Nepali Times Asian Paints
PRASHANT JHA
Plain Speaking
New imbalance


PRASHANT JHA


KIRAN PANDAY

After weeks of speculation, the government sent a 'constructively ambiguous' letter to the UN requesting an extension of UNMIN's mandate. After a long prelude, it asked for a mandate that focused on monitoring of Maoist combatants and arms without specifically asking that the Nepal Army (NA) be taken off UNMIN monitoring.

Three and a half years after the interim legislature was constituted and two years after the special committee was formed, the government has discovered these developments mean there are no longer 'two sides' to the conflict, and that the government's voice is the only legitimate voice. Why were they going through the charade of consulting the Maoists on UNMIN extension all this time? Or, why did the Maoist government have to consult the NC on the issue? And why did they not revise agreements to reflect this reality, and change the mandate request accordingly, earlier?
The letter also tells the UN that the situation has 'evolved rapidly' and many of UNMIN's tasks are 'redundant'. One wonders what progress Baluwatar and its allies have seen in the peace process since the last extension in May, for the rest of the country can only see stagnation.

But the letter's details, and the legalistic claims and counter claims on both sides, are not really the core of the issue. Neither is UNMIN's functioning. It is the politics behind the extension.

The change in the balance of power since the agreements were signed originally, and the differing motivations of the actors who signed those pacts, explains why UNMIN manages to invite ire at such regular intervals despite its fairly marginal role in day-to-day politics.

Think back to the end of 2006. The CPA was greeted with euphoria. The Seven Party Alliance and the Maoists saw themselves as partners against the monarch. The NA was still treated with deep suspicion, to the extent that GP Koirala gave the Maoists the green signal to inflate the numbers of the PLA in cantonments to 'balance the army'. Prachanda obliged way beyond Koirala's imaginings, and sent his core fighters to the YCL, but that is another matter.

Koirala decided that the best way to bring the Maoists 'into the mainstream' was by creating a new framework and new institutions that could accommodate them. The interim constitution, interim legislature, and interim government were constituted. The republican agenda was accepted. And UNMIN was invited, to give a sense of security to the Maoists, who wanted international legitimacy, and to fulfill the tasks of arms monitoring that no other external force could.

Few people in the NC and UML really believed in the new framework. But they privately knew Maoist strength had played a key role in bringing them back to power through the People's Movement. They also hoped this would 'lock' the Maoists in and co-opt them, and eventually through elections the hegemony of 'democratic forces' could be restored.

Think about all that has changed since then. The king has gone and there is no common 'enemy'. After the elections, but particularly since the Katawal incident last year, NC and UML started seeing the NA as a partner in their battle against the Maoists. This is a historic and unprecedented shift in Nepali politics; the NC and NA are on the same side.

There is almost a consensus in the 'democratic camp' that Koirala gave 'too much' to the Maoists, who are seen to have gone back on their promises. The logic of the anti-Maoist Madhav Nepal coalition was that it is not by giving the Maoists space, but by isolating them entirely, that they will be 'weakened' and forced to 'reform'. So keeping them out of power, and getting all domestic and international actors to pressure the Maoists, became a primary goal.

But there is a problem. Two institutions serve as a constant reminder to the spirit of those heady 2006 days ‚Ä" the CA and UNMIN. Until the CA is around, the Maoists cannot be sidelined. The prospect of them coming to power remains, and their agenda cannot be brushed aside. Until UNMIN is present, there is a symbolic acceptance of 'two armies' since that was the basis of the Agreement on Monitoring the Management of Arms and Armies. And there remains international recognition of the Maoists as a genuine 50 per cent stakeholder in the peace process.

If understood in the context of this anti-Maoist strategy, the attack on UNMIN makes perfect sense. But it is a reminder of how far we have moved from the days of the 2006 political framework, the new balance of power, and how implementing the peace accords has become infinitely more difficult now.

READ ALSO:
How do we get out of this hole?, PUBLISHER'S NOTE
Special Security Plan falters, SITA MADEMBA



1. jange
Interesting.

And I thought that it was all done for me- the ordinary Nepali?!?!?

Silly me.


2. Nirmal
With all this dispute I see NA's future in danger. I tell a legend to explain my prediction little bit more clearly.

It's about a kid that was brought up to be very bad-mannered. One day he said to his father that he wanted to eat venison. So his father, in order to please his son, went into the forest to kill a deer.
Meanwhile, the boy was very hungry and his father hadn't returned. The boy went into the forest to search for his father. He found his father empty-handed. He was furious and out of fraustration he killed his father and came back home with his ribs to eat them.

