Local Polls To Cleanse Polluted Politics
Barring an untoward incident, the local level elections are going to be held as scheduled on May 14. The local level poll is being held after an interval of two decades. As mandated by the new Constitution, all three levels of elections--local, provincial and federal--must be conducted by January 21, 2018.
The announcement of the poll date has instilled a sense of happiness, especially among the rural people. Until now, the major political parties in the country have been giving the impression that they are in favour of the election. However, the Madhes-based parties are still demanding that the Constitution be amended before the polls so that there will be respected representation of the Madhesi people in all the state mechanisms. Despite all this, the environment for holding the election has gradually become certain as the election date is approaching nearer.
Elections have a historic role in a democratic system. This is more so in the changed context of Nepal. These elections are historic because they have the real potential to reduce political marginalisation for the first time in Nepal and form real governments of the people. The local elections will elect local officials, marking a significant step towards the implementation of the Constitution promulgated in September 2015. The elections will help institutionalise all the political achievements, such as federalism, republic, inclusive democracy and secularism, and end the protracted political transition in the country.
The Nepalese people have been fighting for democracy and other political rights for almost seven decades. The struggle against the autocratic Rana regime, the Panchayat and the ‘people's war’ launched by the then CPN-Maoist against the Parliamentary Democracy took the lives of hundreds of Nepalese people. In all those movements, people fought with the hope that there would be a radical change in the country. However, the political upheavals only brought instability in the country, pushing it further behind in development. Hopes for ending poverty, hunger and leading a prosperous life remain a far-fetched dream for the Nepalese people.
Nevertheless, the time has changed now. With the promulgation of the new Constitution in September 2015, many political gains have been achieved, paving the way for peace, economic development and prosperity. The time to institutionalise these political achievements and usher the country onto the path of economic development and prosperity has come. People once again hope for rapid transformation in their lives. They are optimistic that hunger and poverty will end soon, and they can live a peaceful and prosperous life.
Out of the three structures of the federal set up, the local level units, both municipalities and rural municipalities, are the most powerful and significant bodies. The new Constitution has provided important authorities to these local units. Singha Durbar has delegated plenty power to the 744 local units. These local units are autonomous to carry out development activities, ranging from development planning to its execution without much intervention from Singha Durbar and provincial governments. These new units will be able to address the grievances and complaints of the rural people to a great extent.
The local units will be a self-governing unit carrying out all roles of the state – executive, judiciary and legislative, on their own. The elected bodies in the rural municipal /municipal councils will have this great responsibility. The people in the rural municipalities and municipalities can get many of the state services from the office of these local units.
There is a great opportunity for the local units to make a great leap forward in the shortest period of time if they became wise in the selection of their governing bodies. The authorities elected to the local units should be accountable, visionary and transparent. The rural municipalities and municipalities should select such leaders with right vision and dynamic capacity. However, Nepal’s politics teems with corrupt, outdated and talkative leaders. They are hell-bent on snatching posts for abusing authority and amassing property. They are not leaders, but enemies of the society, development, peace and prosperity. Such corrupt leaders have no plan for development. They are self-centred, selfish and can think of nothing but power and money.
The upcoming local level election will be an important chance to cleanse our politics too. Hence, we should be careful while electing our leaders to the local units. Priority should be given to the one who has an agenda for development and change. We should keep in mind that the elections are being held in a gap of almost 20 years. Obsolete leaders will not meet our needs, expectations and the aspiration of the people for development and prosperity. For this, we should elect clean and visionary leaders who can rise above petty partisan interests and are capable to deliver good to society.
We must elect young, energetic and technology-savvy leaders. Only such youths with strong leadership qualities can bring change in the existing political culture. But for this, we must create a conducive environment for attracting educated people with high morals and ethics in politics, and bid farewell to people with outdated approach of working. The political culture of graft, corruption and cronyism, which undermine legitimacy and governance, should be reformed. The time is now ripe for changing the negative trends in Nepal’s politics.