Oli-Dahal discuss

News Digest (September 20-30, 2019)

CESIF Nepal Democracy and Federalism, Gender and Inclusion, Good Governance, International Relations, News Digest, News Digest, News Digest, News Digest, News Digest, Security and Strategic Affairs Leave a Comment

DOMESTIC POLITICS

NCP and CPC relations: NCP gladly received an orientation on Xi Jinping Thought before the impending arrival of Chinese President. The two-day symposium on CPC ideology, party organization, and development model was organized on 23-24 September in Kathmandu.[1] NCP and CPC signed MoU for establishing sisterly relations between the two parties.[2] International Department Heads of the parties, Madhav Kumar Nepal from NCP and Song Tao from CPC, signed the MoU on behalf of the parties.[3] Earlier, CPC had signed a similar agreement with the erstwhile Maoist Centre and the UML.[4] Song Tao returned after completion of the symposium.[5]

Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal disclosed that the government is working on releasing people arrested during Tikapur Massacre as it was a political case and not a crime.[6]

On the party merger, NCP named the chairpersons and secretaries for the six metropolitan cities.[7]  Likewise, senior leader Bamdev Gautam confirmed that he will not contest the by-election from Kaski-2.[8] As controversy runs high on embracing Xi’s Thoughts, the party discussed another contending issue internally, the Indo-Pacific Strategy for the first time.[9] NCP leaders Ghanashyam Bhusal, Surendra Pandey, and Janardan Sharma stressed that the rise of China is opening up a new world order politics. But it will not be an easy task to replace the old order.[10]

Minister of Federal Affairs and General Administration Lalbabu Pandit said the government is considering downsizing the number of government employees at the federal level. Pandit claimed that the productivity of the bureaucracy does not match the investment as civil servants only care about their salaries and benefits and do not work effectively to fulfill their responsibilities.[11]

Prime Minister KP Oli directed all the ministers and secretaries to expedite implementing the budget. The government has low expenditure as compared to the target in the past three months of the ongoing fiscal year.[12]

OPPOSITION POLITICS

Nepali Congress: NC leader Krishna Prasad Sitaula asserted that the government’s undemocratic action has attacked the democratic spirit of the constitution.[13] NC President Deuba also criticized the government for being undemocratic and corrupt and expressed NC’s intolerance towards the undemocratic practices of the government.[14]  He also claimed that the government was engaged in the shady deal on Melamchi Water Supply Project and 1200-megawatt Budhi Gandaki Hydropower Project with Chinese companies.[15] NC also accused the government’s inaction against growing corruption, violence against women, and daily commodity price hike among others.[16]

Senior leader Ram Chandra Poudel condemned NCP-led government for showing unattainable dreams to the people and claimed that NCP’s advocacy of Xi’s path was a ploy to impose an autocratic system in Nepal.[17] Shekhar Koirala warned NCP that the adoption of the Chinese model may put the country in peril.[18]

NCP cadres attacked NC leader Minendra Rijal with Khukuris, spears, sticks, bottles, and stones in Tanahun.

NWPP: Nepal Workers Peasants Party (NWPP) Chairman Narayan man Bijukchhe named NCP leader Pushpa Kamal Dahal as a puzzled man and agent of Delhi. Bijukchhe, who was reelected the party president by the recent 7th general convention[19] of the party, said that the merger of NCP was for the sake of power.[20]

Transitional Justice: Conflict victims expressed their wrath on current political leadership. Most of the victims blamed political leaders and said they want honest and accountable leadership in the TJ.[21] The party leaders expressed commitment to the victims to ensure TJ. Former Maoist rebel Pushpa Kamal Dahal spoke of renewed commitment to settling conflict-era cases domestically.[22]   

Further, the government expressed its commitment to deliver transitional justice as per international standard, the verdict of the Supreme Court, the spirit of the Comprehensive Peace Accord, and concerns of the victims.[23]

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

Nepal-China: After Wang’s visit, Nepal’s political and diplomatic circle is expected to upgrade its relation with China. Recently, the Nepal Communist Party and the Communist Party of China signed an agreement to establish sisterly relations among them.[24]

Nepal and China jointly organized a symposium to discuss how NCP should move ahead with its party organization, ideology, and developmental model.[25] The program was named “Communist Party of China’s Opinion about Xi Jinping Thought and Ideological Discussion between Nepal Communist Party and Communist Party of China”, where leaders from both Nepal and China spoke on the topic. The head of the International Department of Chinese Communist Party Central Committee Song Tao also attended the program.[26]

Both co-chairmen of NCP did not fail to assure China on Nepal’s stance on ‘One China Policy’ and lauded China’s development under Xi and the country’s capability of implementing BRI.

