Note: This is a unofficial translation of the first-ever Concept Paper, after initiation of the Peace Process, prepared by Prachanda – the leader of Communis Party of Nepal (Maoist) and presented by Dr. Baburam Bhattarai on Nov 16, 2007 to the Political Parties, Civil Society and Media.
The translation is a courtesy of Conflict Study Centre, Kathmandu, Nepal.
The serious impediments to peace process and political advancement of Nepal have been accepted by all quarters. The 12-point Understanding between the Seven Party Alliance (SPA) and CPN (Maoists) or (SPAM) was concluded on Nov 22, 2005 for democracy, peace and advancement. The political journey ventured through Peace Accord, Interim Constitution (IC), Interim Parliament (IP) and Interim Government (IG) and fell into peril, consequently the agenda on Constituent Assembly (CA) election, establishment of Federal Republic, and the forward looking economic and social transformation that has been agreed by both parties have not been implemented. This has ensnared the entire peace process towards impasse. The present critical situation calls to review all the earlier peace agreements and conclude new political unity based on new grounds.
- The 19-day long Popular Movement resulting from the unity of the Maoists, who had been waging ‘People’s War’ against feudalism and monarchy since 11 years, and the SPA, waging peaceful movement against the absolute monarchy, based on the 12-point Understanding ousted the king from power. The constitutional parties went against the 12-point Understanding and merely took up restoration of Parliament and pushed aside all the other agendas, diverting the establishment of republic away from the doorstep.
- After some hustles with the SPA, on June 16, 2006, the 8-point Agreement was concluded for democracy, peace and advancement. Again passing through ups and downs, on Oct 8, 2006 a political consensus was reached with the SPA. On Nov 21, 2006, the Comprehensive Peace Accord (CPA) was signed with the government and the confinement of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and the government army into cantonments and barracks, respectively took off. The IC was proclaimed by the IP on Jan 15, 2007. The conflict management and political advancement, absolutely through the internal efforts, without any outside involvement, is a unique model for the world.
- CA election on mid-June 2007 was the focused purpose of the Understandings and Agreements along with the IP and IC. The violent and destructive movement in Madhes, through forces that were not in existence prior to signing of the accord, were intentionally designed and instigated by the reactionary royalist, domestic and foreign forces to disrupt the peace process including CA election. The Gaur massacre was the climax of the counter-revolutionary forces.
- Reacting against the counter-revolution, Maoists entered into the government on March 31, 2007 expressing its solemn commitment to the peace process. The CA election was dramatically deferred. The Maoists declared the deferral of the CA polls on schedule as a violation of the peace process through a note of dissent in a high-level meeting of SPAM. Maoists forwarded the 22-point preconditions because of the deferral of the CA polls, the conclusion of which is CA can not be confirmed until the monarchy exists and is meaningless unless full proportional electoral system is adopted. Maoists resigned from the IG on Sept 18, 2007 because these two preconditions were not met.
- On Nov 4, 2007 the Special Session of the IP on the motion of Urgent Public Importance by a simple majority passed the federal republic and proportional electoral system, which has placed the ball in the Nepali Congress’s court.
Identification of the Key Problem
- There exist serious problems regarding the viewpoint of Maoists and SPA on peace process and political events. Although there are grave differences, SPAM has agreed to declare federal republic, which is the essence of all the Understandings and Agreements, IC and IP, and the Minimum Common Program. All these documents include the clause ‘forward looking restructuration of the state to address the problems relating to classes, ethnicities/castes, regions and gender’, and that is the commitment of both the parties to create a new political mainstream. The status quest outlook of NC is the hinderance to the political impasse.
- The political Agreements and Understandings will not be implemented until the unitary state power, security mechanism, bureaucracy, socio-economic dynamism supporting the monarchist and feudalist system exists. The incapable leadership of NC is the principal element of political impasse.
- The special geo-political situation of Nepal has invited the foul play and involvement of foreign power-centers. The evidence is the Madhes incidents after signing of the Peace Accord. The issue of serious concern is the lack of national unity and understanding of the political parties when the sovereignty and geographical integrity of the country is in grave danger.
- The lack of stringent implementation of the provision of conflict management in the peace process and widening the gap between the conflicting parties are the principal problems. The poor management and care of the PLA, lack of minimum compensation to the Martyr’s families, investigation of the disappearances, are the clear challenges of the peace process.
- Another obstacle is lack of understanding by the political parties that restructuration of the State is the restructuration of the security sector.
