Democracy in Distress? « Khabarhub
Monday, June 24th, 2024

Democracy in Distress?



Reflecting on the tumultuous and undemocratic events of last week in the House of Representatives, I am compelled to invoke the words of Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States: “I must stand with anybody that stands right, and stand with him while he is right, and part with him when he goes wrong.”

As a constituent of Kathmandu Constituency-5, I assert my right to support leaders who uphold integrity and to withdraw that support when they deviate from it.

While democracy is inherently noisy and chaotic, the recent conduct of Nepal’s parliamentarians has transcended mere messiness, bordering on shameful disregard for democratic principles and public trust.

For those of us without strong political affiliations, the antics witnessed in the House of Representatives (HoR) were not just irritating but deeply confounding.

The scenes of Nepali Congress (NC) leader Dhanraj Gurung’s outburst, once considered a figure of moderation, and the deplorable act of a female lawmaker pulling another’s saree, were appalling displays unbecoming of elected representatives.

Despite attempts to shift blame onto each other, both ruling and opposition parties share culpability for the chaos.

Their descent into verbal and physical confrontation reflects a broader deterioration of political discourse in Nepal.

Such behavior begs the question: Were these lawmakers elected to uphold constitutional values or to indulge in theatrics?

The lack of accountability among these lawmakers, coupled with their readiness to dismiss criticism, fuels public outrage and erodes faith in the democratic process.

While not all politicians succumb to such behavior, the actions of the few tarnish the reputation of the entire political class both domestically and internationally.

I must say that the root of the issue lies in a flawed electoral system that rewards loyalty over competence and integrity.

Additionally, initiatives aimed at enhancing civic education and awareness can empower citizens to make informed choices at the ballot box and hold their elected representatives accountable for their actions.

Nepali politics has seen individuals rejected by voters elevated to positions of power (including in the National Assembly) through party patronage or manipulation of electoral loopholes. This undermines the very essence of democracy and undermines public trust in the political establishment.

I believe that it is imperative to reform the electoral system to ensure that only qualified, ethical, and accountable individuals occupy positions of authority. Just as candidates in other professions undergo rigorous vetting processes, lawmakers should be subject to similar scrutiny.

The electorate deserves representatives who prioritize the common good over partisan interests and personal gain. When citizens cast their votes, they do so with the expectation of responsible governance and socio-economic progress, not the spectacle of unruly behavior and political infighting.

The criminalization of politics and the presence of undisciplined lawmakers threaten the fabric of Nepali society and hinder progress towards a more inclusive and prosperous future.

To safeguard democracy, political parties must foster a culture of integrity and accountability within their ranks and lawmakers should be agents of positive change, not impediments to progress. Only then can Nepal realize its full potential as a vibrant and thriving democracy.

However, addressing the systemic issues plaguing Nepali politics requires a multifaceted approach that goes beyond electoral reforms. It demands a concerted effort to nurture a political culture that values transparency, inclusivity, and the rule of law.

One of the primary challenges facing Nepal’s democracy is the pervasive influence of money and muscle power in politics. The practice of buying votes and using intimidation tactics to manipulate election outcomes undermines the democratic process and disenfranchises ordinary citizens.

To combat this scourge, stringent laws must be enacted to regulate campaign financing and curb the influence of vested interests in politics.

Political parties should be compelled to disclose their sources of funding and adhere to transparent accounting practices to ensure accountability and prevent corruption.

By tackling the root causes of political dysfunction and nurturing a culture of transparency, inclusivity, and accountability, Nepal can overcome its democratic challenges and chart a path toward a brighter future for all its citizens.

Moreover, efforts should be made to empower marginalized communities and promote their active participation in the political process.

Women, ethnic minorities, and other marginalized groups continue to be underrepresented in Nepal’s political landscape, depriving the country of diverse perspectives and inhibiting inclusive decision-making.

Affirmative action policies can help level the playing field and create opportunities for underrepresented groups to enter politics.

Additionally, initiatives aimed at enhancing civic education and awareness can empower citizens to make informed choices at the ballot box and hold their elected representatives accountable for their actions.

Furthermore, strengthening democratic institutions and promoting the rule of law are essential for safeguarding Nepal’s democracy.

The judiciary must remain independent and impartial, free from political interference, to ensure that justice is served without fear or favor.

Similarly, robust oversight mechanisms should be established to hold elected officials accountable for their actions and prevent abuses of power.

Parliamentary committees tasked with scrutinizing government policies and expenditures play a crucial role in promoting transparency and accountability in governance.

Ultimately, the success of Nepal’s democracy hinges on the collective efforts of its citizens, political leaders, civil society organizations, and other stakeholders to uphold democratic values and principles.

By working together to address the underlying causes of political dysfunction and strengthen democratic institutions, Nepal can realize its aspirations for a more just, inclusive, and prosperous society.

In conclusion, while the recent turmoil in the House of Representatives is undoubtedly concerning, it also presents an opportunity for reflection and reform.

By tackling the root causes of political dysfunction and nurturing a culture of transparency, inclusivity, and accountability, Nepal can overcome its democratic challenges and chart a path toward a brighter future for all its citizens.

Publish Date : 20 May 2024 09:52 AM

Today’s national news in a nutshell

Khabarhub brings you a glimpse of major developments of the

Weather station established in Beni

MYAGDI: A weather station has been set up in Beni,

NA session: Lawmaker Subedi urges ruling, opposition parties to work together on corruption control

KATHMANDU: CPN-Maoist Center lawmaker Jhakku Prasad Subedi has underscored on

Nepalgunj Submetropolis unveils budget exceeding 1.5 billion for upcoming FY

NEPALGUNJ: The Nepalgunj Sub-Metropolitan City in Banke has presented a

Ram Bahadur Bamjan convicted in child sexual abuse case

SARLAHI: The alleged ascetic, Ram Bahadur Bamjan, has been convicted