Nepal Exercising Partyocracy

Nepal exercising partyocracy:

Prof Johan Galtung

Prof. Galtung

KATHMANDU: Visiting Norwegian Professor Johan Galtung said no substantial change except ‘partyocracy’ had been achieved after UCPN-Maoist joined mainstream politics.

Also known as the father of peace studies‚ Professor Galtung is in Kathmandu to take stock on changes since the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in November 2006‚ which brought the former insurgents to the capital from the jungle.

“One state‚ two armies‚ monarchy and direct autocracy are nowhere in sight‚” he said in an interview with The Himalayan Times. “But‚ things are still the same. No constitution in sight‚ there is no parliament‚ no elected government‚ no body to deal with the reconciliation process and no reduction in state of inequality. There is no democracy‚ only partyocracy‚ (a political malady where a handful of parties threaten the institutions of parliamentary democracy)‚” he said.

Although disagreement on federalism based on ethnicity and identity was glaringly evident just before the dissolution of the CA‚ Galtung said identity-based federalism would be better for Nepal. He‚ however‚ said out of 25 federal countries‚ only four‚ namely India‚ Malaysia‚ Belgium and Switzerland have demarked provinces on the basis of identity. “An alternative model useful for Nepal would be a combination of Malaysian and Indian federalism‚” he continued. “I don’t think you should go to western countries‚ may be the United States for the idea.”

Though the Interim Constitution declared Nepal a federal republic‚ he said‚ Nepal is still not a federal country due to partyocracy. He said Nepali parties are quite good in the blame-game every time they fail.

On dissolution of the Constituent Assembly and failure to adopt a constitution‚ Galtung said it was a ploy of ‘Kathmandu’ against the rest of society.

He said Nepal is a highly centralised country and Kathmandu is at the top. According to him‚ Kathmandu is not only the Capital but also a mind-set that ignores others. The dissolution of the Assembly was again a Kathmandu-game. Kings‚ Ranas‚ feudal lords all played this game‚ and now the parties are playing it. “They mainly agree on one thing — exploit the people‚” he stated.

Referring to the situation as a cancerous disease‚ he warned that if immediate therapy was not done‚ the prognosis would be the beginning of “new kind of violence”. “If you want to do therapy‚ you need to lift the bottom two-third people up‚” said Galtung‚ who has experience of conflict mediation in as many as 150 countries.

According to the professor‚ much could have been achieved and easily in this regard in the context of 2006‚ when the situation was flexible. Maoist insurgency was against the Kathmandu-game in principle‚ but the idea has been pushed to the back burner since Maoists joined the Kathmandu-game.

“No political party‚ organisation or government has connected with the grass-root people‚” he said. He said a handful of political parties could not decide on federal states‚ the issue should be given to the people to decide. “A referendum can be a method‚” he suggested‚ saying. “[But] I cannot impose‚ only propose.”

The professor said the best way to mediate in conflict is through creativity‚ but this is grossly lacking among Nepali leaders. “Creativity could be learned from the experience of others as well.”

In the course of his visit‚ Galtung will call on the President‚ top government officials‚ party leaders‚ civil society representatives and professional bodies.

He challenged the ruling UCPN-Maoist to fulfil even a single point of its 40-point demand submitted to the government before launching “People’s War” in February 1996. “My only suggestion to them is don’t try to change Nepal as a whole‚ just try to focus on the local community.”

On a different note‚ he said the idea of appointing incumbent Chief Justice‚ as new Prime Minister was a “move towards technocracy”‚ where the government does not have direct people’s mandate. “It’s a reaction to partyocracy‚” he said.

The Himalayan Times Daily, February 15, 2013

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