Continuity and Transformation at the Local
Level: Sharing of Nepali-German Experience
Organised by Sahamati and Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung
14 February 2013, Gaindakot, Nawalparasi
FES Nepal office in cooperation with Sahamati,
a Nawalparasi-based NGO that operates in various parts of the
country, organized a half-day interaction program at Gaindakot
between the visiting German Parliamentarians Johannes Pflug, Foreign
Affairs Committee, Karin Evers-Meyer , Defense and Budget Committee
and Holger Ortel, Agriculture and Defense Committee and local
leaders and representatives of NGOs, citizens groups, civil society,
government officials and development organizations of Chitwan
and Nawalparasi at Gaindakot.
Mr. Dev Raj Dahal, Head of Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung,
Nepal office introduced the theme and narrated that Nepal sought
to achieve transformation in five domains-context, discourse,
issues, rules and actors. He said that Nepalese leaders and
attentive public are using various terms social change, social
transformation and revolution to describe Nepal's shift of regime
power, for example, the political achievement of 1950 can be
called political change as all forces--the king, Rana and democratic
political parties coexisted in power following the dissolution
of family oligarchy and inauguration of constitutional rule.
The political change of 1990 sought to bring the accommodation
of three forces-- the King, Nepali Congress and left forces.
Political change of 2006 was transformational in nature as "change-oriented
actors" have taken the lead while others are subordinated
to it. Meanwhile, political leaders also announced sweeping
super-structural change as Nepal is declared secular, federal
democratic republic. Revolutionary change requires a break with
the tradition, change in political culture, institution and
new consciousness of modernity. In Nepal, however, these preconditions
did not exist. It was, therefore, difficult to consolidate change
as political leaders failed to transform sovereignty to people,
make politics public and transform diverse people into impersonal
equal citizens. Consolidation of change requires modernization
in five key areas-education, economy, technology, organization
and leadership behavior, accountability and responsiveness.
Only transformational leadership, not transactional, authoritarian
and personalized, is capable of sustaining the change underway
and balance three groups of rights-individual, group-specific
and human rights-and steer the nation's politics in responsive
direction seeking to link rule with rights and duties and achieve
self-governance. He said at the moment there is only governance,
not elected government of the people at the local level. Active
citizenship can help achieve local government elections and
address the concern of citizens for education, health, irrigation,
jobs and other daily necessities of life.
Hon'ble Johannes Pflug narrating
the difficult days of Germany during Great Wars said that we
three parliamentarians belong to different committees and are
connected various lives of German societies. We are visiting
Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal to take stock of political and
development situation of these countries and understand the
political challenges and difficulties to democratic transition.
We have come here to express our support to the political parties
and help them resolve their problems. We have recently visited
Pakistan, China and Korea. Democracy thrives in moderate space.
Afghanistan is still teetering under uncertainty. They destroyed
the statute of Buddha and even children and women have hard
times to get education and participate in public space. In Pakistan
also, extremist forces are trying to weaken both democratic
space and the state. In Nepal, political parties can play constructive
role to make politics responsive and democratic and make social
contract binding to all sides. We all three MPs have started
our career with local politics and addressed the needs of local
people for health, education, sanitation, jobs, infrastructural
and development needs allowing people to harness their potentialities.
National politics should have strong base in local politics,
economy and society. We can fight in the German parliament for
the possible support for Nepal's initiatives and take the funding
to right place.
Mr. Chau En-Lai Shrestha, political
leader: How can Nepal benefit from globalization? Nepal always
remained transitional due to its inability to cope myriad problems
of the people which is linked to global system. Are you satisfied
with the work of German Development Cooperation or do you see
the need to prioritize in certain sectors?
Mr. Padma Prasad Ghimire, Former
Village Development Committee Chief, asked that how much Honorable
MPs will extend cooperation to uplift the Gaindakot Village
Development Committee to higher level of progress?
Hon'le Holger Ortel, said that
for the development of your villages there is no need for you
to become a member of any political party. You have to avoid
extreme partisanship and overcome ideology. There is also no
need to have higher level of education to become a leader. What
is essential is common sense which is possessed by everyone.
FES, GIZ and other development organizations should contribute
to local development. These agencies can only show you the ways
of development based on international experience, but you have
to decide what is right for you. Local governance is generally
based on the principle of subsidiarity, that is, decisions have
to be taken at the local level who have to bear the costs and
share benefits. FES and GIZ can help you. People should be the
center of development and then the nation. You have to broaden
the base of education.
Ms. Susma Bajracharya, technical
team leader of Support to the Peace Process of GIZ, added that
GIZ supports two kinds of peace initiatives-directly to eliminate
the root causes of conflict and support to the peace process.
We supported the cantonment management and community service
around the periphery of cantonments in meeting the basic needs.
We also supported to those ex-combatants who preferred voluntary
retirement, helped them to create environment to be integrated
in the community and Peace Trust Fund of the Ministry of Peace
and Reconstruction. To address the root causes we supported
rural development, health, education, energy, job-creation and
poverty alleviation. Only a development based on self-help can
be stable. As a result of this we see tremendous transformation
in the life of women. They are gaining more freedom but they
should be encouraged to engage in politics.
