By K P Sharma Oli
The grant agreement with the US foreign assistance agency Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) was ratified by the House of Representatives on 27 February 2022. With this ratification, the tricks and propaganda carried out with vested interests have come to an end. The illusions spread in this process and the bundle of disgusting interests in different color and size that some leaders in the coalition parties were trying to sell has exposed their ignorance and irresponsibility on many issues like bilateral or multilateral direct investment, the process of obtaining loan or grant assistance, preparation of proposals and language to be used in such proposals,and the commitments for implementation of the proposals. The opportunistic attitude in their words and actions, which seeks to fulfill their own petty and personal interests without regard to the national interest, has also exposed the unreliability of the ruling party and its leaders.
Our party was precluded from participating in the process in both the sessions of the House of Representatives On February27. Such behavior of the ruling coalition has unmaskedits conspiratorial conduct to keep the country’s main opposition party out of the process. Such a sensitive decision has been taken in the midst of obstructions in the Parliament by keeping the largest party,the CPN (UML), in the well of the House. We are recalling the moment, when the government was under our leadership some time ago, of demonstrating national unity by uniting the Parliament on a sensitive issue like amending the constitution to include the new map of Nepal in the Schedule of the constitution. In this context, it is unfortunate that even the prime minister himself has shied away from the responsibility of bringing all parties together on issues of national importance. The bragging of ruling parties that ‘We have deceived the main opposition party and maintained the ruling coalition’, has not only downplayed the democratic practices but has also nakedthe fraudulent business of creating strife in the society and dividing parties including ours.
The behavior of the Speaker, who ignored the obstruction of the honorable members of the Parliament is even more objectionable. The speaker, who was behaving unfavourably to table the business that the government had given the House, said that he would commit suicide if he had to table theproposal on MCC in the House. But When the script of the conspiracy was ready, he started to use the term ‘Speaker is umpire.’ It shows that his behavior is more obedient to a particular party than to his position. He was the one who became a puppet to split the party by saving the undisciplined parliamentarians against whom their party had taken disciplinary actions. Now national politics is out of track. Our ongoing struggle inside and outside Parliament is to establish and further strengthen the basic values of democracy and the essence of the party system. Parliament is a place where democracy is practiced through elected representatives.The people’s mandate of four years back is now fragmented, so the Parliament has not been functioning effectively. On top of that, the role of the Speaker has created further stalemate. All these have further confirmed that the current Speaker is not qualified for the prestigious position of the Speaker.
Some parties in the coalition have called the MCC agreement treasonous, and thus incited their cadres and created confusion among the people. They made poisonous propaganda. Bilateral issue was made like geopolitical issue. Until twenty-four hours ago, they said that they would step down from the government but would not agree to ratify the MCC. But Angelic knowledge’ arose in them after 24 hours and they began another series of explanations – saving the post is revolution, losing it is counter revolution!They asserted that they had no option than to support the MCC, otherwise they and their benefactors would lose their position if the coalition collapsed. Especially in the context of this agreement which has been used as a weapon against the CPN (UML), what has not been said and done in the last two and a half years?
First, they said they would endorse it after K P Oli is removed from the post of prime minister.
Second, they asked for time for 4-5 months to endorse it.
Third, they said they would ratify it after the election.
Fourth, they declared that they would not pass it in the status quo.
Fifth, they said they would help the government to endorse it by boycotting the parliamentary proceedings.
Sixth, they said,let’s get a thin and transparent curtain to cover the shame, and endorse it etc. The essence of all these messysteps was the same – to weaken the UML and remain in power.
On the one hand, they used their power to serve their interests, and, on the other, they provoked their leaders and cadres to take to the streets in the name of nationalism. They forced them to vandalize public property and cause clashes between the cadres and the security forces. Such digressive actionshavelaid bare their real faces and torn the veil of illusion.
