Act, now!

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It is a strange feeling. I can’t stop wondering.

How is it possible that one ill-reputed person with dubious morality holds an entire political system for ransom, and it looks normal to us?

How, in the world, can a man who has been charged for corruption by the anti-graft institution qualify for heading the same institution?

How, for the sake of wisdom, is it possible that the political leadership of the nation places such a man on an almost untouchable pedestal, unanimously, giving him absolute power over the executive, the elected representatives and the judiciary; and not feel an iota of fear for democracy?

How is it possible that the leaders elected to write a constitution for the people go to the extent of even tweaking the constitutional provisions to legalize the appointment of ‘such a man’ post-facto, and pass without being questioned?

How, in today’s time, is it possible for a ‘Head' of a constitutional body to try tricks used by petty criminals like absconding, avoiding a summon by the court and not letting the notice be pasted at the home address to confuse the process in legal technicalities, and still be seen by our ‘Leaders’ as morally suited for the most powerful post in the country?

How has one man become so powerful that he is on the brink of demolishing the gains of decades of struggle of generations and we can’t do anything about it?

How is it imaginable that one man openly declares that he will be soon capturing absolute executive power in the nation and the political leaders still rally-on in support of this devious agenda?

How?

How?

How has it come to this?

It took me time to make sense of things when I walked into a gathering, a little late, before Dashain, of a few constitutional experts, writers and editors.

Tough questions were being asked, and heated debate was on about the system in place. Yes, the system of governance that we had formalized just a year before, through a constitution passed by a majority of more than ninety percent was being questioned.

They were all familiar faces, mostly because they were the same people whom I had met for the first time in the protests against the appointment of Lokman Singh Karki as the head of the Constitutional Body devised to check corruption, three and a half years ago.

The arguments then were the same. And, with time, it has been proved that they were absolutely right. He was indeed the wrong man for the right job.

Appointment of this man, at such a powerful post, which has absolute power over all bodies of the state, had brought forward many questions then. They have become graver and baffling today. And his behavior has proved a clear threat for the sanctity of the nation.

In the debate that followed, a recurring theme was about the responsibility to ensure good and corruption-less governance. In the system that we have put in place, it was being said, the head of the anti-corruption body is accountable to no one.

He can be questioned by a committee of the parliament but, the argument was, in practice that does not work as we are seeing in the case of Lokman, where even three members of the Parliament are not available to register a proposal for his impeachment in the parliament.

The only way this ‘head’ is checked is through impeachment by the parliament, which needs two-thirds majority. In effect, he has become more powerful than the elected Prime Minister himself, as the government can fall under a no-confidence motion by a simple majority. 

The arguments are convincing. There is nothing wrong logically, and following this logic, it is proved that we have created something like a monster.

And yet, an editor who is strong against Lokman was hell bent on defending the system in place. It was not making sense to me. But his logic was, there is nothing wrong in the system and our opinions are swayed because the head in question today is of questionable character.

I had strongly argued against this then. But come to think of it, later, when the dust settled down, it made sense. A corrupt executive, without a check, will be even more dangerous.

And five years is too long a time for it to be punished by the people. The problem is not the system. It is the personality at present.

Benjamin Franklin, at age eighty one, on the day of promulgation of the constitution of the United States, had said in his speech - ‘Much of the strength of and efficiency of any government depends on opinion, on the general opinion of the goodness of the government, as well as of the wisdom and integrity of its governors.’

If our leaders want to restore the ‘opinion’ of the people on the system they have put in place, they have to act now.

If he doesn’t resign, impeach him, and save democracy.

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