Dr. Bishnu Pathak and Mr. Chitra Niraula
The most critical point missing in the peace agreement is the mechanism to dismantle the prevailing ‘Culture of Impunity’. The issue of addressing the poverty and unempolyment is also unresolved. The most significant challenge to to the agreement is the implementation. How to make a ‘New Nepal’ is to be principal concern of all as there are still smoke coming out of the ambers, only a huff of wind is adequate to spark the prairie to fire again in Nepal.
November 17, 2006: The absolute rule of King Gyanendra paved way to bridge the gap between the Seven Party Alliance (SPA) and Communist Party of Nepal (Maoists) or CPN (Maoist) and culminated in the 19 day long Popular Movement II, also known as April Movement. The King and the Constitution of the Kingdom of Nepal, 1990 have been suspended, but the Parliament formed by that Constitution was reinstated and is functioning. Passing through various twists and turns, the historical agreement was signed between the Government of Nepal (GoN) and the Maoists on November 8. The 11-years long armed conflict was halted and both the parties have initiated for Comprehensive Peace Accord (CPA). There were different opinions from different sections of Nepali society on the agreement – some welcomed it whereas some others were critical and even against it. No political forces, except Maoists, celebrated the signing of the Agreement for three days.
The cadres of Nepali Congress (NC) have not been able to go to the rural areas despite instructions given by the one-man-leader Girija Prasad Koirala, the President of the NC. The CPN (UML) is dissatisfied because of the lack of party list proportional election system and referendum on Monarchy along with the fear of ‘secret’ meetings between the Prime Minister (PM) and Maoist Supremo Prachanda. The CPN (UML) is suspicious with the ‘pact’ between Girija and Prachanda as the Maoists publicly supported the PM to be continued even after the inclusion of them in the Interim Parliament (IP) and Interim Government (IG). On the other side, the community forces are trying to bridge the difference between the Maoists and the UML by forming front in them, which endorses the PM post, for either UML or the Maoists. Similarly, the pro-monarchy forces are claiming for referendum to decide on the fate of monarchy. Why these two forces (pro-monarchial and UML) are for referendum has confused the masses. The monarchial forces are also claiming for their share in the IP and IG.
The High Level Probe Commission headed by Rayamajhi has earlier claimed the King and his ministers were responsible for the loss of lives and properties during the Popular Movement II, but now he has turned against the stand of action to them. He wants to have the scapegoats from the junior levels and let go scot-free the seniors for instance King Gyanendra and his Council of Ministers. The invitation by the Indian Press, Hindustan Times, to participate Prachanda in the Hindustan Leadership Summit made the leaders of the SPA and GoN are skeptical to feel downsized their political heights. The 67 district presidents of NC (D) out of 75 have been pressurizing the party on the agenda for republic, but the leadership is confused whereas they fear the consequence similar to that of CPN (ML) in 1999 general elections (the faction splitting from CPN-UML got not a single seat in the parliament although it received 6 percent of the popular vote). Disagreeing with the decision to include Maoists in the forthcoming IP and IG, the US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, Richard Baucher, said that they would not fund ministries and programs led by Maoists and commented that the US is still treating Maoists as terrorists.
It is widely known that there are many treaties, agreements, understandings and consensuses done by the government, whereas the implementation and practice are feeble. There have emerged problems in implementation of the historical agreement between the GoN and Maoists within a week of its signing. The much awaited a CPA that was to be signed yesterday has failed due to some fundamental and tactical differences. What are in the CPA drafted by the GoN and disagreed by the Maoists? The key points in the 10-point draft of the CPA by the Peace Secretariat (where great majority of members are from SPA) of the GoN are as follows:
|1.1||Armed Action and Mobilization of Armed Forces||
|1.2||Freedom of Movement||
|1.4||Normalization of Situation||
|3||Multi Party Democracy||
|4||Basic Principles of Human Rights||Both sides commit to abide by Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Humanitarian Laws and Basic Principles and Values of Human Rights|
|5||Compliance to Human Rights and Fundamental Rights||Human Rights and Protection of Fundamental Human Rights (right to life, right to personal dignity , right to freedom and security, freedom to movement, civil and political right, right to employment, right to food, right to health, right to education, property rights, right of women and children and right to industry)|
|6||Dispute resolution and mechanism for implementation||
|7||Implementation and monitoring||
Dr. Baburam Bhattrai, Maoist second leader, slashed at the GoN for making public the ‘confidential’ draft of the CPA without consulting them by the Peace Secretariat on November 12.