While Nepali leaders avidly talked about how socialism in China helped the country to build its status of a developed nation, they also said socialism was a better alternative to capitalism for the holistic development of societies.[27]

This new development in Nepal’s politics shows that NCP is eagerly trying to adopt CCP’s way of governance, to which the opposing party does not agree fully. Chief Whip of Nepali Congress Bal Krishna Khand said that Nepal cannot accept China’s way of single-party system, as it would criticize the grounds of democracy in Nepal.[28] Senior NC leader Arjun Narsingh KC also expressed his objection to PM Oli’s presence while signing the six-point memorandum between the international department head of the parties.

China’s response to criticism for Xi’s thought entering Nepal: In regards to the controversy created in Nepal on Xi’s thought, Ambassador of China Hou Yanqi said China wants to share experiences and exchange ideas for development. She, however, maintained that Xi’s thoughts are entering developing countries as it promotes new ideas, and China adheres to non-interference policy.[29]

Nepal-US: The grant under MCC of the US is falling in limbo due to the divided opinions within NCP.

Nepal plans to build a 400-kV Butwal-Gorakhpur electricity transmission line with the MCC grant of the US government.  The US, however, wants Nepal to announce the cross-border transmission line as a national pride project, reach Project Implementation Agreement, formulate and establish Electricity Regulatory Commission Act, have a parliamentary approval of the agreement, and sign an agreement with India on the cross-border line.[30]

Imports from China: Due to a shortage of containers in Kerung, the import of goods has come to a halt right before the country’s festive season. Nearly 35% of goods remain at storage in Kerung. Punya Bikram Khadka, the chief of the Rasuwgadhi Custom Office, said that 25 trucks are heading to Kerung to bring goods, specifically to transport goods for Nepal Army.[31]

United Nations General Assembly: Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali attended the 74th UNGA session this year. Nepal took part in various high-level meetings during the event. Gyawali addressed meetings that focused on the infrastructural gap of Landlocked Developing countries and highlighted the need for building durable and effective connectivity for development.

Nepal also established formal diplomatic relations with Ghana by signing a joint communique. Minister Gyawali held formal meetings with his counterpart from Bahrain, Norway, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela.

DEVELOPMENT DISARRAY

The government has signed an agreement with Chinese contractor Sinohydro Corporation Limited for the remaining works of the Melamchi Water Supply Project (MWSP). The construction work of the project will begin on October 13 and the government has introduced a provision of reward at the rate of 0.15% of the contract amount, approximately Rs 1.27 million per day, to the company if it completes the work before schedule and punish if it misses the deadline.[32] 

So far 23% of the work of Birgunj-Thori road is complete, although the contract signed in November 2017 has a June 2020 completion date. The construction is coordinated by AMR Pappu ConTech Joint Venture at a total cost of Rs 2.12 billion. The contractors, however, claimed that the causes for the delays are due to a shortage of construction materials, disputes over land acquisition, delayed payment, among others. [33]

Likewise, the construction of Molung Khola Bridge in Dadeldhura, which started six years ago, is only 50% complete to date. The contract was signed in July 2013, which duly stated that the work would be completed within two years. The contract for the bridge construction was awarded to Rajendra Lokpriya JV Company owned by Parshuram Municipality’s Mayor Bhim Bahadur Saud. The initial cost of the construction was estimated to be Rs 33.2 million, but it was later raised to Rs 56.9 million.[34]

For the past five years, residents of Sundarbazaar in Lamjung have been protesting the government’s plan to construct a section of the Mid Hill Highway past the settlement. The locals are furious over the decision to turn the road section that runs through the settlement as a part of the Mid Hill Highway. Locals said that the road is for the community, for their personal use and not to be used as a highway.[35]

GENDER AND SOCIAL INCLUSION

Human Rights: National Human Rights Commission, in its recent report, indicated that police were arresting persons without any warrant and torturing people in custody. The report further said that most of the prisons were overcrowded, and jailbirds admitted to the hospital were being treated inhumanely. The rights body also refused some complaints on the refusal of police to register some cases of violence against women. It also claimed the government’s failure to ensure disabled-friendly infrastructure as well.[36]

Dengue: Researchers and health practitioners expressed serious concern about the dengue outbreak in Nepal. As the mosquito eggs have the capacity to resist low temperatures and can hatch when temperature rise next summer, effective measures will have to be in place to prevent dengue from spreading.[37]

Migration: Amnesty International on its research, ‘All Work, No Pay: The Struggle of Qatar’s Migrant Workers for Justice’ presented a dire situation of thousands of Nepali migrant workers in Qatar. The report stated that Qatar hosts about two million migrant workers, but it does not meet international labor standards despite promises to reform workers’ rights.[38]Highlighting all issues related to migration, the National Human Rights Commission is going to organize an international conference on ‘Protection of Rights of Migrant Workers’ in Kathmandu from November 12-14.[39] Similarly, the Ministry of Health and Population prepared a proposal to send health attachés to countries where the death rate of migrant workers is high. The attachés will work as focal points between the migrant workers, Nepal government, and the government and companies of host countries to control the deaths of migrant workers and promote their health.[40]