- Non-participation of various ethnic and regional liberation fronts, people’s representatives, civil agitators in the peace process and political consensus resulted in the increase of violent incidents like Madhes. Another factor is the hegemony of the NC in power division in the IG. Lack of the programs affecting directly to and bringing positive change in the lives of the people during the interim period is another aspect of the problem.
There are two aspects to peace process: politico-ideology and procedural.
- High-level dialogue to minimize the differences for creation of a new political mainstream, recognizing the differences between the parliamentarian parties and Maoists, and realization of the essence of the peace agreement by both;
- Re-commitment of both the parties to establish federal democratic republic abolishing feudalism and monarchy;
- Resolution to National Unity for promotion and protection of Independence, Sovereignty and Geographical Integrity;
- Build common understanding on proclamation of republic and CA election to be held as early as possible;
- Build consensus through a serious dialogue of the concerned actors on a uniform model of the proportionate electoral system;
- Restructuration of the security sector through democratization of Nepalese army and integration of the PLA; and
- Socio-economic transformation policies, based on peace accord and IC, to be implemented stringently.
- Formation of a High-Level Task Force consisting of both the sides to review the contents and implementation and recommend amendments and/or revision to all the Agreements and Understandings;
- An extensive political conference of democratic political forces like castes, ethnicities, regions, madhes, women, dalit, muslim, minorities, professionals, civil society representatives to end the political impasse;
- If necessary, effort to change the government leadership also to maintain the unity between the peace process and political parties;
- Rigorous implementation of the resolutions of the IP on republic and proportionate electoral system;
- A State Restructuration Commission to Management and care of PLA, distribution of compensation to Martyr’s families, and treatment to wounded, a High-Level Commission to investigate to the disappearances, a Land Related Commission and Corruption Investigation Commission as per the 22-point preconditions forwarded by Maoists;
- Dissolution of the one-sided Peace and Reconstruction Ministry and formation of a powerful Peace and Reconstruction Commission;
- Reformation of IG through re-division of power and responsibility in a new way; and operate the government based on the minimum common program; and
- Build political consensus and environment conducive to mutual-confidence prior to declaring new date for CA election, and the State and all the political forces to be unified to execute it.
Note: This analysis is authored by Bishnu Pathak, PhD and Chitra Niraula, edited by: Joseph Bergson, and assisted by: Kaushila Dhimal and Ganga Puri of Conflict Study Center, a think tank based in Kathmandu, Nepal and published in November 22, 2007
Part three of the CPA has 13 points dealing with the letter and spirit of the conflict management. The first one covers political, social and economic transformation, but nothing of substance has been done. Similarly, the second states to conduct CA polls by mid-June 2007 in a free and fair environment, but the date was postponed affecting the sovereign rights of Nepali citizens. At first, the date was deferred for two weeks. As Maoists joined the IP and then IG, the Election Commission (EC) declared it not possible to hold the election because it would require at least 110 days preparing the election. The statement was made by the EC instead of the PM or the government, and was under fire from all quarters. Maoists alleged that the domestic and foreign forces played behind the postponment fearing they would win. It also wrote the note of dissent in the High-Level Meeting, but agreed to hold election on Nov 22. The government deferred the date of the election three times without an excuse to the people nor did it resign based on morality. The third point deals with seizing and transferring the property of the late King Birendra and family to a Trust, which is partially fulfilled. Similarly, the property of King Gyanendra kept foreign banks on abroad clandestinely and those transferred from Birendra have not been made public. The property hukum baks (granted) to the persons for nepotism and favoritism during the regime of Tribhuvan, Mahendra and Birendra is not known.
The fourth tackles the respect of human rights, competitive democratic system, sovereignty inherent in Nepalis, constitutional balance and control, rule of law, social justice and equality, etc. but people’s right to life, liberty and security are violated day in and day out. The INSEC, local human rights organization, reports that 234 people were killed, of which 12% and 9% were attributed to the government and the Maoists respectively in the one-year tenure of Peace Accord. Similarly, the Maoists abducted 64% of persons out of 772 cases in the last year. In the Central region only (10 districts of Madhes), 82 persons have been killed within the six month period. In a year period, 41% Nepal suffered from either general strikes or valley strikes, regional strikes and district strikes.
The fifth consists of ending the unitary and centralized structure of State, which continues until date and lacks federal and inclusive character. The State restructuration process based on class, caste, sex, language and regionalism has not been initiated. The sixth stipulates to end all kinds of feudalism by developing minimum common program, but nothing has been done. The seventh deals with ending feudal land ownership and executing scientific land reform, which has not taken a step ahead. The eighth one relates to promoting national industries; is it not due to this that many industries are being closed and quite a few joint venture companies are quitting? The ninth point deals with citizen’s rights to education, health, housing, employment and food security. Nothing has been done to achieve these, even during the Dashain Festival the people in the Mountain regions had no food to eat. The tenth point states economic and social security for the disadvantaged groups, which has remained in paper. The eleventh one states to meet strong action against corrupt individuals, which has remained hypothetical, because the main alleged culprits are still in power in government, bureaucracy and so on. The twelfth one calls for creating a common development concept for the nation’s economic and social transformation. The thirteenth deals in employment and professional rights.
