Nation In Crisis Oli Needs To Act Promptly:Mukti Rijal
Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli made an address to the nation the other day. This was his first major and important exposure to the Nepali people in which he took the opportunity to articulate and share with them the problems and pains faced by the country itself. The head of the government generally make such an address to the nation when they have to tell something special to the people. Prime Minister Oli in his address recounted the destructive aftereffects of the earthquake that hit Nepal on April 25 and the humanitarian crisis caused by it.
HardshipsThen he talked at length about the blockade by the southern neighbour that has obstructed the supply of fuel and articles of daily necessity, including medicines and health-related logistics, in Nepal. Prime Minister Oli lambasted the blockade enforced by the southern neighbour (Aghoshit Nakabandi) and mentioned that such obstruction and willful harm could not be imagined in the 21st century. He said that the hardships Nepal has suffered due to the blockade were even worse than those caused by war.
In fact, as mentioned by Prime Minister Oli, Nepal is reeling under the difficulties that rarely befall in the life of a nation. In the past too, Nepal did face such an adverse situation especially due to the blockade imposed by our southern neighbour. However, in those days when the blockade was enforced, at least two border points were not apparently disturbed, consistent with Nepal’s right to access to the sea.
This time almost all the border transit points have been kept under surveillance of the central authority of the Indian government. It is indeed the order of the central authority that halted the transportation of imported good from overseas at the border points. The most affected border point is Raxual that handles almost 80 per cent of the international trade of Nepal. It is on this border route that Kathmandu and other major cities in Nepal rely on to receive all kinds of supplies and logistics. In fact, the total obstruction caused at Raxaul by not letting any vehicle to sneak into the Nepal’s territory seems to build and pile up pressure on Kathmandu to give in to the demands of the Madhesi Morcha (United Madhes Democratic Front). What is really inscrutable has been the ploy and tactics of the UMDF to seek help of the southern neighbour to get involved in the internal politics of one’s own country. This might be interpreted as working in collusion with the foreign state to punish one’s own fraternity inside, if not acting to sabotage the interests and welfare of one’s own nation. There are, of course, some valid concerns and demands raised by the UMDF which need to be addressed by the state. But coercing the Nepali state to surrender to the demands raised by the UMDF using the intimidating tactics of the external forces would be considered as totally illegitimate and unjust. And problems may arise in implementing such an accord even though it can be clinched through the use of coercive and intimidating tactics. A mutually acceptable accord reached through principled negotiation, where both the parties feel that they have reached a win-win outcome, tends to be durable and lasting. The many accords signed in the past failed to be implemented because they had been reached through the dictate of violence and strikes not through mutually acceptable deliberation and negotiation. It is at this point that the UMDF should give serious thought as well. Blaming the southern neighbour is not going to help unless we correct our tendencies to seek external help when we need to serve our sectarian interests as well. It is against this backdrop that Prime Minister Oli’s address to the nation was orchestrated and articulated. And the subjects he dwelt at length in the address to the nation are, therefore, pressing and emergent. They are very much connected to and linked with the life and death of the ordinary people of the country. These subjects are concerned with the survivability of humanity in this country where crises have hit cruelly one after the other. Needless to repeat, the earthquake had killed around 9,000 people, wounded more than 20,000 and destroyed almost all houses and habitations in at least 12 districts where quake survivors have been forced to spend the days without the provision of basic shelters and protection. The reconstruction efforts and initiatives have been paralysed due to the absence of a mechanism to coordinate and channel resources to the places where aid and logistics are needed. The partisan interests and parochial outlook have always damaged the promise of development and social and economic recovery efforts of the country. Despite all his good intents and wishes, Prime Minister Oli has failed to demonstrate he means what he speaks. This is the time when the people who are in the power and responsible for governing the country should demonstrate their honesty, credibility and integrity by deeds not by rhetoric and verbose demagoguery.
Act nowAt a time when the country’s internal revenue has declined, national productivity has dwindled and more people are going to be impoverished, the nation has to bear the burden of six deputy prime ministers and many more ministers without any portfolios and responsibilities. The government seems to be too slow to rise to the occasion and respond to the survival and subsistence needs of the people. It appears as if it is not cognizant of the needs of the situation. Prime Minister Oli has the chance to show that he is the head of a government with a difference. It is incumbent upon him to act and prove it