Those invested in the political system in Nepal are either living in a state of denial or day-dreaming, and that includes the pro-democracy intelligentsia. It should not take much deliberation to conclude that Nepal is a failed state, infected with political decadence beyond correction, characterized by kleptocracy and mafia-rule.
What is on display in Nepal today, in front of one of the youngest populations in the world, is not just befuddling stupidity. It’s a relentless interplay of criminal intents among the political forces. Polity has lost its ground of ideals and discarded all pretense of justice. It’s rather entangled in a naked power-play.
This era of technological shift has unforgivingly un-flattened the world in favor of the nations ruled by adept and collaborative leaders. It has rewarded societies led with well thought out strategy. And leaders with hardcore dedication to commit to the ideals, in the midst of a global crisis that has shattered power structures, have emerged as heroes.
Unfortunately, none of this is true in Nepal. What is worse, we have a concoction of criminal intent and a feudal hunger for power in most of the leaders at the helm.
We have wasted 30 years of democracy driven by the political parties that came as a replacement of the Panchayati democracy. With the king ousted, there is no one to be blamed. Therefore, the slow disappearance of hope is not just disheartening, it’s utterly confusing for the youth and has become a serious threat for democracy itself.
Is there hope for change? Is there a way out of this crisis? What will lead us out—a change to Presidential system, a new political party emerging as an alternative, or the present parties correcting themselves to be better version of themselves?
There is no indicator of any of these happening soon.
As the ruling party, led by KP Sharma Oli, and Pushpa Kamal Dahal, is in the middle of a fierce power struggle, the whole country is forced to watch in angst. The power of a near two-thirds majority is almost wasted. What could have been an opportunity to fortify growth through policy reforms and game changing infrastructure development, has been turned into an era of senseless stalemate. Half the government’s term has passed, and we are not even sure the parliament will complete its tenure.
Self-survival has become the only issue that the government is worried about. And the challengers are from the ruling party itself.
But how about the alternatives? The picture is gloomy everywhere.
The Nepali Congress, in the role of opposition, has utterly failed. And now, it also seems to be engulfed in a power struggle of its own, with the party convention planned at the end of this year. Recently, an ex-Mahamantri was expelled from the party for five years. Sher Bahadur Deuba, the current party president, has taken initiatives to fortify his hold over the party.
The Koiralas, who have been in charge of the party for 49 years since BP Koirala founded it 79 years ago, are trying to get the hold back. Shashank Koirala (BP’s youngest son) will probably claim the leadership.
More than half of Nepal’s population is under 25, and in the next election in less than three years more than 20 percent of voters will be new. That is a huge chunk of the electorate, and because they will all be young they will look for fresh, youthful leaders. This is where the NC disappoints as an alternative. Gagan Thapa, the charismatic leader of a new generation, hasn't shown a clear indication of staking leadership.
This is the gloomy state of affairs. And there seems to be no plausible best-case scenario out if this muddle. And there appears no end to the instability; in last 70 years, we have seen a change of government 42 times.
Will there be a rise of an alternative political force that can downsize the present political parties? Will we have a real stability anytime soon? The answer seems to be a ‘No’ on both counts. At least not without a revolution.
Desperate times call for desperate measures. When the polity indulges in dark self-serving pursuits, and the people have lost all hope from the system, political revolutions are the only option left. Will Nepali youth rise to the challenge that time has imposed on them?