Political parties are at the core of our political system. They mediate the relationship between the people and the state. However, they do not always display sincerity while representing the people. As a result, public confidence in the political parties is waning, and has reached a new low with the failure of the CA. Without fundamental reform of party finance and measures aimed at controlling corruption, political parties will continue to be a means for political leaders to accumulate money and power rather than a vehicle to address the needs of the people. The failure of the political parties, in the last decade has been instrumental in tarnishing the image of the parliamentary system.
Political parties claim to represent the interests of various social cleavages in the country (caste, class, ethnicity, region), however, it does not reflect in their behavior. Political parties have failed to drive economic development and ensure justice. Existing parties have failed to resolve political issues over restructuring of the state and a new constitution (a new political system). Existing political parties are deepening the existing cleavages along ethnic, regional, caste and class lines rather than offering a project identity that addresses concerns related to recognition of rights and identity. Nepal needs a political party that can drive change and put an end to political malpractices, injustice, misgovernance and social schisms.
While it is important to regulate how political parties raise and spend money, it is even more important to monitor how individual politicians raise and spend money. Corruption control is a difficult prospect given Nepal’s resistance to comply with international requirements regarding anti-money laundering initiatives due to strong objection from political parties, including the UCPN-Maoist. With the two ordinances on Mutual Legal Assistance Bill and Extradition Bill, the government, for the time being, has succeeded in buying three more months from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). However, Nepal has to endorse the Bill Against Organised Crime by October, and carry on further reforms if it is to show its commitment against organized crime and terrorist financing.
Conventional political parties normally do not work because they are unwilling to initiate reforms or to adopt democratic means to attain their goals. Usually, the means that the political parties adopt ultimately subvert their ends. For example, the Maoists adopted violence to gain power and resources. However, because of their means, they are no longer able to support legal and constitutional provisions aimed at controlling financial crime and punishing crimes against humanity. Political parties are unwilling to initiate reforms in the party allowing for financial transparency and democratic decision-making processes. As a result, leaders who control the party’s purses also control the party. Most people can only dream of a political party that represents them in such a way that it reflects in the day to day running of the state and the services and results it delivers. The relationship with their representative needs to be personal and immediate, but at the same time their representative needs to have control and say over the running of the state. Hopefully, the major political parties will reform themselves and become more responsive to the wishes of the individual citizens they claim to represent.
The road widening drive was halted almost two months ago ostensibly due to lack of money. In the meantime the roads were left unattended after the demolition of illegal structures. So far so good. But the roads which saw demolition caused air pollution from dust in the dry season raised by passing vehicles. Apart from this, the debris strewn all over the streets made it risky for pedestrians as they had to contend with mountains of bricks and the like.
The speeding vehicles in the narrow roads because of the obstruction by debris posed danger to all commuting on them. Now that the responsibility of the widening of the roads has been taken by the Kathmandu Valley Town Development Authority which was formed on April 13, it is expected that there will be speeding up of this endeavour.