Prosperity eludes a nation built on deception: Ramhari Khatiwada

Krishna Timalsina

February 11, 2024


Prosperity eludes a nation built on deception: Ramhari Khatiwada

KATHMANDU: The erosion of public faith in the governance system is palpable, with state-protected crimes contributing to a weakening trust in the authorities.

Despite reassuring rhetoric from the state apparatus, citizens remain disillusioned with a justice system that seems elusive.

A concerning trend has emerged where individuals arrested for investigation are mysteriously admitted to hospitals, only to be swiftly discharged by a judge.

This leaves the public grappling with confusion and a sense of injustice.

In this nation, a glaring disparity in the application of the law exists between the privileged and the less fortunate.

The fervent cries of the people’s representatives in parliament seem to fall on deaf ears.

Governmental disregard for warnings from the parliamentary committee against corruption exacerbates the problem.

The lack of coordination among the key organs of the government creates an internal conflict akin to that of a plaintiff and a defendant.

Questions linger: Why has the country struggled to embrace a robust legal system and effective governance?

What prevents the parliament from holding the government accountable for its missteps?

In the face of widely publicized cases of irregularities and corruption, the parliamentary committee’s actions come under scrutiny.

In a candid conversation with Krishna Timalsina, Nepali Congress lawmaker and Chairman of State Affairs and Good Governance Committee Ramhari Khatiwada sheds light on these pressing issues.

There is widespread disenchantment among citizens towards the state, and the system of governance is perceived to have collapsed. What is the committee under your leadership doing to reduce the frustration of the people?

It may be true to some extent that the system of governance itself has collapsed.

A powerful government mandated by the people did not last for a certain period of time.

The fate of the two governments formed after the constitution was the same. It has damaged public trust.

Another election was held, and provisions in the constitution were called inclusive. However, there was no possibility of forming a majority government.

A government had to be formed by including everyone. That tradition continued. Even now we are in the same iteration.

It is true that we have not been able to give the feeling of good governance because of that. Its main problem is individualistic selfishness.

Is the inefficiency in the committee a result of a weak foundation in the past?

It should not be assumed that the foundation was weak initially.

It is our responsibility to strengthen the committee. Together we can strengthen the foundation of the committee.

Even after repeatedly summoning the Prime Minister, Home Minister, head of security agencies, and authority officials and giving instructions, why nothing worked?

The committee is not solely providing instructions; we have earnestly addressed the grave issue of youth killings in Balkumari.

The government, being an embodiment of parliamentary deliberations, derives its perspectives from the Parliament.

In the event of the government diverging from the recommendations of the parliamentary committee, the very wellspring of governance could potentially run dry.

Hence, it is imperative that our directives are adhered to by the government.

Looking at the continuity of the past, are the morals of responsible officials also connected?

We have proposed a legislation named the Study Monitoring Bill, paving the way for decisive measures in case of negligence in fulfilling responsibilities.

To reinforce accountability, we are gearing up to pass the Monitoring and Evaluation Bill.

This legislation will empower us to take action against construction companies, government parties, ministers, and secretaries who fall short in meeting their obligations.

The prospect of enforcing these measures invigorates our commitment to purposeful work.

The Home Minister and security personnel appeared before the committee to address the Balkumari incident. How can we expect to achieve results if the inclination is merely towards providing answers rather than initiating substantive changes in our approach and working methods?

Situations are not always the same. When someone commits wrongdoing, they must face legal consequences, and we strive to ensure that.

A nation cannot be constructed on a foundation of consistently bending or deceiving its people.

The populace will endure perpetual suffering as long as there is a disparity between the government’s words and actions.

People will not endorse this political approach indefinitely. Recognizing that without the support of the people, our efforts are futile, we must adopt a more thoughtful and considerate approach.

The good work done by this government was not supported by the ruling coalition. Why did this happen?

Despite the government’s attempts to address various issues, it has struggled to reach satisfactory conclusions.