Once he was home, he gave his mother the ribs of his fathers but the flesh was too tough to be cooked. She suspected that he had killed her husband. Fearlessly, the mother asked the boy If he had killed his father, the boy confessed. The mother cursed him all his life turning him into a dog. His brother set the dogs on him. Later his brother allowed him to run free chasing him to the ends of the Earth. Rightnow, he(the dog) is nipping at the heels of his father.

Well the story is titled "The boy was brought up to be a spoiled brat".

Moral lesson:

  when a spoiled brat is orphaned he/she looks for persons who would tolerate him but If it is about a normal person, definitely s/he goes for a responsible guradian. In NA's case non other than Democracy can be its authentic guardian. It would be suicidal for NA to depend on any political party. Simply because these political entities(you see including monarchy) do not have any eternal life. Today they can govern but tomorrow they may be disappeared from national politics. I thought CoAS Gurung being quite different than his predecessor Katwaal saap but he proves to be the old wine in the new bottle. Thank God I do not have any eternal belief.


3. Slarti
Satya Nepali cried himself hoarse pointing out the reason why we keep arriving at the same point of confusion every now and then. He should shed light on this now. 

NC and UML struck a deal in the hope that they would obliterate the Maoists in the elections. This deal was never for peace, the objective was political survival. Once that calculation fell on the wayside they have not had any idea about how to proceed with the so called peace process.

It is this which has resulted on Prashant writing an article which is amazingly insightful. He simply arrives at the wrong conclusion, but that is to be expected, he is a communist.


4. Janata

Interesting article and spot on. Yet it is the classic case of military Junta rule in its making. When the political leaders are insecure and hang on to the coattails of the militants, war becomes the politics by other means. Warts and all, political parties must come together and decide the future of the country, or else it will only be a lure for the army to take over. Despite our respect to the NA, we all remember the hard times we faced when the green uniforms squashed our basic rights in the name of emergency. Katwal's rhetorics might be fanciful and high sounding but basking in such tunes, only means welcoming the demise of politics. Military is good when the violence unleashes. Let it be confined to that !



5. Arthur

"Think about all that has changed since then. The king has gone and there is no common 'enemy'. After the elections, but particularly since the Katawal incident last year, NC and UML started seeing the NA as a partner in their battle against the Maoists. This is a historic and unprecedented shift in Nepali politics; the NC and NA are on the same side."

"There is almost a consensus in the 'democratic camp' that Koirala gave 'too much' to the Maoists, who are seen to have gone back on their promises. The logic of the anti-Maoist Madhav Nepal coalition was that it is not by giving the Maoists space, but by isolating them entirely, that they will be 'weakened' and forced to 'reform'. So keeping them out of power, and getting all domestic and international actors to pressure the Maoists, became a primary goal."

This is looking much more like objective analysis again!

Both sides should be able to agree that this is an accurate description of the current situation.

The anti-Maoist side will naturally believe that isolating the Maoists will weaken them and either force them to accept the status quo or else destroy them. So they are happy with the current situation.

But is it actually working? Who is becoming weaker and more isolated? Who is becoming so isolated that they see the UN and donors as opposed to them?

By now the anti-Maoist side ought to have noticed that their strategy has not worked very well. If they haven't noticed yet and are still feeling pleased with themselves it is only because they are not very smart.




6. rishav
BP Koirala once said never trust the communists, rather hand the country over to the King than these individuals, and he has now turned out right. He also said getting rid of the monarchy, "I could do over night but if that meant allowing the communists into power, I would rather hand it to the King."

At the end of the day however much these communists try to come across in interviews they all don't really believe in deomocracy, it's just a trick they play in hoping to attract the liberal deomocratically minded on their side.

Simple equation.

Maoist aim to get to power - 1. Take out the Monarchy. 2. Take out the political parties 3. Discredit, humiliate and take over the Nepal Army. Success to power.

Step 1 happened very easily, due to the help of the political parties, unfortunately to their detriment, the monarchy was actually a buffer sheilding them against the Maoists. Well with the King gone with the help of the parties, the next step became alot more easier, which was almost accomplishable untill the beast the maoist nurtured regarding it's ethnic uprising policy has became it's ultimate downful in the Madhesi movement. This radicalized ethnic group with crazy antinational demands of a virtual separate state has been the major hindrance to their domination in this step to power. I believe a pact with the Madhesi parties will ultimately come with NC and UML will then finally go packing, until then we will contune to dilly dally, sad as it may be.

