Tactical Corruption in our politics
We have had twenty two changes in the premiership in the past twenty five years of democracy; neither did anyone complete his tenure as a prime minister nor did they perform well up to the peoples’ expectations. The ineptitude in political management has made the corruption an epidemics that all of the governments that we had in the past twenty five years shared and all all lacked interest in controlling the blatant corruption. If the taxpayers’ money is used for wrong reasons the economy doesn’t progress. The corruption is one of the reasons of frustration among younger generation that makes them believe in ferocious and violent leadership who use cheap political publicity stunt and also one of the reasons for the democracy to fail. Democracy needs a visionary leader with intellectual richness to make economic progress and sustain otherwise there are plenty of examples of failed democracies around the word. If we don’t act now, the debate for another constitution in few years is wide open. The corruption grows when leaders are involved in it, when they fail to see it or when their policies support it. Where corrupts people go unpunished, the economic downfall is inevitable. Many African countries and the BIMARU (Bihar, MP, Rajasthan, UP) states of our southern neighbour are some good examples to us. There might be no unanimous agreement on what defines corruption; however it is accepted that the private gain at the cost of public expense is corruption. The hardest working people being the poorest in a nation indicate that there is corruption at some level. The bribes taking places in the public offices constitute only a negligible portion of it; there is more dangerous form of corruption in policies and politics. A large section of our population was made to believe that the country would make economic progress once the monarchy is abolished and the new constitution is promulgated through people’s elected constituent assembly. At the time of promulgation of such a constitution, the party that envisioned it, no longer believes what it had been preaching for as it has been divided principally into several groups. Proletariat leaders of Maoist have used the poverty and illiteracy for rebelling against the authority but they didn’t have a plan to eradicate it. Their visionless actions have pushed the whole country several years backwards since the growth rate has been very low during past several years even under their own leadership. Many fringe groups are following their corrupt practices even now.
Political dishonesty might not be corruption in a legal sense but it promotes corruption. In absence of good governance and leadership, people follow whoever guides or misguides them. Even at the beginning of new era, the rule of law is far from being practiced, a political agitation ends with a position in the cabinet, law enforcement officers can’t take on the thugs, we have been burdened of six deputy prime ministers, and there is uncontrolled imbalance in the demand and supply. The architect of armed conflict, Dr. Baburam Bhattarai, who allowed corrupt practices like donations, ransoms, extortion, allowed torture, justified violence, showed no commitment to democracy at times, and who has been using the vituperative words like “enemy” to his political opponents is seen as a crusader of economic development and a democratic leader as he campaigns for his new political party of New Force (Naya Shakti). In spite of being an educated person, Dr. Bhattarai’s movement has contributed plenty of corruption of one kind or the other even though the movement abolished the monarchy. The dirty water can’t clean the dirt on the wall. Without controlling the corruption, no nation has made progress; a reason why the prime minister’s dream of making Nepal an economically prosperous nation makes laughable news.
The Transparency International has reported Nepal as one of the most corrupt countries in the world. The income of an average Nepalese falls below seven thousand rupees per month, citizens are deprived of even basic needs, and the EX VIPs are legally provided with imported automobiles and housing rent besides other huge benefits. These automobiles cost more than fifty lakh rupees while an ordinary Nepalese can’t even afford to have a bicycle. The homelessness has always been a problem in the country and the earthquake had made it worse. The taxpayers are made to pay more than one lakh a month on rent to VIPs and EX VIPs. It might be legal to provide them with the automobiles but it’s unequivocally unethical, since it is an ordinary poor person who pays for their luxurious living. This burden on common people is a tactical corruption. A politician sending his wife to the parliament under the proportional quota, or selecting someone under financial influences or lawmakers lobbying in the parliament for the approval of their business are conflicts of interest and they are also corrupt practices.
These corrupt practice have huge price for democracy in the long run, this is exactly why the Indian states of Bihar and UP are backwards. In past twenty five years of democracy, we have seen that people in power got richer by some unjustified means, and some of them enjoy public vehicles, housing, and healthcare on state money. Even the suspects involved in the killing are reported to have enjoyed state provided vehicles. The taxpayer’s money has always been used for unjustified foreign trips. The present coalition party supremo, who has been a leader for farmers and proletariats for a long time hasn’t disclosed his source of income. The so called revolutionary leaders became rich by fighting for the poor and became prime minister of the country but it’s the corruption that hindered them from delivering.
The new prime minister has recently put forth a vision towards ending the crisis of energy, setting up the gas pipelines, having the metro rail system in Kathmandu, making the supply of petroleum products easy, making Nepal a happy, peaceful and wealthy nation, and earthquake resistive housing. Some criticized him for making unnecessary comments, while others believe that he is a man of vision and he speaks his mind. As a democratically elected prime minister, he deserves support and moreover due to the circumstances under which he became prime minister, he deserves some benefit of doubt as well. However, the basic needs of people and the rule of law should be the top priority of any democracy. The high inflection rate (close to eleven percent), the inability in controlling the black market, having six deputies, not being able to talk with the neighbours diplomatically show that his actions are inconsistent with his visions. It is still a mystery as why the blockade was imposed, and why is it lifted now, why the constitution promulgation wasn’t recognized by India, and why the PM has been invited to India? Nepalese haven’t informed about why we faced the blockade. When the PM says he will not bow down to India but the constitution gets amended to please India, it doesn’t give an example of honesty; it looks like hypocrisy. While other developing nations are benefiting from the global decline in oil price, our citizens are paying more for oil in black market under the supervision of the government. The PM was reported to have taken taxpayers’ money for his healthcare and have used public automobile for a long time in the past while he was an ordinary person. Unless the allegations are refuted or settled, he doesn’t set up an example of clean and visionary prime minister. Under such circumstances, his visions remain doubtful, questionable and therefore make laughable news.
The corruption has hindered the existence and survival of small entrepreneurs in absence of which we suffered more during the recent blockade. It is due to corruption at some level that people work all day long as laborers just for bread and butter and remain poor throughout their lives. The hardest working people are the poorest people, because someone takes undue advantage of their hard work tactically. This is how the resources get frozen. The corruption stops the money and resources from running. PM’s visions don’t deserve criticism but there is a famous Chinese proverb “the journey of thousand miles starts from one step”. We need someone who has high level of political honesty and ethical values for others to believe that hecan deliver. Then the commitment is needed to free the country from corrupt practices and corruption of all kinds. The consistency in action and visions will then bring everybody together, economy will progress and the democracy will be stronger, otherwise simply the visions put forth will be called the jokes and we will soon be debating about another constitution.