Thursday, November 17, 2005

Somethin's Brewin'

Something is in the air. All 7-party honchos, plus U.S. ambassador James Moriarty have converged upon Delhi. Looks like the Maoist's Babu Ram Bhattarai and Prachanda will we there as well. This is democracy, 7-party style. "We must give Nepal back to the people, and let them decide," we often hear from the Parties. Looks like they mean the people of India.
(Pictured) The Apollo Hospital: Delhi. Future home and parliamentary seat of the proposed 7-party/Maoist government of Nepal.
Madhav Kumar Nepal, UML big-shot cannot even come up with a decent lie for his frequent travels to Delhi. Seems he wants everyone to think he's going to Delhi's Apollo hospital for heart treatment twice in as many weeks. In a lame proclamation Nepal says that "we were unable to get an appointment with the proper doctor so we had to come back." Now, wait a minute Mahdav, you supposedly tout yourself as being able to restore democracy in Nepal and you can't even get your medical appointments straight? Two trips? It's one thing to be snubbed by Sonia Ghandi, but by your doctor as well?

No, Girija and Mahdav and the rest must really think "the people" they are charged with representing are quite stupid: pulling this contiuosly unfunny joke time after time. Quit lying all of you and admit that you are talking to the Maoists and the Indian government because you don't have the intellectual capacity to make decisions on your own. No one buys this "health check-up" crap anymore. Really, this type of behavior talks downward to Nepali citizens.

Analysis: So, here we go. Big meeting on foreign soil to discuss the future of Nepal. It is clear that the parties will do anything to hold on to power. The last chance they have of holding any type of relevance in Nepal is through brokering a deal with the Maoists. They will sell their souls for this. Already the rough sketches of this alliance are emerging with some frightening concessions to the Maoists: Maoists are to get a substantial number of seats on an "interim" government prior to any constituent assembly election. They have also conveniently agreed to "stop thinking over the King's position" with regard to such elections. No provisions are being made, either, for independent third-party monitoring of any elections endorsed by the parties, so it looks like such elections will be open for manipulation, and in remote regions, Maoist coercion.

It's a good thing to have Maoists lay down their arms and join the political mainstream, sure. But what IS the political mainstream in Nepal? The parties and many in the Western media decry the loss of "democracy " in Nepal; but let's look at the actions of the parties responsible for this loss and ask ourselves if we want to return to the type of "democracy" where:

1. Political leaders refuse to talk, hear or compromise with opposing or royal views.
2. Political leaders cannot form even the most rudimentary national agenda.
3. Political leaders openly practice nepotism and favoritism.
4. Political leaders ally with terrorists.
5. Political leaders admit their inability to run a democracy by constantly submitting to the
will and judgement of a "big brother" neighboring nation.

All of this will increase pressure on the King. But really, it will be outside pressure. The parties will still be irrelevant, and the Maoists will still be despised. The Yanks threat to withold humanitarian or military aid is hollow; they won't leave such a big hole for China to fill. The U.S. must and will stay engaged with this King's government or risk losing an ally and a foothold in the region.

Any Maoist attacks on Nepalis, from now on, will be looked upon as Maoist/7-party sponsored attacks and open Girija and his lot for arrest and detention. We all know that Maoists in the field cannot control themselves under any circumstances, so this alliance will eventually lower (if that is possible) the esteem of the 7 parties in the eyes of Nepalis. They will be seen as the sanctioning body behind any attack occuring after their Maoist alliance is formed.

A new member: Blogdai thinks that the big NGO's who are bitching about Nepal's new regulations should join the 7-party/Maoist alliance. NGO's in Nepal run rough-shod over the landscape with their $100, 000 SUV's and total lack of accountability. No wonder they oppose a code of conduct. In this respect they have much in common with their Party/Maoist counterparts: They want to do whatever it takes to make money. Considering that hundreds of billions of dollars in foreign aid has poured into Nepal since 1950, resulting in NO appreciable increase in the living standards of the average Nepali (2000 Nepal Multiple Indicator Survey) one has to wonder where all the money goes? Well, one look at the ICIMOD complex in southwest Kathmandu will give you a clue; it is, at first glance, larger than the royal palace. Same for all the big NGO's and UN organizations. USAID's motor pool alone is bigger than most hotels, so no wonder these people are against regulation. They basically want to walk into a country, do whatever they please and never leave. Is it too much to ask for a little oversight?
In a typical feat of NGO arrogance, Nepal NGO Federation president Dr. Arjun Karki chimes in with: "(NGO's cannot tolerate government intervention." So, basically, Dr. Karki, some foreign aid agency in a far off land can plan Nepal's development future and the government should just bow down to its wishes? Let's open a nuclear weapons factory in Dailekh so that underpriveledged women will have full employment. How dare a sovereign nation try to regulate foreign activity on its own soil, right?



