Nepal Today

Thursday, December 29, 2011



Kathmandu, 30 Dec.: President and vice-president haven’t submitted details of their assets for fiscal year 2067.68, Annapurna Post reports.
This was stated by the concerned government agency.


Kathmandu, 30 Dec. Election Commission Nepal Friday through a public notice asked political parties to submit details of their annual income and expenditure.
The commission reminded parties there’s legal provision for submission of such details.



Kathmandu, 30 Dec.: CPN-UML chairman Jhal Nath Khanal has accused Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai of defaming Nepal’s communist movement by, among other things, forming the largest cabinet in the country’s history and packing it with sleazebags, Maila Baje writes in Nepali Netbook.
Addressing a gathering of the party activists in Dharan last week, the former prime minister also accused the Maoist-led government of deviating from its major assignments, such as sending home those Maoist combatants who opted for voluntary discharge. All this, in Khanal’s view, has raised questions about the Maoists’ sincerity in concluding the peace and promulgating the new constitution.
At one level, Maila Baje feels sorry for Khanal, for the kind of inanities he has been reduced to uttering. Communism has been so thoroughly discredited universally that there is little one man – even of Dr. Bhattarai’s caliber – could add. But, then, you have to empathize with the UML chief. In the last test of popular strength, after all, communists in Nepal won nearly two-thirds of the votes cast.
The only way of understanding the contradiction is by recognizing that our heavily splintered communist movement survives in the debris of the ideology’s progressive decay, deepening agony and irrelevance to the human condition. Where it seems to be thriving, it is because of its external label, which is devoid of its internal substance.
In our own context, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the CPN-UML had to repackage itself into a deceptive People’s Multiparty Democracy. It retained a left-of-centre personality that helped all the second- and third-tier besieged commies in Eastern Europe to reinvent themselves as social democrats. The CPN-UML’s first chairman, Manmohan Adhikary, conceded as prime minister that “communism” merely provided a label.
The Maoists had to pander to ethnic, linguistic, regional and other forces to muster collective grievances and magnify them several fold. Sure, the “People’s War” was modeled after the Great Helmsman’s strategy and tactics. But the principal external drivers did not have as their objective the creation of a one-party workers and peasants’ paradise. In the end, the Maoists could not prevail in their principal quest – the abolition of the monarchy – without following the parliamentary parties they had once opposed with equal vigor.
Mao Zedong was too much of a territorially defined mortal to canonize his life and times into any form of a universalism. In Nepal, Maoism merely became a convenient tool for a motley demolition crew. To remain in power, our Maoists today have had to embody such diverse tendencies as corporatism, Christianity and homosexuality and fuse them into big-tent tolerance while at the same time peddling promises of that ultimate utopia.
True, there are statists today even in the land of the free and the home of the brave who have not given up. In their view, the comrades of yore simply did not do things right. Through several layers of analyses, the drivers of the Occupy Wall Street movement and the czars of Obamaville seek to lure shlubs and sophisticates alike by proffering a sense of direction and moral justification.
The media spinmeisters sanitize what is happening with the ChiComs, almost glorifying the system as a paragon of efficiency in contrast to the gridlock those dead white men bequeathed all those years ago. The Soviet Union is such a distant memory that the free health and education and lifetime employment beckon without a trace of their logical shakiness and practical shoddiness.
Dr. Bhattarai has been at the forefront of peddling precisely that kind of mendacity for so long that sometimes you wonder whether he really still believes what he professes are his beliefs. One is tempted to ask whether it is really communism that has defamed Dr. Bhattarai.