The following are the factors for failure of yesterday’s Accord:
- Maoists claim that the Preamble of the Accord should include People’s War as democracy was reinstated due to it and that the Maoist People’s War has oriented towards political mission, socio-economic transformation and restructuration of the state.
- Maoists have proposed to add that the country has moved forward to CA elections, Inclusive and Federal Democracy in the issue of Permanent Cease Fire and the clause use, procession and of arms and use of violence shall be deemed punishable by law.
- Maoists demanded to proclaim the CPA and Interim Constitution (IC) on the same day. They fear the GoN is purposely procrastinating the announcement of IC.
The Maoists had intensified its armed movement across nation claiming for Federal Structure of Government, Proportional Representation, National-Regional Autonomy and Right to Self-Determination but those were missing in the Political Agreement of November 8. As they received tremendous pressure from different corners, they had put proposed Federal Democracy in the CPA.
Besides the Maoists claims, we find some difficulties to implement the draft issues of the CPA within time-bound. They are:
- Nepali Army shall continue to work for protection of sovereignty, integrity, development, natural disaster management, national parks and reserves, Bank, etc.
- No recruitment and transportation of weaponry by both sides; No person shall be allowed to move around with arms and ammunitions; Nepali Army shall limit its activities except issues on national security; and Nepali Army could monitor and check at the international borders and customs points for trafficking of arms and ammunitions
- Both the sides would publicly announce the locations of land mines within 30 days and cooperate to remove those by 60 days
- Both the sides shall not present with combat fatigues and with weapons in public assemblies
- Both sides shall return the confiscated private and public properties within 30 days of agreement
- No one shall perform forced collection of donations and forced labor
- Both the sides shall release detainees within 15 days of Accord
- Both the sides shall issue information on names, alias’ and home addresses regarding disappeared persons within 60 days of Accord
- Both the sides shall withdraw the political cases, allegations, claims, appeals and under-consideration court cases and the government shall release the detainees
- Both the sides shall without political prejudice let the displaced people return and use their property, maintain the record of the infrastructure and property destroyed during armed conflict, and rehabilitation and socialization of the displaced persons and return seized property during conflict within one month
- Both sides agree not to repeat past mistakes and gradually correct them individually and collectively
- In place of Peace Commission a powerful National Peace Coordination and Rehabilitation Commission(NPCRC) shall be formed to reconcile society and implement National Peace Accord by consensus
- The NPCRC shall manage rehabilitation of the conflict-induced displaced persons and families and reconstruction of destroyed infrastructures
- Local Peace Councils shall be formed under the NPCRC
The Maoists have threatened cadres of other political parties in different parts of the country along with extortions even after the signing the Agreement on November 8. They have continued prohibitions on expansion of and restructuration of organization and political campaigns of other political parties within their impact area.
Both the GoN and Maoists have upscaled recruitment to their armies as if a war was around or the preparations for a war were going on. The abductions, extortions and threats from the Maoists have not subsided. The common people are anxious of materialization of genuine peace.
Immediate after the political agreement between the SPAM, the central committee of the Maoists held its first ever meeting on November 12, 2006 at Fulbari VDC of Kavre district has made the critical decisions. Prachanda proposed a 9-point political agenda for restructration of organization in relation to the changed political scenario, including the following:
- Form a four-member task force headed by Ram Bahadur Thapa alias Badal to study on transformation of the war-oriented organizational structure, identify the list for the IP and IG and submit a report to the party within a week.
- Form another four-member committee headed by Nanda Kishor Pun alias Pasang to prepare exact statistics on Maoist combatants and weapons and liaise with UN monitoring team along with the selection of participants from Maoist army to IP.