At 3:15 AM, November 19, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I share your point of view on the political situation in Nepal and i find it rather ironic that the King should be the guardian of stability and perhaps even democracy in these uncertain times.

One of your greatest criticisms of the democractic parties is the rampant corruption and it is implicit from your criticisms that you think this held Nepal development back. Yet there is no correlation between corruption and development. Just look at all the countries which are developing at ridiculously fast rates -China and India. China is reportedly the most corrupt country on the planet yet is doing so well.

At 4:01 AM, November 19, 2005, Anonymous Brit said...

To Anonymous - China and India have vast populations - I think you might find that these have a significant effect on their current development rates. You may well also find that significant proportions of their respective populations are feeding rather than benefitting from the development. This latter aspect is probably better correlated with corruption.

At 5:04 AM, November 19, 2005, Blogger blogdai said...

Development in and of itself is not necessarily a bad thing. Unrestrained and unregulated devolpment is.

Corruption, in Nepal's case, limited the amount of funding that actually made it into the field.

Corrupt practices also determined which type of projects were allowed.

Only a national guideline for foreign aid, coupled with an independent monitoring unit that enforces transparency will bring Nepal out of the NGO "money pit" and enable the introduction of aid that is culturally conscious and necessary; Nepal deserves this.


At 7:04 AM, November 19, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Although these points are valid, they equally apply to your beloved King G as well

1. Political leaders refuse to talk, hear or compromise with opposing or royal views.

Has King G tried to compromise with political parties? No. Being in power, G is in a better position to initiate dialogue but the stubborn monarch is not giving even one inch leeway. Is King willing to give up anything for the betterment of Nepalis?

2. Political leaders cannot form even the most rudimentary national agenda.

What is King G's agenda? As I have been asking you countless times, what is his roadmap to bring this country out of today's stalemate? He has none.

3. Political leaders openly practice nepotism and favoritism.

This is the most funny one. Are you claiming that Royals do not practice nepotism and favoritism? The feudal monarchy is built and sustained through nepotism and favoritism. There are so many examples. Do I even need to list them?

4. Political leaders ally with terrorists.

Insiders in King G's government are convicted criminals and terrorists (in a sense that they terrorize people). Paras has been terrorizing Kathmandu residents with impunity and Jagat Gauchan shot an unarmed journalist. Royal Nepal Army has killed more civilians than Maoists. What do you call this?

5. Political leaders admit their inability to run a democracy by constantly submitting to the
will and judgement of a "big brother" neighboring nation.

In current state affairs, all Nepalese are submitting to the will and judgement of King and his sycophants.

At 7:15 AM, November 19, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If there is no any “hidden bad intention” of government, I don’t see any logic to protest against this code of conduct. I firmly believe that the NGOs of Nepal should not be left freely. The main problem with these so-called developmental organization is “money”. They misappropriate money that the donors give them out. I worked with such NGOs for more than 10 years in different districts of Nepal. I know how some “executive” of NGO were able to build “multi-story-building” in Kathmandu. When their source of easy money “threatened” after bringing this code-of-conduct, they are protesting against it. I know many NGO-wala who is also in the NGO board (probably a chairperson), at the same time he/she is a paid staff of same NGO, where an accountant is a relative. Nobody knows how much budget is there in program. Staffs are forced to sign in the payroll where the mentioned salary is high, but actually they receive less. (When I was connected with such NGO, for instance, I used to sign for Rs. 12500 as my monthly salary, but actually I used to receive only Rs. 6500 per month.) Where does go the rest? Spend in the program, goes to the poor households, or returned to the donor? No, my friend! It goes to the pocket of NGO hakim…who build multi-story house each year in Kathmandu, sends his son/daughter or brother to foreign countries for higher education.

They claim that they have changed the ‘face” of each village after implementing program. In reality, (in most of the cases) this is a propaganda. If a donor is scheduling a visit in program area, NGOs staffs are sent in those areas prior to donor visit and he/she teaches village people how to answer “positively” each question if the donor asks question. When donor finally arrives, he/she is welcomed with “fool-mala and abir” visits some sites where the program looks better (they hide all failure areas), isolate the people who are supposed to tell the truth. Donor becomes “makkha” and returned to Kathmandu. NGO again receive extension of program with more budget.

If code of conduct can control all this, why not to implement this seriously?! But the problem is how to implement this… again the people who are supposed to enforce this are corrupted. I acknowledge that some NGOs are really good and working for people. I am sure, this code-of-conduct will not hurt such NGOs.

Bye for now.

At 8:21 AM, November 19, 2005, Blogger blogdai said...

Thank you friend for that wonderful bit of insight on NGO behavior.

Blogdai would love to hear more of such stories if you would be so generous.

We couldn't get you to reveal Which NGO you worked for, could we?

Regardless, it is a pattern that is all too common: preserve the funding even if it is at the expense of the people you are trying to serve.

Thanks again and well done.


At 10:08 AM, November 19, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said... well as of one hour ago this is whats transpired in delhi..


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