Rape: Human Rights of Rape Victims and Police Accountability to their Access to Justice – a report of the National Human Rights Commission revealed that a total of 1,313 rape cases were filed in the first seven months of fiscal 2018-19 from July 17 to February 15.[41]

On the infamous Nirmala rape case, the Ministry of Home Affairs formed a new technical team to study the DNA sample collected from the vaginal swab. The team led by DNA expert Jeevan Rijal, former executive director of the National Forensic Science Laboratory, does not include police personnel. The committee has been given 15 days to submit its findings.[42]

PROVINCIAL AFFAIRS

Sudurpaschim Province is yet to draft a bill related to provincial police, but the government has already procured nine vehicles from the budget allocated from the previous fiscal year 2018/19. The provincial government procured vehicles without establishing the provincial police institution.[43] The province has now distributed vehicles to Nepal Police.[44]

A total of 39 writ petition have been filed against the name and capital city of provincial issues. The provincial government has put the capital name as ‘Sudurpaschim’ and capital city as ‘Godabari’. The writ has been filed against the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers, chief minister, provincial assembly, and Ministry of Internal Affairs.[45] 

Policies: Province 3 passed an act for operating industrial businesses in the province. Through the bill, the government will provide tax exemption and grants to newly established industries in the province.[46]

In the last fiscal year 2018/19, Gandaki Pradesh announced ‘One local Body, One Industry Village’ program in all 85 local bodies. But the program was not successful due to lack of land and coordination among the three tiers of governments. The government had allocated Rs 192 million for the project.[47]

The government of Gandaki Pradesh allocated Rs 320 million budget to make one hospital at each local body in the fiscal year 2018/19, with the aim to provide accessible healthcare at doorsteps for all local people. But the budget was used elsewhere. The government removed the program due to a lack of coordination with local governments.[48]

According to the Auditor General’s Report, out of 761, only 242 local governments were able to put entire expenditure in the fund and accounting system. Local and provincial governments have not been able to contribute even 20% on average to the fund in their budget. As many as 50% of local governments totally depend on the federal government grant.[49]

Conflicts: A dispute has occurred between two local bodies over natural resources in Gorkha. Local bodies had to knock the court’s door to solve the dispute.[50]

A local body in Rautahat, Province 2, reported a dispute between the Mayor and chief administration officer. The municipality has not conducted the council meeting due to the dispute. As per the local government operation act, the local governments should have completed the council at the end of the fiscal year. As the council meeting could not be held, the salaries of staff have not been released for the last three months.[51]

The conflict between local and provincial government has delayed project works. Dambar Bahadur GC, Chairperson of the Purbi Nawalpur’s Binayi Tribeni Rural Municipality said that lack of cooperation from the provincial government failed the development projects at local levels.[52] 

Likewise, the centralized mindset of the Federal Public Service Commission has been blamed for the inactive provincial government recruitment process. The tussle of jurisdiction between the federal and provincial governments delayed the staff recruitment process of the provincial government.[53]     


[1] https://myrepublica.nagariknetwork.com/news/ahead-of-china-prez-visit-ncp-embraces-xi-jinping-thought/

[2] https://thehimalayantimes.com/kathmandu/mou-signed-between-ncp-ncp-and-cpc-establishing-bilateral-ties/

[3] https://myrepublica.nagariknetwork.com/news/ncp-co-chair-dahal-calls-for-taking-ties-between-ncp-cpc-to-a-new-level/

[4] https://kathmandupost.com/politics/2019/09/25/nepal-communist-party-and-the-communist-party-of-china-formalise-relations

[5] https://thehimalayantimes.com/kathmandu/cpc-official-song-tao-returns-back-to-china/

[6] https://myrepublica.nagariknetwork.com/news/govt-working-to-free-kailali-massacre-convicts-dahal-reveals/

[7] https://myrepublica.nagariknetwork.com/news/ncp-picks-chiefs-and-secretaries-of-metropolis/

[8] https://myrepublica.nagariknetwork.com/news/bamdev-gautam-not-to-contest-in-kaski-by-election-kaski/

[9] https://kathmandupost.com/politics/2019/09/23/ruling-party-holds-hours-long-discussion-to-build-a-concrete-position-on-indo-pacific-strategy

[10] https://myrepublica.nagariknetwork.com/news/ruling-ncp-leaders-stress-capitalizing-on-china-s-rising-influence-in-world-order/

[11] https://myrepublica.nagariknetwork.com/news/govt-mulling-downsizing-bureaucracy-to-cut-costs/