Mr. Bhuvan Ale, teacher, revealed
that a under German cooperation a school building has been constructed
here facilitated by Sahamati. Hon'ble German MPs said that they
started political career from the village level. Our leaders
have also emerged from the grassroots but why we see the distortion
in Nepalese politics ? The deadlock is the main cause. Nepali
citizens want peace, justice and democracy. Can we bring the
Maoists in these processes so that local democracy, development
and peace can be consolidated?
Mr. Rajiv Neupane, political leader, when we see Nepal's history
we see the struggle between real democrats and artificial democrats.
Nepali Congress Party (NC) played a role to overthrow Ranacracy
and Panchayat in favor of democracy. But, people's war of Maoists,
price rise in essential commodities, corruption soared and impunity
perpetuated. B. P. Koirala said that democracy is connected
not only to freedom but also to the fulfillment of basic needs.
But now we see discrepancy between the life style of leaders
and ordinary citizens, even communists also degenerated and
became bourgeoisie. Democratic NGOs are not getting support.
Even EU became government oriented and supporting communists.
How can then democracy flourish? It has become difficult for
us to fight for democracy.
Hon'le Karin Evers-Meyer, who
extended immense support to Sahaj Hospital said that Germany
has a high level of affection for Nepal and the Nepalese people.
I have also started politics from grassroots level. At that
time villagers were facing scarcity of many basic needs. I tried
to solve the problems of my community. Then I got elected at
the district and became mayor. For Nepal also the urgent task
for Nepal is election for the parliament and local bodies. Parliament
monitors and directs the government, sees whether the government
has performed assigned tasks or not and makes them accountable
to the people. In Nepal also, people are very conscious of their
rights. Therefore, you should focus on both national and local
election as they provide legitimacy to rule and your representatives
will help to solve your problems. Government is an instrument
to improve people's living standards.
Mr. Laxmi P. Khatiwada, Principal
of school, asked how Germany became powerful since the days
of Otton Von Bismark, faced tumultuous period during interwar
period, united two Germanys and developed high quality of education?
Nepal lacks the necessary practical knowledge. Cooperation of
the government to private sector education is nil while result
is the best. Scientific and practical knowledge in Nepal is
essential. He thanked Hon'ble Evers-Meyer for supporting the
Hon'ble Holger Ortel: We don't
feel comfortable with certain periods of our history. You can
create plan for development, rather than only draw picture in
the paper. You have to hold election to elect your representatives.
Let if form the government. People have rights to put their
demands on the government. The earning classes have to pay the
tax and the government should increase the budget on education
from 10 to 15 percent of the national budget. Some of your development
needs can be prioritized in education system itself as it is
essential to revitalize the potentiality of Nepali people. It
is also helpful to modernize your agriculture in a sustainable
Ms. Radha Chapagain, social worker,
I am working for women's NGO having 432 members. I am secretary
of this NGO Women's Awareness Center. But we have not been able
to work properly because of lack of fund. Both the state and
international community are unresponsive. Is it because we are
women's organization? There is no attitude change towards women
even after political change. I am thinking to spread literacy.
Is there possibility to get support?
Hon'ble Karin Evers-Meyer: I
understand your problem. Women's have 50 percent population
but their share in power is much less. You have to ask the parties
what kind of support you are ready to give to us so that we
vote for your party? Why should you vote for those parties which
say that your responsibility is to look after only home and
children? In Germany, my voters ask me questions through the
internet what do you do for us after being elected? We have
to respond to their questions. In our Social Democratic Party
there is a sub-committee for women's affairs. The committee
agreed to give 40 seats for women but it gave 50 seats. The
voting of women should not be undermined. In Nepal also they
constitute over 50 percent of population. Nation-building can
be completed only when women play pro-active role in public
affairs and politics and influence public policies.
Mr. Badri Nepal, member of civil
society, How far you are satisfied with your cooperation with
the government and NGOs? Are you satisfied with the functioning
of political parties at the local level or see a disconnect
between leaders and electorates?
Hon'ble Johannes Pflug, Big parties
should support the smaller parties after election and tell them
how can we help you and how can we work together. We would like
to compromise. They should work together for the resolution
of practical issues based on ground reality. Recovery of Nepal's
post-conflict condition also requires extensive public works
and creation of opportunities for youth, poor and unemployed
for works. Ideology only operates at theoretical level which
too is revised once reality is changed. On behalf of German
MPs he expressed thanks to Nepali hosts for the warmness they
have extended to them as well as enabling them to know the local
Mr. Bhim Prasad Sharma, Chairman
of Sahaj Cooperative Hospital, thanked the German parliamentarians
for sparing their time with them and sharing their experience
with the local people, supporting their initiatives and sharing
concern for development.
Mr. Karun Sagar Subedi, Chairman
of Sahamati, Nepal thanked the German MPs, FES, GIZ and all
the participants of the interaction program from Chitwan and
Nawalparasi districts and expected similar cooperation in the