The ‘explanatory declaration’ presented at a meeting of the House of Representatives is like the vegetarian saying, ‘You can’t eat the fish of the book, but you can eat the fish of the river.’ Coalition leaders are still active in cultivating illusion by adding color to the ‘declaration’. To say that the agreement between the two governments can be amended by a unilateral interpretation after almost half a decade of agreement is a misguided attempt to deceive the people, and it is ridiculous. This fact has been expressed in the House of Representatives by some leaders of the parties in government. In this regard, the MCC itself has made it clear that such a so-called declaration will not make any difference in the agreement. But some leaders are still trying to propagandize the ‘explanatory declaration’ as a vaccine to amend the MCC agreement, which they said was wrong yesterday. This is another ploy to confuse the people. We are saddened that the parliamentary practice has been distorted and misused as a ‘weapon to straighten’ the ‘downface mustache’ of some leaders.
We should all be clear on the fact that the issue of MCC was a deliberate misinformation campaign launched with the aim of ousting the then NCP President and Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli. That ‘campaign’ that was based on wrong intention has unnecessarily ridiculed and divided the Nepali people for almost three years. The controversy escalated in such a way that it neglected the capacity of the Nepali nation and Nepali self-esteem. It prompted the whole society to express hatred towards the leader who loves the country and dreams of the country’s development and prosperity. An unimaginable chasm of mistrust was created among Nepalis through the artificial controversy created by the rumors, and speculations spread for the sake of ulterior motives.
The MCC agreement was signed by the parties in the current coalition government. It was made controversial by the leaders of the same coalition. Instead of answering the questions asked by the people, they threw the questions at MCC. The party leaders violated the diplomatic dignity by interfering in the correspondence which should have been done by the state in regard to treaty and agreement. They even used it as a weapon to divide our party. Our party denounces those involved in such a toxic campaign.
We Nepalis are capable and independent to run any development campaign that Nepal needs. Nepal has entered a new phase of development and prosperity after the promulgation of the constitution. We need a wide range of foreign assistance, be it bilateral or multilateral, to fulfill our national aspiration of ‘Prosperous Nepal, Happy Nepali’. However, we have said that we do not accept any investment or assistance that comes against our national interest and self-respect, and with any unreasonable condition. We accept external loans, investments or assistance based on our needs and priorities. We have the capacity to mobilize such assistance and make the fruits of development available to our citizens. On the basis of sovereign equality, we are also free and able to decide whether to take aid projects from friendly countries and donor organizations. We are aware of the sensitivities of neighboring countries when mobilizing development assistance from any donor. We value the support of all countries equally. We are mindful of the concerns and feelings of all the support provided by neighboring and friendly countries.
The government is an institution with an inseparable legacy and authority. If a government cancels an agreement made by another government with a donor country or body without proper reason and due process, a crisis of confidence towards such a nation arises. Therefore, we are clear on the general method of successive governments to give continuity to the projects, which may have been initiated under the leadership of any government, if the projects are initiated in consultation with the state bodies and they meet our national needs. It has been proved in our actions and it further confirms that our party is a different and responsible party than other parties.
It is important to pay close attention to all aspects of the matter before accepting or agreeing to any external assistance. But after reaching an agreement, we have to move towards its implementation. It is the responsibility of the government to clarify any questions raised in this regard. But some leaders of the present ruling coalition have shown a dual character of being ready to reach any kind of agreement in an opaque manner and try to hide it from the eyes of the elected representatives. The UML cannot agree with the deceptive tendency of ‘Why the agreement made by the government was not tacitly implemented rather than presenting it in Parliament’. That is why it was submitted to the Parliament for approval.
The MCC project agreement has been approved by the Parliament. Now it needs to be implemented in a way that is not against our national interest. It is detrimental to further divide the nation’s public opinion about a project that has already been endorsed by the House.
The development of the country requires a strong national resolve with a vision. Fulfilling that resolve requires a strong national party with a national vision and stance. It is necessary to be free from frustration and selfish propaganda to launch development campaigns by maintaining strong national unity. It is necessary to free the country from the offenses of some of the parties in the coalition and the deadly tendencies demonstrated by them in the case of MCC. There are still cadres who are emotionally attached to those parties because of their unwavering faith. Our party calls upon such cadres and members to stay alert to the leadership that repeatedly abuses its cadres by creating a veil of illusion for narrow political interests and urge them to join to build a strong national force.