Kathmandu, 30 Dec.:For the numerous NGOs and missions playing with dollars, this is the fag end of the season for calling on heads of funding agencies, rehashing previous proposals as new or simply cut-pasting the proposals already developed by others but changing the titles, venues and some words in the "vision," "mission," "objectives," "input" and "output, Trikal Vastavik writes in People’s Review.
In other words, the racket is flourishing for those projecting themselves as "civil society" leaders, who sniff around for any opportunity to stake a claim for State-appointed posts. Many members of the various commissions and committees appointed by various governments are known for their tilt toward particular political parties. They have also made careers out of civil society activism that explains their luxurious lifestyles.
This author is in the know about a score of such activists, in various attires and incarnations, who take regular briefings from foreign missions and INGOs. A well-informed source with a high degree of credibility and public stature has obtained the author's vow for not divulging the names of the racketeers for "at least ten years"!
Quite a few of these INGOs are not even registered. Some registered ones, too, have given extremely low value to the regulations in Nepal. They do not submit period reports to the authorities they are registered with. Of those that send reports, it is done once a year instead of presenting quarterly reports. Moreover, the budget part is left completely blank. That surely is not the new definition of transparency, is it?
Not all INGOs are registered with the Social Welfare Council. But, then, the Council itself is in a mess created by the short change some of the officials are alleged to have indulged in. Investigations are called for. During the Maoist decade of violence across the country, in which 15,000 people lost their lives, some INGOs channeled funds to organizations and groups sympathetic or actively supporting the weapons-carrying militants. This, for example, is how "pirate" radio was run.
The rot is so deep that individuals seen as being "close" to political leaders have their organizations well-funded. NGOs in Nepal have acquired notoriety for more than 20 years. In the last six years, their notoriety has reached new heights of audacity and impunity.
The people behind these shops have enjoyed "win-win" situation for self-aggrandizement, both financially and politically. Financially, because the pay they pocket for hardly any work far exceeds what government secretaries or, for that matter, ministers officially draw. Politically, because they treat politicians regularly, hire the politicians' nominees and family members as staff for well-paid jobs that have little responsibilities and, the resultant proximity and effects are obvious.
The nexus thus created leads to influence peddling and upholding foreign agency agendas. The New Year 2012 will therefore ring in more dollars for the well-connected while it hardly spells substantively better for the vast majority of Nepalese, who have to eke out a living under enormously challenging hardships. For the money that the "donors" are supposed to be providing in their names amount to billions of rupees a year and yet not even 10 percent of it goes to programs that have a direct bearing on the officially declared target group.
Scores of politicians are known to have their proxies work at NGOs, part of whose profits they pocket. The "generosity" from the funding agencies is greeted with acceptance of the paymaster's agendas without questioning. That is precisely why the Maoists and a few other groups so vehemently lobbied for extending the term of the United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN).
It is now official that UNMIN counted 3,000 too many Maoist troops at the cantonments. This cost the impoverished nation a whopping Rs. 1.5 billion in support of non-existent troops. If the Indian embassy were to provide Rs. 10 million, it would make at least four stories—news of the support, news of foundation stone laying and news about the schedule for inauguration and news about the actual inauguration. This way the Rs. 1.5 billion would 600 such stories, thanks to the proxies. Lump sum collection is illegal.
A number of Christianity-promoting countries from the European Union were behind the move to prolong UNMIN's overextended stay. Angered by what it saw as UNMIN's clear tilt toward the Maoists, the Nepali Congress and the CPN (UML), which had earlier vociferously recommended invitation to UNMIN to monitor Nepal's peace process, called for it to quit bag and baggage.
There were even predictions of doom and gloom for Nepalese if the agency's tenure was not extended. Well, we survived UNMIN's absence hale and hearty.
Foreign missions and agencies treat Nepal and Nepalese like a low value partner, who can be swung around for a pittance. This is also borne by the casualness in which Nepal's bid for a seat on the UN Security Council was defeated ignominiously, only to suffer another humiliating setback when an ex-bureaucrat of the UN, Kul Chandra Gautam, was fielded for the UN General Assembly Chair.
There are dozens of deputies to the UN General Secretary. Gautam, who spent almost his entire life and career before deciding to fly over to Nepal in retirement, managed to worm his way into some leftist groups' confidence and obtained the government's nomination. Predictably to any objective analyst but shockingly to those putting unwanted faith in the retired UN staff, Nepal's candidate lost badly.

Suggestions that Nepal withdraw its nominee's candidacy and earn goodwill from the rival candidate's government were brushed aside. As if the rest of the world were naïve like most us, the Madhav Kumar Nepal government appointed Gautam advisor to the prime minister when only a few months remained for the contest.
Gautam's name was also circulated through SMS and such other networks for the job of the country's first president when Girija Prasad Koirala himself was an ardent aspirant gone painfully disappointed and Ram Baran Yadav eventually made it to the post through an intriguing play behind the curtains.
Gautam's name again cropped up for the commission constituted in November for coming up with a report-cum-recommendation on the restructuring of the state, a task the gargantuan 601-member Legislative-Parliament could not complete in almost the twice the timeframe originally mandated. Unless he is chronically hard on hearing, some should tell the chap to retire for good and collect his pension in dollars in Nepal or in New York.


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