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Editorial: Internal democracy: Anti-dote to tyranny

Editorial: Internal democracy: Anti-dote to tyranny

Major political parties have led a number of movements for the establishment and re-establishment of democracy in a space of eight decades. Successive generations of Nepalis have taken part in these movements, offering blood, sweat, toil and tears in their perennial struggle for cherished ideals like democracy, human dignity, the rule of law and good governance. 

Despite waves of change, popular aspirations have remained unrealized, by and large, with the leaders behind these waves of change themselves grossly misusing the organs of the state to fulfill their vested interests. 

Every now and then, the top brass of the big parties remind the public of their struggle against tyranny, including years spent behind bars and torture meted out against them, forgetting completely that one cannot live on their past laurels forever.
But the people often find in the statements and acts of their erstwhile heroes tell-tale signs of dictators donning the garb of democracy. 

Their deepening impression is that the more things change, the more they remain the same—in Nepal. 

Democracy is a culture and a way of life. Who knows this better than the leaders at the forefront of democratic movements?  

But then how many of our ‘champions of democracy’ have been living by their ideals after their victory against tyranny? Select figures of the big parties, for example, have been holding leadership positions for decades on end instead of making way for transfer of power by grooming their successors. Granted that transfer of power to the younger generation was easier said than done during the decade-long insurgency and the royal rule with democratic processes largely on hold. 

But even in the post-conflict scenario, practices aimed at promoting democracy within the respective parties continue to be a rarity.    

Such is the situation that the parties do not even bother to hold their central committee meetings, leave alone general conventions and policy conventions. That’s why, a party holding a meeting becomes big news and so does another party planning its jamboree, in a democracy! 

Having helmed party leadership positions for decades and discharged their duties as the chief executive of the country, it’s time our seasoned politicians did some serious soul-searching and started adopting democracy as a way of life. 

Freeing themselves from the coteries of their kith and kin can help boost internal democracy and so can regular party meetings. 

It’s time for our leaders to practice what they preach, if they really want to protect democracy from the specter of autocracy.