Seminar Report on Initiate for State-building
and Constitutional Dynamics
Organised by Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES)
(18-19 December 2010) Nepalgunj and (20-21 December 2010) Dang
Friedrich-Ebert Stiftung (FES) Nepal office recently organised
two day seminar in Nepalganj (18-19 December, 2010) and Tulasipur,
Dang (20-21 December, 2010) on state-building and constitutional
dynamics in Nepal. There were over hundred participants in Nepalganj
and around 105 in Dang of which more than 30 percent were female
participants in both the places. In both the districts the programme
was attended by the leaders of all political parties, members
of civil society, civil servants, lawyers, lecturers, teachers,
students, journalists, bureaucrats, security officials and other
stake-holders of the society. In Nepalganj the programme was
chaired by the district judge Mohan Bhattarai and Chief District
Officer (CDO) of Nepalganj also attended the programme. CDO
spoke in the seminar and was of the view that every Nepali should
get citizenship certificate and no one should be denied of this
The whole objective of these programmes is to educate local
political leaders, civil society activists and, other stakeholders
of the society on issues such as constitutional process, peacebuilding,
civil society, civic education, values of democracy, challenges
of state-building in and alike. This is importance because the
Constituent Assembly has given opportunities to every Nepali
to be equally participative in the institutional life of the
state as we are standing in the historic juncture and writing
new rules, developing new regulations that might affects many
Speaking in the inaugural session, and setting the scene for
discussion and highlighting the objective of the organisation,
Chandra D. Bhatta, Programme Officer of FES - Nepal Office,
highlighted the need of strengthening capacity of the state
is important to ensure all sorts of rights. In fact state didn't
collapse in Nepal, however, it has failed to expand its authority
as the same has been shifted toward political parties and their
sister organizations, non-state armed actors and to some extent
even individual leaders who play prominent role in national
politics but failed to provide political stability. As a result,
Nepali state's authority has been diluted and is on the verge
of losing Weberian legitimacy in all spheres. Bhatta further
said that there have been intermittent regime changes in every
ten year since maize farming (Makaiko kheti) till today but
they were only cosmetic in nature and failed to bring tangible
changes into the life of people. The agenda for the change floated
by the masses has been hijacked by the elites from the political
parties and their leader who, in turn, later compelled to co-opt
with the former primarily because political parties lack the
desired power/knowledge/ for the change whereas elites do not
want to change. This tendency has not brought any positive change
in a society and people at large lost their confidence both
on state and system. So unless and until we restore confidence
of the people on the state and its institutions, the agenda
of social, political, and economic transformation cannot be
ensured. Moreover, under these circumstances, Nepal is bound
to face further political crisis. Finally, we really need to
establish democracy that is more substantive and change oriented
than procedural, said Bhatta. He further pointed out that social
change in Nepal has been postponed primarily because of the
non-implementation of the laws and by- laws. Equally important
is that we have to differentiate whether democracy is system
or process. Democratisation is never ending process and all
the countries, even those who claim democratic, are also in
the process of further democratisations. Therefore democracy
is a process which ensures people's accessibility in the activities
of the state.
Bishnu Pokhrel complained about the seminar hall. Chitra Bahadur
Shahi thanked FES for bringing this programme to Nepalganj.
He was of the view that the same person should not be the Prime
Ministers more than one time and it should be applicable with
the case of President as well. Student Unions should not be
allowed until class twelve. He further said that federal state
should respect people's dignity and it should be taken as the
basis as well. Ushman Ali was of the view national anthem should
be attached with nationalism. Nitin Kumar Aggrawal was of the
view that inclusive policies should serve the interest of all
the communities equally. There should not be discrimination
in the name of inclusion. Likewise Narayan Rupakheti from Nepali
Congress opined that the number of parliamentarians should be
less. The best idea, for him, would to convert current five
development regions into five federal states. Women's rights
should be included in the fundamental rights. There has to be
an end to polygamy. Those who are found guilty in the cases
of corruption be they are men or women should get severe punishment.
Basu Jung Thapa said special educational provision should be
made for the handicapped people and public places should be
made friendly to them. Advocate Ananda Prasad Shrestha said
that sex business has to be regulated under the law./In the
same vein, Shyam Shrestha said that all the past governments
have paid mere leap service to the sports and upcoming constitution
should have special arrangement to improve sports in the country.
