Misplaced trust: future of the country in the wrong hands

After the euphoria of the so called April Revolution, the nation and its citizens seem to be slowly getting back into the reality of the situation. Especially their belief (if they ever truly believed) that the same incompetent and corrupt politicians would take the country out of the quagmire towards a brighter future is being shattered – those they helped into power have started showing their true face. The leader of this pack of incompetent politicians, no matter what his supporter would like to believe him as, is undoubtedly a certain GP Koirala. He has been the one who has been trusted at every crucial period in the country’s political landscape post-1990, and he is without a doubt the one who has betrayed the peoples trust in him the most. Let us go through a few of his political sins so to speak.

After the first general election following the 1990 revolution, GP Koirala was chosen the leader of NC to head a majority government for the NC, making him the first elected PM of Nepal post-1990 democratic era. Within a couple of years, we witnessed scandal after scandal – from Dhamija kanda to Tanakpur kanda, and very little progress in country’s socio-economic and political development. The same period saw the rise of corrupt politicians in Chiranjibi Wagle, Govind Raj Joshi, Khum Bahadur Khadka et al. The example set by the opposition wasn’t that good either – instead of playing the role of a strong and credible opposition in the parliament, they took it to the streets on every occasion of discontent, with numerous Nepal Bandhs crippling the economy. Strangely, within three years, the majority government of GP Koirala fell with MPs of his own party revolting against him. Who is to blame for this failure? I blame Mr Koirala himself. He was the one given responsibility by his party and by the people to lead the country in a new democratic era. Instead he chose to put his own interest over that of the nation. Put a blind eye to all the corruption within his government and beyond. And when the matter came to his position as PM, he choose to dissolve the parliament rather than looking for a compromise solution within his party which had a majority seat in the parliament. The example he set then has been followed time and again ever since.

The second crucial period in Nepal’s political landscape was the royal palace massacre, in which everybody but Gyanendra’s family died, and Mr GP Koirala was the PM at that time as well. The murder of everybody but Gyanendra’s family smelled fishy to everybody else but those in power. GP Koirala, being the PM, supposedly with the “real” power, couldn’t take a stance against Gyanendra to order a full enquiry into the massacre. He wasn’t strong enough to tell Gyanendra that the monarchy’s relevance was finished with the murder of King Birendra and his family, and that until full and proper investigation of the palace massacre, no proclamation will be made on the successor. Instead he was quick to proclaim Gyanendra a king. I am sure many of our generation like me were wishing an end to the monarchy there and then after the palace massacre. Instead, under GP Koirala, we found ourselves betrayed once again with a mock investigation by another rotten politician post-1990, Taranath Ranabhat, into the palace massacre, blaming everything on Dipendra and clearing way for Gyanendra and his cronies to assume power without any hindrance. It was like feeding snake the milk, only to find oneself being bitten by that same snake, as we saw GP Koirala not lasting long in power after Gyanendra became the king.

I think it is quite scary to see that same person, GP Koirala, as PM at this crucial juncture in our country’s political landscape. If we are to look into his actions during his previous reigns as PM, it becomes clear that he cannot take strong and decisive actions when it matters. No matter how politically strong people see him as (and within his own party, he is undoubtedly very strong), he has turned out to be rather weak when it comes to taking a stance against the rich and the powerful (like Gyanendra), taking strong decisive actions in country’s interest (like sacking corrupt ministers from his cabinet). Now, at yet another time of need, he is starting to show his weakness – by talking in favour of keeping monarchy when majority of the people seem to be against it. Has he forgotten what Gyanendra did to our country and the political system since becoming a king? It is rather ironic that people like GP Koirala are in power today because of the April Revolution, which is still being remembered for its anti-monarchy slogans. The parliament was revived not for the MPs to usurp the allowances and conduct petty debates and make laughable decisions (such as making COAS take oath to the Speaker, only to see him disobey government directives time and again) but for making decisions on constituent assembly election, interim constitution, interim government etc. Now, they all seem to have forgotten the purpose of the House revival and are content with the allowances and the benefits they are getting.

Who should we blame for all this? I blame the leader of the pack – GP Koirala. His lack of strong leadership and willingness to take strong and decisive actions when needed clearly shows that he is not up for the responsibility he is given. He has betrayed peoples’ trust many times before and there is no guarantee he wouldn’t do so again, especially judging by the remarks like that he made recently about “giving monarchy a space”. It is clear that the members in his cabinet, like Amik Serchan, are not happy with his remarks or the slow pace of progress made under his leadership in resolving the country’s political problem. Furthermore, Baburam Bhattarai’s response to GP Koirala’s remarks on monarchy signals to a difficult period ahead, which will certainly require a strong credible leader to take the country in the direction of a peaceful resolution of the conflict and to a brighter future. I am not sure GP Koirala is that leader. Nepal and Nepalese will probably be better off getting rid of this octogenarian now – before it is too late, before we are betrayed again.