Rampant lawlessness: How entire system is under threat from Prime Minister himself 

Nepal’s Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba seems hell-bent on protecting his nearer and dearer ones at the cost of the country’s legal as well as parliamentary system. It appears Deuba can go to any length to keep his power intact.

Nishan Khatiwada

  • Read Time 3 min.

Kathmandu: Moral values are blatantly undermined. Provocative remarks to ignite violence are tolerated. The person accused of financial crime is not questioned, rather he is given protection. Corruption and nepotism run high. 

Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba has set a new benchmark with record-low performance in governance, accountability, transparency and rule of law. 

Case one:

On January 19, Renu Kumari Yadav, the Minister of Physical Infrastructure and Transport, issued a threat to CK Raut to the effect that he could meet the same fate as those who were killed at the rice mill of Gaur in 2007.

CK Raut’s Janamat Party was launching a Farmers’ Movement in Tarai, raising farmers’ concerns. They had declared to boycott the ministers from the provincial and federal governments. And they tried to obstruct Yadav’s entry into Gaur that day.

Following the incident, a group of citizens drew the attention of the government to take action against Renu for threatening to repeat the ‘Gaur massacre.’ They made a fresh appeal to each political party represented in the government to take action against the minister.

No action has been taken against her.

Case two:

Minister for Culture, Tourism, and Civil Aviation, Prem Bahadur Ale has earned a notoriety for foul-mouthing the government bureaucrats and pronouncing vulgar and obscene words. 

He is accused of assaulting the chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal. He also had allegedly assaulted Nepal Airlines Corporation Executive Director Yuvaraj Adhikar. An audio recording of Minister Ale speaking obscenely to the executive chairman of the Nepal Airlines Corporation, Yuvaraj Adhikari and seriously alleging him of manipulating the master plan of the Lumbini Development Fund got viral recently. 

There is a rallying cry that action should be taken against Minister Ale. Deuba has turned deaf ears to this call. No question has been raised about Ale. 

Case three:

Finance Minister Janardan Sharma stands accused of allowing a person—unauthorized by all means—to alter tax provisions on certain items such as electric vehicles from the budget draft the Ministry of Finance officials had finalized, just before he presented the budget in Parliament on May 29.

Earlier he was accused of suspending the governor of Nepal Rastra Bank to serve the interests of business elites.

[Related: Authority without accountability: Deuba government’s blatant indifference to ‘financial crime’ by Finance Minister]

Leaders from the main opposition as well as those from the ruling Nepali Congress have been asking the Prime Minister to take action against him for committing a financial crime. 

Deuba has turned deaf ears to this call.

Case four:

Prime Minister’s spouse Arzu Deuba has been giving one after another controversial statement. On May 5, she threatened the voters in the Far-west that if the candidates, other than those favored by her party, are elected in the municipality, the federal government would ‘stop sending money’ to that municipality. 

She was found to promise to send the locals to the Gulf if they voted for her candidate.

The Prime Minister is remaining silent on critical issues and playing a major role in promoting lawlessness in the country, ignoring the constitutional values and processes.

More recently,  she made an allegation against the Kathmandu Mayor.  Party insiders say that his spouse does not only intervene in policy decisions but is bringing disrepute to the country and the party. They say that Deuba, as the PM and president of the Nepali Congress, does not care at all about how his spouse is defaming his position.

Case five: 

Prime minister Deuba skipped the Parliament meeting on June 16 and attended a function organized by NRNA. At the meeting, he was supposed to answer the questions regarding the controversial SPP, which the government has now decided to reject. 

The prime minister avoided the House when the lawmakers were demanding his response to the SPP controversy and his visit to the US. Home Minister Bal Krishna Khand and Communication minister Gyanendra Bahadur Karki responded to the questions of lawmakers, the questions which the PM himself had to answer.

Master of misrule  

The Prime Minister is remaining silent on critical issues and playing a major role in promoting lawlessness in the country, ignoring the constitutional values and processes. Experts say that his primary focus has never been good governance, accountability and rule of law. They say that his only focus is how to hold on to power and that he never has been a true believer in the constitutional process. “Deuba anyhow wants to become a prime minister and sustain his prime ministerial post,” said CK Lal, a political commentator. “I don’t think he is a believer of democratic process other than an election and the provision that the winner should lead the government.”

So why does he stand unopposed despite becoming a master of misrule?

CK Lal has the answer: He is not facing challenges in the government and in the party, geopolitics is in his favor,  there is no rebellion against his bad moves, those who used to question him are now under his protection.