[12] https://www.karobardaily.com/news/economy/24767

[13] https://myrepublica.nagariknetwork.com/news/govt-trying-to-weaken-the-spirit-of-constitution-nc-leader-sitaula/

[14] https://thehimalayantimes.com/kathmandu/nc-wont-tolerate-anti-democratic-moves/

[15] https://myrepublica.nagariknetwork.com/news/deuba-suspects-shady-deal-in-melamchi-award-process/

[16] https://myrepublica.nagariknetwork.com/news/nepali-congress-stages-demonstration-against-govt-in-capital-with-photos-1/

[17] https://myrepublica.nagariknetwork.com/news/communist-govt-did-nothing-except-selling-dreams-says-nc-leader-poudel/

[18] http://annapurnapost.com/news/137843

[19] https://myrepublica.nagariknetwork.com/news/bijukchhe-era-continues/

[20] https://myrepublica.nagariknetwork.com/news/bijukchhe-labels-dahal-an-indian-trojan-horse/

[21] https://thehimalayantimes.com/nepal/conflict-victims-blast-political-leadership/

[22] https://myrepublica.nagariknetwork.com/news/top-leaders-commit-to-early-settlement-of-conflict-era-cases/

[23] https://myrepublica.nagariknetwork.com/news/govt-s-commitments-to-tj-at-international-forums-just-a-formality/

[24] https://english.onlinekhabar.com/ncp-signs-deal-for-sisterhood-with-communist-party-of-china.html

[25] https://myrepublica.nagariknetwork.com/news/ahead-of-china-prez-visit-ncp-embraces-xi-jinping-thought/

[26] https://myrepublica.nagariknetwork.com/news/chinese-communist-party-s-foreign-affairs-cell-chief-arrives-in-kathmandu/

[27] https://thehimalayantimes.com/nepal/communists-say-socialism-better-than-capitalism/

[28] https://english.khabarhub.com/2019/25/46306/

[29] https://asianews.network/2019/09/27/china-does-not-export-its-ideology-says-chinese-ambassador-in-response-to-criticism/

[30] https://myrepublica.nagariknetwork.com/news/sharp-division-within-ncp-puts-projects-under-mcc-grant-in-limbo/

[31] https://myrepublica.nagariknetwork.com/news/lack-of-containers-stall-goods-in-kerung/

[32] https://myrepublica.nagariknetwork.com/news/sinohydro-promises-to-complete-melamchi-tunnel-within-a-year/

[33] https://kathmandupost.com/province-no-2/2019/09/30/birgunj-thori-stretch-of-the-postal-road-project-sees-little-progress

[34] https://kathmandupost.com/province-no-1/2019/09/30/molung-khola-bridge-construction-delayed-by-over-four-years

[35] https://kathmandupost.com/gandaki-province/2019/09/29/disputes-in-construction-of-mid-hill-highway-in-lamjung

[36] https://thehimalayantimes.com/kathmandu/nhrc-concerned-about-deteriorating-rights-situation/

[37] https://thehimalayantimes.com/nepal/integrated-approach-needed-to-fight-dengue-threat-experts/

[38] https://kathmandupost.com/national/2019/09/20/migrant-workers-returning-home-without-salary-and-justice-from-qatar-amnesty-international

[39] https://thehimalayantimes.com/kathmandu/nhrc-to-organise-international-meet-on-rights-of-migrant-workers/

[40] https://kathmandupost.com/health/2019/09/24/health-ministry-prepares-a-proposal-to-send-health-attachs-to-south-korea-malaysia-and-saudi-arabia

[41] https://thehimalayantimes.com/kathmandu/more-than-1300-rape-cases-filed-in-seven-months-nhrc-report/

[42] https://thehimalayantimes.com/nepal/government-forms-new-team-to-re-examine-nirmalas-dna-sample/

[43] https://thehimalayantimes.com/nepal/dpos-yet-to-get-new-vehicles-purchased-by-sudur-paschim-province-govt/

[44] https://www.nayapatrikadaily.com/news-details/26059/2019-09-26

[45] https://www.karobardaily.com/news/society/24652

[46] https://ekantipur.com/business/2019/09/20/156895021479765159.html

[47] https://ekantipur.com/business/2019/09/22/15691223011576473

[48] https://ekantipur.com/pradesh-4/2019/09/20/156895313486931896.html

[49] https://www.karobardaily.com/news/economy/24719

[50] http://annapurnapost.com/news/137539

[51] https://ekantipur.com/pradesh-2/2019/09/26/156947354075418977.html

[52] https://thehimalayantimes.com/nepal/local-bodies-lament-lack-of-cooperation-from-provincial-government-for-development/

[53] https://kathmandupost.com/national/2019/09/30/provinces-are-still-stuck-in-slow-gear-towards-forming-public-service-commissions

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