Following challenges such as the Bhutanese refugee crisis, the Baluwatar land issue, and the gold scandal, a new concern has emerged regarding land in Bansbari.

These incidents have left citizens disheartened. Reports now highlight instances of deception within cooperatives, with individuals expressing that their funds were misappropriated.

It is crucial to put an end to the practice of procrastination and ensure decisive action on these matters.

Is it accurate to assert that the Nepali Congress is hindering the completion of the investigation?

If that were true, the Nepali Congress would have opposed the opening of the investigation file.

It is imperative to uphold the rule of law until its conclusion.

The court’s decision must be respected without interference.

It is crucial to convey the message that the government is actively working, fostering public understanding.

How have you moved forward by coordinating with other parliamentary committees?

We are progressing collaboratively with everyone having designated responsibilities. It’s possible that others are also contributing. Our actions align with our policies, adhering to established rules and parliamentary regulations.

The Bill concerning the Constitutional Council and the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority has reached its final stages. After four to five days of discussion, the CPN-UML associates are seemingly on standby as we approach the conclusion. Could you provide insight into this matter?

There is a dispute over the interpretation of the majority when appointing individuals to the Constitutional Council, specifically whether the chairman is included in the majority or excluded from it.

When KP Oli introduced the ordinance, he included the Chairman in the majority, with the Prime Minister serving as the Chairman of the Constitutional Council.

Now, the Prime Minister has presented it with both the chairman and majority member roles.

The emphasis is on the terms “president” and “majority,” with the UMLs constituting the majority, excluding the President.

In the creation of constitutions and laws, it is important to recognize that tomorrow the roles of the ruling and opposition parties may interchange.

Currently, the Constitutional Council consists of the Prime Minister, Speaker of the National Assembly, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Leader of the Opposition, and Chief Justice.

Any assertion of a majority other than the Prime Minister within this context is considered contrary to the parliamentary system.

The prime minister is elected by the majority of the parliament, but if there is a system of deciding against him by a minority, there may be a question.

Therefore, we should not pass any Bill of the Constitutional Council which would undermine this system.

Why is the Third Amendment Bill of the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority stalled?

We will engage in discussions with all stakeholders, including those considering a transition to the private sector.

A comprehensive study is essential to determine the feasibility of entering the private sector.

Additionally, we will deliberate on strategies for managing anonymous complaints.

Is there a growing inclination within the Nepali Congress to refrain from compromising on principles and potentially severing alliances? How can this trend be effectively addressed to mitigate the risk of losing the 2084 BS election and forfeiting the party’s opportunity to attain power?

Irrespective of the leader of any political party, the collective objective remains the creation of a prosperous nation and well-being for its citizens through governance.

It’s essential not to harbor the misconception that only one party can enter the government while others cannot.

Serving the public interest can be achieved by participating in the government.

The opposition, too, plays a crucial role in voicing concerns.

However, when opportunities arise to contribute to the nation’s development, inclusivity should be prioritized.

We should strategically form alliances where necessary, steering away from alliances where they are unwarranted.

The shared aspiration, regardless of political affiliations, is to foster a flourishing country and prosperous populace.

Is the current coalition government effectively serving the interests of the people?

Not everything has been accomplished, but there is a sense of obligation.

The economic situation in Nepal does not align with our initial expectations. The government has made efforts to address the necessary tasks.

Should there be a reconsideration of federalism?

It has been noted that the province has become burdensome, with provincial ministers and officials primarily stationed, hindering effective facilitation of local-level operations. This issue requires careful management.

Do you not believe that this matter has heightened frustration and anger across the entire public?

We acknowledge the situation. The proliferation of parliaments has been observed.

There is a perception that the provinces are not functioning as anticipated, the envisioned federalism has not materialized, and the expected job opportunities have not come to fruition.

Instances of corruption have also risen, contributing to an escalation of public discontent.

It is imperative that we address these concerns comprehensively and work towards improvement.