Corruption Impairs Development

Kamal Chudal

Corruption is observed as a sin in Hindu philosophy. But when the Interim Constitution came into force in Nepal over a decade ago followed by elimination of monarchy and declaration of the country as a federal democratic republican country, corruption and irregularity have become widespread and entrenched in the society. The sovereignty of our county is under attack from near and far while secularism imposed in the name of inclusiveness, is posing a serious threat to the religion and culture that took centuries to evolve, thereby weakening our national unity and sowing an undying hatred and frustration among the people.

Nepal was declared a federal republic without a clear consent of Nepali people who were enjoying democracy under constitutional monarchy. Voices of protest in this regard were not heard. People want their participation to make decisions over issues involving emotional attachment. Now the people have started raising voice for a referendum, yet the so-called major political forces are turning a deaf ear to the voice. Even if they lack commitment and strong will to nourish and safeguard the newly launched system, they gloat themselves that they have faith and confidence in the system they have ushered in. Truly speaking, they have fallen in the gulf of uncertainty and unnecessary discord that could be kept at bay if they had been responsible to the people. The parties who are in government are passing the buck to opposition parties, blaming them as traditional and non-reformist while the opposition parties are blaming the ruling forces as anti-nationalist. Opposition parties’ silence over Ncell tax evasion issue has made the people think that both sides have similar interests for personal prosperity which is perilous in the parliamentary system. There is a lack of realization in them that people had not sacrificed their lives for their personal prosperity.

Large corruption cases are pending in the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority. Late Prime Minister Sushil Koirala once opined that CIAA was afraid of catching big fishes and accordingly appealed to the CIAA to bring the huge corruption cases under the scanner but it fell short of carrying out the tasks entrusted to it. Moreover, it did not pay any attention to the cases that have drawn the attention of the national and international community, e.g. cases involving Maoist leaders of mishandling Rs 4 billion allocated for their former combatants and the case of RPP leader Ganesh Thapa while he was the president of All Nepal Football Association. As CIAA showed reluctance to investigate into the large corruption cases, popularity of this constitutional organization started declining and at the same time political leaders who were afraid of being investigated into their cases took the opportunity to file a case of impeachment against former Chief Commissioner Lok Man Singh Karki, who was later sacked by Supreme Court on grounds of ineligibility.

Political parties rarely raise anti-corruption issues in Nepal but United Rastriya Prajatantra Party [Nationalist] took to the street over Ncell tax evasion case under the leadership of party president Dr. Prakash Chandra Lohani. The party has termed this issue as “mother of corruption” keeping in view that a corruption case of this magnitude had never occurred in the Nepalese history. United RPP is in a position to raise such issue, for it has the leaders like Dr. Lohani who held ministerial portfolios several times without losing any morale and the leader like Kesher Bahadur Bista who resigned from the post of Minister of Education and Culture on moral grounds in 2045 B.S. He, as a minister, took the responsibility when some football spectators died at Dasarath Stadium due to sudden severe storm and high winds. Probably it was the first time that any minister had quit such a high level position on moral ground in the Nepalese history. Similarly, this may be the first time that any political party has begun a street protest with anti-corruption slogan so as to bring the culprits to book.

Transparency and accountability are the two integral parts of democracy which the incumbent government has entirely failed to uphold. Democracy has been hyped up. It is sometimes being misinterpreted to make the hungry people brave and nationalist, due to which many innocent people lost their lives in vain. Madhes-based parties are leading themselves to hawkishness by building pressure on the incumbent government while the main opposition party UML with some minor parties is struggling in the street as well as the legislature parliament. The leaders of Madhes-based parties are receiving and accepting salaries and other benefits without preforming any tasks in favour of people. Their stance of denial in the parliament in its entire term is being assessed by the people. These two divergent positions signify no political reconciliation and consensus, thereby delaying the issue of economic growth and development until the next generation.

There might be several ways of gathering wealth. Out of them, bribery and commission are two of the fastest ways of acquiring treasure that gets an easy space especially in underdeveloped countries. It is illegal and so requires legal punishment. It is a fatal syndrome for a country like Nepal that is supposed to have a socio-economic transformation after an enormous political change. Unfortunately, our country has been awfully affected by this problem in the present era. In my opinion, irregularity and corruption are the main hindrances to economic growth and development. So such anti-social activities must not be conceded by the people who have occupied the places of democratic government.

Chudal is a central member of the United RPP (Nationalist).

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