Threat from within

Jagannath Lamichhane

Jagannath Lamichhane

Threat from within

Oli’s perception could have been based on the advice he receives from those close to him. But there are clear signs that he faces threats from his own people, in that he is being misled

Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli believes the country has achieved a lot in the past ten months under his leadership. While addressing the federal parliament on Jan 6, Oli looked calm and com­fortable, and presented a rosy pic­ture of the country. He highlighted figures that, according to him, were historical on many fronts, such as the annual economic growth projec­tion, revenue generation, remittance and more. He reaffirmed his com­mitment to strengthen five areas, namely the legal sector, government organizations, human resources, the budgetary system, and the audit system. He also responded to minor criticisms raised on social media.

There is something funda­mentally wrong with PM Oli’s perception of the way the country is being governed. He genuinely believes everything is fine. He is not worried about the situation of impunity, corruption, economic disarray and other everyday issues of public concern. While people are getting increasingly disillusioned with this government, Oli’s problem is that he is never ready to accept it. Oli’s perception could have been based on the advice he receives from those close to him. But there are clear signs that he faces threats from his own people, in that he is being misled.

The paradox of this government is that it has sold the biggest dream in history but has built a network of incompetent people in key sectors to achieve it. We have seen the fall­ing apart of most government insti­tutions and authorities. As in the past, every government institution has turned into a playground for political profiteering. If competent people get a chance to run public institutions, they can turn things around. Kul Man Ghising has shown how a single individual can make a lot of difference.

But the Oli government seems to be undermining the leadership of competent individuals in public institutions. There are several orga­nizations that are filled by incompe­tent people. Let’s take the example of the Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC), which has been dragged into controversy and which may give us a larger picture of the country’s gov­ernance. Unfortunately, Oli might be unaware of his own people’s involvement in thwarting his dreams for the nation.

The NAC is as important an orga­nization as the NEA in transforming the destiny of this country. It has huge potential in creating oppor­tunities and generating revenue. A few months ago, PM Oli force­fully appointed Madan Kharel as the Executive Director and Chairman of the NAC, against the will of the Tour­ism Minister and Secretary. PM Oli made Kharel the all-powerful direc­tor. It’s his second appointment in the office.

I doubt Oli appointed Kharel to tarnish the NAC. But it is increas­ingly clear that Kharel is working to ruin the organization, declare it bankrupt and hand it over to some private interest group. Under his leadership, it might be the end line for the NAC. If he fails in this mis­sion, he could be sacked anytime.

 A few months ago, PM Oli forcefully appointed Madan Kharel as the Executive Director of the NAC

Since Kharel’s appointment, the NAC has fallen into decline. He has not made a single effort to save the organization. We can critically examine the wide body controversy and the role of the Exec­utive Director in this regard. The NAC is facing a loss of 10 million rupees every day because of incom­petent management. Rather than making plans and executing them to rescue the NAC, Kharel spread wrong information to the media about its solvency status. It’s a pity that the head of the organization cannot even understand its basic financial circumstances.

By way of comparison, if we pur­chase some business property with a bank loan, do we just worry about the loan or make plans to earn profit from the property? We should cer­tainly be mindful of the loan, but we should be more excited about the opportunity, make a series of business plans and work towards making profits. But Kharel is doing just the opposite in the NAC.

I present this case as an example of the paradoxical nature of the Oli government. The prime minis­ter is tirelessly selling a dream of a prosperous Nepal, but in charge of this project are incompetent and corrupt folks.