It is the hour of doom and gloom in Nepal, in many ways. The exponential growth in the number of deaths and infections caused by the raging Covid-19 pandemic has been making headlines over the last couple of weeks. The lackadaisical approach of the government in preparing to contain the pandemic and to stockpile the supplies is nothing less than an atrocious crime. The alleged corruption in procuring vaccine is just another nail in the coffin. The growing apathy of the political class, especially the government of Prime Minister K P Oli, has been decried everywhere.
At the moment, the collective efforts of both the government and the opposition should have been towards containing Covid-19, assuring people that the government is there for them. Any inadequacy of the ruling party should have had invited the fury of the opposition, speaking on behalf of the people of Nepal. Sadly, neither of these is the case now.
The entire political class appears to have a different priority at the moment. The opposition parties are invested in unseating the PM. The PM and the government is investing all its time and resources to ensure it does not fail the test of the parliament. Both the opposition and the ruling parties are going to use all means —fair and foul— to achieve their respective goals.
As Prime Minister Oli is set to secure the vote of confidence from parliament amid the political chaos, which he himself triggered largely due to his mishandling of the party—erstwhile ally Maoist Center as well as colleagues from the CPN-UML—the attention of the PM and other ministers is focused on securing the PM’ position.
As you fight for power, like you have always done in the past, bear this in mind: People are watching your every move.
Red-tapsim and corruption have become a norm. At a time when hospitals are running out of Covid beds and thousands of people are dying without treatment, fresh controversies have emerged regarding the corruption scandal in vaccine procurement. In the thick of the raging pandemic, when the government should have been procuring and supplying medical essentials, we are a nation mired in corruption.
Amid this mess, May 10 may be the D-day for political parties to decide whether to keep Oli in or out. For this horse trading of elected members is seen as a possibility. Whatever the outcome, political parties are going to revolve around the struggle for power. In doing this, if they forget how people are dying due to lack of oxygen in hospitals, how people are suffering due to lack of treatment and due to lack of access to food and livelihood during the lockdown, people will surely hold them accountable. As you fight for power, like you have always done in the past, bear this in mind: People are watching your every move.
Here are some immense moral questions for our leaders: Are you not worried about the tragedy unfolding across the country? Are you not concerned about the panic and loss the people are going through? Are you not bothered about the future of the people and the nation? If you are, when will you speak for those who are dying due to lack of treatment, desperate for food and the most basic of supplies?
All leaders—from both ruling as well as opposition parties– you need to remember that democracy without responsibility and accountability is nothing less than a tyranny to the people.