Part 4 deals with Arms and Armies Management. UNMIN is conducting second round verification of Maoist PLA confined in the cantonments, but progress is in snail motion. Nothing, not even policy development, has been implemented towards democratization of the Nepalese Army and integration of both the armies into a National Army. It was decided to provide the facilities to Maoist PLA equal to the Nepal Army, but they received the allowance for only four months during the one-year period.
The part 5 consisting of demising through neutralizing and eliminating the mines within 60 days has only been tried as a model, the rest are as they are. It also deals with the Cease Fire Monitoring Committee that remains in the document only. Similarly, it has stopped the practice of forced extortion and taxes (cash and kind) against law, which has not stopped. In recent months, there has been a frequent report of extortion from both local and foreign groups, although the Maoists claimed voluntary contribution. It also states to release the cadres from custody within 15 days of the signing of the accord, to which only high-level leaders were released and many still remain to be released. The government has not taken any steps to get the one and a half dozen Maoist cadres imprisoned in Uttar Pradesh, India. It also states to declare or notify the families the whereabouts of the disappeared within 60 days, but no one has been declared or notified yet. On the issue of rehabilitation and relief to the victims of war, it calls for forming of a National Peace and Rehabilitation Commission, which has been established in name but is defunct. A high-level Truth and Reconciliation Commission was targeted to be formed to address grave human rights violations and abuses during the armed conflict, but in vain. The pledge to reestablish the development infrastructures destroyed and respectfully rehabilitate the displaced people during the war has merely taken tortoise steps.
Maoists are pressuring towards immediate implementation of the federal structure of governance and full proportionate electoral system (resolved by the IP by simple majority). The NC not only has caste vote against these agenda in the Special Session of the IP, but also meetings of NC’s Central Committee and Parliamentary Committee declined to implement the directive of the IP. The resolution requires 2/3 majority in the IP to revise the IC. Some pro-monarchial individuals of NC stated that they would go against the party whip to caste vote for the revision. Maoist leaders have declared to change the government leadership through the streets saying budho goru le gai ogatnu mildaina (remove the old bull overtaking the cow). The gap between the two sides is ever-widening and reaching critical point – initiating political cyclone ‘segregation of the conflict state III’, which indicates messing of the CA polls. The Maoists have given top priority to declaration of a republic rather than CA polls.
Briefly, only 10% letter and spirit of 10-point peace accord has been implemented, which resulted a huge level of frustration in all tiers. More frustration is found in the Maoists activists due to leaders have started to lead luxury lives spending most of the time in Kathmandu and other urban centers. Activists are living with very poor conditions with limited resources and contact with leaderships. Such frustration is leading to more abduction to the opponents often owing to personal retribution rather than wider political motive. On the other side, as they are receiving an enormous pressure to resume people’s court (kangaroo court) and people’s government – ‘parallel government in district and local levels’ similar to before peace accord. Reestablishment of these have in some cases already begun. Indeed, the political crisis and uncertainty at the central level, has given some Maoist sectors fertile grounds to recommence them. Dr. Baburam publicly stated that if the House Directives could not be implemented, they would form parallel government both horizontally and vertically with haste, that finally opens the ground of urban warfare or people’s agitation backed by the PLA leaving their cantonments. If such happened, the violent, non-violent and criminal groups would be fleeing to India for their secure terrain, effecting the security situation of India. The nation shall lose its opportunity to materialize the peace process through the people’s fresh mandate. At this instance, the nation and people in general would be defeated again and only the weapons traffickers, traders and manufacturers, opportunists and conformist leaders and pro-monarchial forces would benefit.
November 22, 2007 is the date set for the CA election. As the election could not be conducted on the scheduled date, the legitimacy of the IG, IP, constitution and peace accord have failed. Nepali Congress (NC) Mahesh Acharya says, “All three parties – the state, the Maoists and the UNMIN, involved in the ongoing peace process failed to play the desired role for effective implementation of the CPA.”
In this condition, there is a big question mark to zeal and zest of people for peace, security, development and forward-looking change, just as Professor Johan Galtung writes: “Where nothing has been solved the violence will recur, after some time.”