolution, that led to the establishment of the federal republic. Whether they are delivering up to the mark or delaying to realize the republican ambitions necessitates attention. Is our republic nourished well or stunted with undernourishment? It is indeed a pressing question at present.

Achievements to celebrate

The freedoms, inclusion, secularism, and participatory schemes in governance- election, political party organizations, and bureaucracy- are the most significant achievements we made since the adoption of a republic system. No doubt, mainstreaming of the backward communities, women, and marginalized people is historic. The unparalleled rise of public awareness is equally worth sharing.

The constitution promulgated in 2015 prepared a solid legal foundation to institutionalize the federal republic where people have elected their representatives twice for the three-tier governments. Citizens pride on the list of fundamental rights enshrined in the constitution. Various constitutional commissions focusing rights of Muslims, Madhesi, Dalit, Tharu are also in operation. They have advocated the rights of concerned communities and reminded the State authorities to address their concerns.

Translate provisions into practice

In addition to the legal provisions and some institutional setups, the country witnessed incremental changes – convenience with transportation, rise of literacy rate and life expectancy, access to ICT, health facilities, school buildings etc. Despite these and above positive changes and achievements Nepal made in the federal republic, there are several problems plaguing the system. People’s long wait for development and prosperity is intact. Good governance, focused much on speech and writing, is yet to be translated into reality. The stories of corruption, financial sleaze and administrative malfeasance paint a grim picture.

As politics comes on top to handle state affairs, political behaviour is evidently a constant watch. Whether they are regime change slogans or election manifestos to periodic plans and annual budgets, the adherence to announcements is measured by the people to know the results, which have a direct impact on them.

Despite the efforts, the political attitude and activities of late have been contributing to public disenchantment. Irrespective of the political parties in power, it is natural for them to claim the political stability. But, frequent changes in governments and alliances have taken a toll on federal to province governments. The political tussles and malpractices in parliament often reach judiciary, seeking justice.

The bickering over political power has the role to dampen people’s hope of cultured politics and republican values. Lately, even new political parties and leaders emerged by capitalizing on public sentiment against old political parties, but to add people’s chagrin. The unfolding scenario necessitates urgency of fostering republican values, especially by the political actors so that ill practices of the past regime would fizzle out and people’s interests kept in centre.

Review political behaviour

On the occasion of the Republic Day, a noted leader, Gagan Thapa, also the General Secretary of Nepali Congress, viewed, “It is clear that people’s despair and aggression are on the rise as their status did not change despite regime change. It is not because of the system, but the actors and their characters.”

He further pointed out the need for correcting several issues and urged political parties to ensure delivery to the people to retain their trust. The youth leaders also reminded everyone to be aware of those rearing heads against the system.

Similarly, in an interview with the RSS, Chairman of Rastriya Janamorcha, Chitra Bahadur KC, also pointed out the weaknesses on the part of actors. “Whatever we could contribute to the nation and deliver to public- development and changes, that was not realized.”

The elderly leader asserts, “It is not the republic system to blame, but the actors.” In his opinion, the republic system is used more as a means for vested interest, which is posing a threat to democracy.

The opinions of these leaders, who are also the actors in the system, clearly substantiate the need for correction in political behaviour so that republic system would be flourished and people’s aspiration for change and prosperity realized. Terming the system a fledging regime can not be an excuse for long, because we are heading to the decadal turn- two decades after three years since adoption of new system.

In order for translating the slogan of peace, prosperity, good governance, and development, shared responsibility among political parties is a press need, which helps nurture system.  As we are in the new system, building a culture of consensus and collaboration with strict adherence to constitution and rule of law rather than politics of negation and vengeance serves as a respite, which gradually charts a pathway for solution and stability.

Shun extractive tendency

In the system, the actors and institutions bear shared responsibilities to check youth exodus, ensure quality education, create jobs within home, intensify development activities without jeopardizing rights of future generations and mostly importantly shun the extractive tendencies.

While asserting that country has witnessed many positive changes, the disappointing data cannot be ignored. The mounting arrears in trillions and inadequate spending capacity are not only bureaucratic blot but also mismanaged governance that keep people at the receiving end.

At a time when our neighbours are taking strides in development with rising economies, how we can best leverage our available resources must be a focus. Stable rise of economic growth in India irrespective of COVID-19 shock, overproduction of goods in China flooding European and the US markets and soaring garment exports from Bangladesh can be lessons for us to concentrate on production. But, it is worrying that despite having three layers of governments, a sizable number of youths- active population- leave the country for employment and education. Why can’t we persuade youths with our education, and create jobs for them? How long do we depend on remittance to prop up national economy? Together, aren’t we in dire need of a brain-gain scheme?

As we celebrate the Republic Day this year, we are all set to launch the 16th periodic plan and presentation of an annual budget.  How aligned the data on success and future plans to our national ambition of development and prosperity counts much. Therefore, the republic should not be understood as a new convenient political ground but a system to elevate people’s life standards and bolster the national image. For it to happen, we have no option but to nurture republican values. #rss #nepal #republicanism