UMIN , CPA their formation occured due to the failure of the democratic political parties and the monarchy to communicate effectively in looking at the best interests of the nation. Since we have invited their involvement and helped form them, we have now become humuliated by continual foreign interference. We even get middle class western looney bookworm communists writing on these blogs trying to have a go or tell off our own educated Nepali, so called middle class??( in Nepal there is only 2 real classes those who have a plate of rice to eat and those who don't) society. The irony of it all and will things get better, Yeah Right!!


7. Satyajeet Nepali (1)

Slarti, you are right. The Nepali media, namely NT, seems to have finally realized that they cannot continue with their LIES. Through some of its columns, such as this one by Prashant, it is beginning to admit the real Truth behind the deceptively labeled, "peace process" of Nepal. But they do so in bits and pieces, still not revealing the Whole Truth. Here are some bits in this article that the author still paints false veneer over:

"Koirala decided that the best way to bring the Maoists 'into the mainstream' was by creating a new framework and new institutions that could accommodate them."

=> Thoroughly empty claim designed to perpetuate the Lie that Koirala was some great visionary "peace-maker".

There is no evidence that Koirala had any ideas regarding "new frameworks" or "new institutions". All of these were Maoist creations (or Indian ones). Koirala just went along. His sole intention and focus was to regain power, even if it meant giving away "too much" to the Maoists. Long-term national interest was *never* in his mind. Besides lust for power and self-glory (being Nepal's first President), Koirala's only other motive, I suspect, was to ensure that Gyanendra did not succeed, no matter what the cost; a sort of an ego-issue, if you like. I do not believe Koirala had any other vision besides these base instincts. It was these "base instincts" that both the Maoists and India so masterfully exploited.

I challenge Prashant, NT or anyone to provide hard evidence that Koirala had any original ideas about "new frameworks" necessary to "accommodate" the Maoists. The truth is he had none. Appeasing the Maoists cannot be confused with coming up with "new" ideas to accommodate them.

I await the day when NT/Prashant has the brains to recognize and the balls to admit this Truth.

 



8. Satya Nepali (2)

"Few people in the NC and UML really believed in the new framework√Į¬Ņ¬Ĺ"

=> Of course, they didn't. They didn't have any!

As I said above, the "new framework" (read New Nepal) was a completely Maoist brain-child--with some Indian inputs, perhaps. The NC and UML simply beat their hollow drums around it trying to sound like they knew what they were talking about. Worst scandal is how the media, instead of challenging it, helped amplify and spread this hollow, empty, non-existent agenda.

The hysteria around 'peaceful solution' through 'mainstreaming the Maoists' is yet the GREATEST GAI-JATRA ever paraded in the history of our nation. And those responsible for it, the GREATEST BUFFOONS!

Nepal will move forward when Nepali people can recognize such buffoons. Ordinarily, it is the media that, as the "watchdog" of society, help people recognize such buffoons. But in Nepal's case, _______. (I leave the readers to fill in the blank.)

 

"√Į¬Ņ¬ĹBut they privately knew Maoist strength had played a key role in bringing them back to power through the People's Movement."

=> This bit is true. The SPA came back to power riding on the backs of the Maoists. Sad part is, this was totally unnecessary. The parties could have come back to power through parliamentary elections. (Think about it. Who else could have come to power through elections? Gyanendra did not have a party of his own!)

Yet the parties chose to make pacts with the devil (Maoist violence) rather than trust the electorate to restore them to power. This is the greatest indictment against our so-called 'democrats'. Even when an alternative route to power existed, they chose to take the route that promoted and legitimized Violence. Of course, to the loud applause and encouragement of our 'intellectuals' and media!

I await the day when Nepali media musters up the courage to speak openly about this alternate route (parliamentary elections) that it has so carefully kept under wraps until now.



9. Satya Nepali (3)

"The logic of the anti-Maoist Madhav Nepal coalition was that it is not by giving the Maoists space, but by isolating them entirely, that they will be 'weakened' and forced to 'reform'."

=> All I wish to do here is draw the readers' attention to how closely this "logic" matches that of King Gyanendra and his "royalist" cabinet.

