Frustrated by the stagnation in the KP Oli government’s working style, a sizeable section of the Nepal Communist Party (NCP) is gathering momentum in discussing and evaluating behind closed doors the party’s as well as the government’s performance. Frustration is writ large in their faces, as the two-thirds majority government has not been able to introduce any significant measure with early relief to an average Nepali yearning for their basic needs being addressed.
Chief advisor Bishnu Rimal draws flak from every corner of the UML faction of the (NCP). Those who cannot get access to Rimal’s boss at Baluwatar and Singha Durbar blame him for the difficulty. Well, this is part of the risk involved in serving errands like Man Friday to a powerful shot. There are others who pick at his “arrogance” when dealing with the party’s UML faction.
Rimal’s off the cuff comments and acid remarks on fellow comrades, even if behind their backs, do not go well with the organisation’s rank and file, except the Oli coterie. His weakness, according to UML comrades in the know, includes trying to micromanage anything to do with the prime minister. His labor, in the process, costs him camaraderie and criticism from various corners. Ultimately, the helping hand’s style and approach would affect his benefactor the boss.
The Biplab group of Maoists last fortnight called for a strike, and most schools had to oblige with the directive in consideration of academic buds’ fragility and vulnerability. Pro-establishment supporters came down heavily on enforcing such closure so adversely affecting the education of the nation’s future heroes. The criticism is relevant and timely, except that the partners in the government resorted to similar strong-arm tactics frequently when in the opposition. Hence the talk sounds empty.
Nepal Bar Association President Sher Bahadur KC, in an interview to an online news service, complains that hardly anyone knos what federalism is and how it functions. He notes that the style of governance has not changed in the country, as the script remains the same, as only actors change periodically. Today’s rulers, he adds, say something while the opposition narrates another story. With the change of guards, however, the roles are reversed.
Indeed, power politics has corrupted Nepalese parties so thoroughly that small measures aimed at correcting the conditions would only prolong the people’s problems and sufferings.
Yellow metal’s lure
The annual demand for the glittering gold in Nepal is estimated at 50,000 kg whereas supply stands at 7,000 kg only. So how is the gap filled? Were it not for the supply through clandestine mechanism, the price of the yellow metal would have shot through the roof. Who could be the big bosses directing the “informal” transactions? Profiteers, with the capacity to bribe their way through various echelons of power structure and influential corridors, are a powerful lot. The stakes are too high and the lure of profits for those involved in the underground trade too tempting for the law to effectively cope with the challenge. At least, this is the case as of today.
No wonder, a rich buff in the trade, deeply engrossed in his drinking bout, was overheard boasting, “Money is everywhere. All you need is to learn to pick it from the right spot with the right channel.” Clubs and restaurants are supposed to be among the numerous places frequented by plainclothed sleuths who are entrusted with the tsk of closely watching for any dubious dealings and outright illegal transactions. But the big fish seem to be out of their sight and sound much of the time.
It is a shame that currency notes of small denominations are hard to get by. Taxi drivers are the worst culprits, claiming not to have the required change after reaching their passenger(s) to the intended destination. Often, the drivers thus fleece the hapless passenger. They charge commuters in round figures to their own advantage. This has been going on since long that the daylight robbery is considered to be a “norm”.
The government might dismiss such issue as incidental, in its drive for “railway connectivity” with India and China, as if it weere a magic wand that would bring about “prosperous Nepal, happy Nepalese”.
No practicing preachers
Dubious delight or what? An ad announcing vacancies for certain posts at a Kathmandu-based foreign agency the other day was reluctant to specify the salary details for the same. The said add read: “The salary and social benefits will correspond to the rule applicable to GIZ national personal in Nepal.”
In fact, this is the case with virtually all foreign agencies here. Quite a few foreign agencies in Kathmandu mouth a lot on transparency and easy access to information. What’s wrong, then, is there in spelling out the salary details and perks involved?
This scribe is aware of political bigwigs in the ruling parties or in the mainstream opposition making phone calls to foreign agency bosses for recommending their candidates to fill vacancies. The interesting thing is that such recommendees regularly net lucrative jobs, which means the phone calls do not go waste.
RPP President Kamal Thapa: “More than a million have been converted into Christianity in the last decade. Perhaps it is time to wake up!”