- The 73 Maoist representatives to IP would consist of ethnicity, region, gender and socio-cultural diversity having competent political capacities.
- Discussions were held on Krishna Bahadur Mahara, the Maoist Tallks Team Coordinator, to lead the Maoist team to the government.
- Issue directive urging Maoist local party cadres to remain vigilant against conspiracy on historical agreement.
- Approach leftists and non-leftist forces for political polarization to form a Republican Front
A joint team of GoN, Maoists and UN Weapon Monitoring Team for Nepal completed the visits to proposed sites for Cantonments to host Maoist Army.
The activities and actions of Maoists seem similar to CPN (ML) in 1990s the then (UML). The commoners and laypeople have begun to say that a second UML has been born.
The people feel as if political parties have chewed pebbles instead of burger. The five significant agendas agreed by GoN and Maoists are obvious for delay: weapons management, Interim Constitution,
Interim Parliament, Interim Government and Constituent Assembly elections.
The most critical point missing in the CPA is the implementation of ‘Culture of Impunity’. Nepal is a country of semi-colonialism, feudalism and bureaucratic capitalism with a lot of money, muscle and mafia games. It is available in political parties to bureaucracy and judiciary. The issues of corruptions in politics and bureaucracy including diplomatic missions have slightly been raised in the past whereas that about judiciary and security sectors has not been raised. The advocates who work as mediators for corruption between the judiciary and the clients have not been targeted. Commission on Investigation of Abuse of Authority displayed childish pranks to control corruption and failed to operate as a competent, matured and responsible institution. The CPA has no provisions to strengthen/restructure it.
The issues pertaining to street children, trafficking of persons and populations who are bhoka, nanga, nimukha, rogi, ra ashikhit (hungry, naked, destitute, sick and illiterate) have not been addressed. Although the CPA has a lot of provisions on arms and combatants, it fails to deal with the crucial issues on downsizing the army, removals of and actions to senior officers and inclusion of Maoist combatants into army along with projection on what after six months in cantonments. Similarly, no word has been mentioned about Maoist Militia. Indeed, peace cannot be bargained and bartered with justice.
The most significant challenge to CPA is the implementation. Neither the UN nor any reliable and trustworthy institution is involved to mediate, facilitate and witness the current peace process in Nepal, which could have made the implementation more effective through their physical, moral and financial involvement in it. People do not have faith in stringent implementation and they use the politics, political parties and political leaders while reproaching and rebuking their children or neighbors. The Nepali politics, political parties and political leaders are themselves responsible and accountable to these because of money, muscle and mafia games they play rather than play with the mind. How to make a ‘New Nepal’ is to be principal concern of all as there are still smoke coming out of the ambers, only a huff of wind is adequate to spark the prairie to fire again in Nepal.
About CS Center: CS Center is an academic, policy oriented and research based non-government, non-partisan and non-profit autonomous institution registered with the Government of Nepal. Its purpose is to promote peace, respect human rights, enhance democratic process, and protect the poor, marginalized, disadvantaged and vulnerable (PMDV) people and endorse social justice and dignity through education, training, action research, action advocacy, capacity building and networking as a Think Tank, Center for Excellence. It has networks with 2,000 academic and professional institutions, including TRANSCEND, Woodrow Wilson Center, European Peace University, etc. in 76 countries. It is the TRANSCEND chapter in Nepal. It’s International Advisors are: Professor Dr. Johan Galtung, TRANSCEND; Professor Dr. Virginia E. O’Leary, USA; Professor Dr. David Seddon, UK; Professor Dr. Dietrich Fischer, European Peace University, Austria; Professor Dr. Brigitt Steinmann, France; Dr. Anthony Callow, New Zealand; Associate Professor Dr. Karen Valentin, Denmark; Associate Professor Richard Gendron, Canada; and Associate Professor Dr. Renato Libanora, Italy
CS Center, PO Box 11374, Share Market Complex, Putalisadak, Kathmandu, Nepal