Gyanendra's calculation in taking over power was to get all "democratic forces" to align behind him so as to "isolate" and 'weaken' the Maoists, and 'force' them into the 'mainstream'. If we have come full circle back to that strategy now, then what "progress" can we claim to have made in the so-called "peace process"?

Ah, the republicans have now started mimicking the king! Is that it? "Progress" indeed!



10. Satya Nepali (4)

"But it is a reminder of how far we have moved from the days of the 2006 political framework, the new balance of power, and how implementing the peace accords has become infinitely more difficult now."

=> This statement suffers from the assumption that the 2006 political framework was meant for "peace" in the first place. As I have "cried myself hoarse" so many times before, the so-called peace process of Nepal is the BIGGEST LIE that our leaders (political as well as social and intellectual) have spoken to us. It is the greatest act of DECEPTION against the Nepali people by Nepali people themselves.

=> The "peace process" of Nepal is the heavily sugar-coated code name for the "republicanization process" of Nepal. Eliminating the monarchy to increase their own power was the sole intention of each of the parties of the UNHOLY ALLIANCE i.e. Parties, Maoists and India. But to get the mass support of Nepali people, it was sugar-coated with promises of peace, new constitution, New Nepal and so on and so forth - even when these spin-doctors had no clue what they really meant. The intellectuals, civil society and media of Nepal are, of course, deeply implicit in this sugar-coating business.

Remove this layer of lies and you will see the so-called "peace process" for what it is: A BASTARD CHILD of OPPORTUNISM (parties) and VIOLENCE (Maoists), delivered by the midwifery of FOREIGN INTRIGUE (India).

It is highly doubtful that a process based on Empty Promises, Lies and Deceit will help build a strong, robust society. The "peace process" (12-point + CPA and everything based on them) is a LOUSY BASIS to build a country on.

It is in Nepal's and Nepali peoples' interests to scrap that slimy process and start afresh! It is still possible to salvage true gems from this ignominous episode in our history. The way to do it is to start afresh with REFERENDA on major national issues. Among other good things, that will take power straight back into the peoples' hands and make these errant politicians finally ACCOUNTABLE to the people of this land.



11. TheXylazine
I dont understand why we need UNMIN in our country. We need foriegners, as tourists, as partners in development and as gud friends, but not as intervening designers of destructive motives.
PLA camps have proven to be a shelter for criminals, and longer the combatants are kept there unproductively, more likely it is to become a brooding house of psychopaths , who already have murdered thousands of innocents in a vain attempt of fulfilling  their selfish, and unrealistic dream of imposing decayed-communist-ideology-guided tyranny.
AND we should be thankful , UNMIN did a great job, its a parting time now. so long


12. Arthur
Satya Nepali (3) #9. Yes, these "republicans" of the UML and Congress have started to mimic the king, exactly as you say!

They will become as popular as the king too.



13. Ramji

Very interesting article!  It has given a good message how dirty is Nepalese Politics! All political parties are playing games for their personal benefits.   

In the time of Monarchy Nepal Army was a common enemy of these parties. The kinship has been demolished by the concerted efforts of all parties; now there is no common enemy. Right after the election to gain their personal and party√Į¬Ņ¬Ĺs benefits NC and UML are trying to make NA their favorable partner to battle against the Maoists. This is a very dirty move of Nepal politics. This is the time to draft constitution. One day all Nepalese will come out against these¬†leaders. So these political parties do not have longevity. Hence, Nepal Army should adopt a fair and nonaligned principle. ¬†It should not depend on the political parties; it will be a suicidal move for NA.

 Ramji



14. Deep
6. rishav - We even get middle class western looney bookworm communists writing on these blogs trying to have a go...
Yes, but they have no influence anywhere outside the 7 of them that inhabit the internet and each other's meetings.


15. BB
Arthur #12: what makes you think the king is unpopular? He is probably more popular than NC or UML. Certainly more popular than you (Maoists). Got the guts to really go to the people and check?!

16. Arthur
BB #15, I think the former king became unpopular because he tried to preserve the status quo of the old Nepal and the overwhelming majority of Nepalese do not want to keep trying to live on less than $2 per day. The NC and UMLs together won less votes than the Maoists at the last elections and they have become far less popular since, because they were elected with promises to support a new Nepal together with the Maoists but have instead tried to maintain the status quo like former king.

I think it is obvious that the unpopular parties who lost so badly in the last elections are afraid to adopt a constitution because they would lose even more heavily in the elections that would follow.

What makes you think the Maoists are afraid to go to the people?




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