Showing posts with label World War II. Show all posts
Showing posts with label World War II. Show all posts

Friday, August 28, 2009

A DaMaJaMaKha Panel

(article sent to USNepalOnline)

I am honored to be a panelist for the United Nepalese Democratic Forum
event Sunday, August 30, at 11:30 AM at Yak in Jackson Heights. My
good friend Tek Gurung, the UNDF president, is hosting it. I have been
to many Nepali events in NYC the past four years. This might be the
first panel that has a DaMaJaMaKha presentation, as in Dalit, Madhesi,
Janajati, Mahila and Khas, and that is no small achievement. I can't
wait to show up and participate.

The topic for the discussion is New Constitution and Fundamental
Issues of Nepal. I think the number one issue is obviously federalism,
and there is the not so small matter of army formation.

On the army formation, I think it is for the parliament to discuss and
shape a Security Sector Reform bill. That bill will decide if Nepal
should have an army, if yes, how big, what should be the gender and
ethnic composition of that Nepal Army, how that composition has to be
achieved, and how to smoothen the transition of the leftover soldiers
from both the NA and the PLA into the private sector of the economy.
The US did that on a much larger scale after World War II.

On federalism it is a good thing that we have already decided we are
going for it. Now we have to work to decide on a map for it, and we
have to decide on the power distribution between the center and the

I am for a eight state federalism: Tharuwan, Madhesh, Khasan, Magarat,
Tamuwan, Tamasaling, Newa and Kirat. Rapti to Mechi would be one state
Madhesh. That demarcation comes from the original Maoist map. After
the first Madhesi revolution, the Maoists decided to punish the
Madhesis by sending Chitwan off to a Pahadi state, and breaking up the
rest of the Madhesh into three sub states. That is not going to fly.

As for power distribution, there are a few key items on the agenda.
One, should we or should we not have a directly elected president? I
think we should. If no candidate gets at least 50% of the votes, a
second round election would be held between the top two candidates. We
need that arrangement for political stability, for a robust
federalism, and for a clear separation of powers between the three
branches of government. All budgets and bills will still have to be
passed by the parliament.

As for directly elected members to the parliament, half of those will
have to be from the Terai. So if we have 250 such MPs, 125 would be
from the Terai. And then there would be the indirect, proportional
election part to ensure a proportionate DaMaJaMa participation. This
is about one person, one vote. That is what democracy is about.

Writing a new constitution is not really that complicated. We have to
get it done and move on to the larger task of an economic revolution
for Nepal that will last a few decades. The country can be
fundamentally transformed for the better in 20 years.

(with John Liu, candidate for NYC Comptroller)

(at India Day Parade 2009, the largest Indian event outside India)

(at a Bill Thompson event, Bombay Palace, K Lounge)

(with Bill Thompson, first black NYC Comptroller, candidate for NYC Mayor)

(Madhesi Picnic, August 2009)

(an email from Madhav Nepal a few days before he became Prime Minister)

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Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Is An All Party Government Possible, Desirable?

Is An All Party Government Possible, Desirable?
Worst Case Scenarios
  • Renewed civil war.
  • Failed state.
  • Cambodia.
Bad Case Scenarios
Two Knotty Issues
Solution: Parliamentary Supremacy
  • Attempt an all party government.
  • Form an all party steering committee.
  • Hold full fledged debates/discussions in the parliament on security sector reform and land reform.
  • Pass a law to force all political parties to make their book keeping public.
  • Let the parliament shape the idea of a new army for the country. A bill passed in the parliament would decide as to the size and shape of the future army. It might end up 30,000 strong, about 20,000 from the Nepal Army, about 4,000 from the Maoist Army, and 6,000 from elsewhere. There must be criteria - physical and otherwise - that all soldiers must meet, to be professionally determined.
  • Form an all party Land Reform Commission. All property captured by the Maoists during the 10 years will go under the guardianship of that commission. It would be for a duly elected parliament next year to decide as to what to do with that property. If the Maoists want land reform, they get to shape that land reform bill to be passed by the next parliament.
Who Could Lead An All Party Government?
  • Prachanda is an option.
  • So would be someone else.
Who Would Lead The All Party Steering Committee?
  • Madhav Nepal is an option.
  • So would be someone else.
Appeasement: Not An Option
  • They tried that with Hitler. Let him have a small country, he will leave the rest of Europe alone. Appeasement does not work. That appeasement lead to World War II.
  • Appeasing Prachanda's and the Maoists' dictatorial tendencies is not an option.
  • There can be no compromise on multi-party democracy.
  • Security sector reform is an option: heck, it is desirable. Land reform is an option: heck, it is long overdue. Federalism is a must. The Maoists can have all that.
  • What they can never hope to have is a one party communist republic. There we have to draw the line. The YCL does not get to engage in use of force. (Madman Prachanda, Hindenburg Girija, Youth Communist League: Prachanda's Brown Shirts)
Reality Check
  • But we can not assume the Maoists want an all party government.
  • If all the other parties come together and prove a majority in the parliament, they are the legitimate government. That is how it works. The Maoists don't then have the option to threaten the workers of the other parties in the districts. If they do, the state has to counter them.
  • The non-Maoist parties can not engage in appeasement.
  • All you need is a majority in the parliament to have a government.
  • The Maoists have to show they can sit in the opposition also. They have work to do to show they are up for multi-party democracy and rule of law.

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