Sports persons should be given pension. We need to have clear
scientific land policy. State restructuring has to be done without
jeopardizing the social harmony. He was also of the view that
our politicians should work to maintain national integrity of
the country. By and large, his worry was much on whether these
political leaders can save this state or not.
Megh Raj KC and Bhupal Bhudathoki of Dang said that blamed that
partisan interest, lack nationalistic feeling and humanistic
approach while conducting duties, on the part of political leaders
is main problem of the country. We can only put Nepali politics
on track if substantial improvement is done all societal actors
on these areas. Nepal cannot afford to have more than three
states given the current state of economy and all this states
should be carved north to south to maintain social harmony.
We cannot escapee from multiparty system with pluralism. There
is an urgent need to abolish caste system and those who are
historically fallen behind need to be uplifted. We need to adopt
mixed economic system. Ideology does not die its biology that
Dhruba Raj Puri enquired why multiparty democracy fails in
Nepal? Perhaps, it is due to lack of democratic political culture,
lack of civic education, inequality, commercialization of education.
All these are reflected by our political parties. We should
not give right to self-determination as it will push Nepali
state towards cessation. Poverty, illiteracy, caste system and
personality-oriented politics should come to an end for the
consolidation of democracy.
Mahesh Prasad Acharya was of the view that we not develop a
mechanism where prosperity comes to all not few bunches of people.
Likewise, we cannot afford to have more than 5-7 federal state.
Political parties have to be democratized and one personal should
not be allowed to lead the political party for the long time.
We need to have realistic policy while dealing with India.
Ishwari Bhandari our political culture still parochial and
political parties lack self-confidence. Our problem, as per
him, is that we want democracy but not prepared to have the
culture; likewise, we could not develop ourselves but we have
too many rights. It has hoped that federalism should work toward
Thaneshwor Gautam said that none of the political parties have
patience to stay in the opposition. Every political party would
like to go into the government for the power as soon as people.
Political parties see power in the government but not in the
people.\If we develop civic political culture than there will
not be problem as such whatever the system we adopt.
Chitra Malla said that laws and by-laws should be written in
a way that women can also have access to them. Deba Basnet from
Nepali Congress blamed that we have not realised women's human
rights though the activists do talk about them.
Top Bahadur Puri enquired what is New Nepal. He blamed that
since 1990s we have been working on the basis of force and we
have removed monarchy on the basis. We cannot do whatever we
like in the name of change. All the past constitutions were
buried and how can we assure that the upcoming constitution
will have the samae fate. There is severe lack of civic education
in our society.
Megh Raj Panday was of the view that experts are fighting among
themselves on different issues but they don't know what is right
for Nepal. They only know what is right for them. We need to
properly manage our education system. There is a great deal
of crisis in the management of public mandate.
Karna Bahadur KC blamed that political parties are on the way
to making Nepal like Sikkim. We was of the view that there are
prajatantrabadi (democrat), samyabadi (communist) but not rastrabadi
(nationalist) hence the constitution will not be written in
Radhika Pairyar advised that we need to have syndicate system
on the important system between man and woman. She also enquired
what would be the position of dalits in the federal system?
Gopinath Yogi said that marginalised groups should be included
in the institutional life of the state.
Narayan Prasad Sharm said no to federalism.
Radhika Pairyar said that we should not abolish caste system
but we have to abolish the discrimination that comes in the
name of caste.
The right to self-determination that is being floated in Nepal
is linked with the state and it is one step ahead of what Lenin
said and there are ample evidences that it is also connected
with cessation. For example - the demand for one Madesh, one
Pradesh with right to self-determination, Limbuwan state with
right to self-determination generates some fear that Nepali
will turn into pieces.
The seminars in these two places indicate that there is high-level
of nationalistic feeling, people are not in favour of federalism,
they don't want any sort of discrimination in society but they
would like to protect their culture, religion and caste. They
have lost hope on political leaders but they are hopeful that
democracy would sweep away all these indiscrimination that exists
in our society, we only have to wait for some honest political
leaders to emerge.