Time to reap benefits of Constitution: PM Oli
An exclusive Interview with PM KP Sharma Oli on the 4th Constitution Day
When the country prepares to celebrate today the fourth anniversary of the promulgation of Nepal’s constitution drafted by the Constituent Assembly in 2015, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli is confident that Nepal will move ahead in the path of ‘Prosperous Nepal and Happy Nepali’ despite many challenges faced by his government.
Here are the excerpts of his interview with government media including Rastriya Samachar Samiti (RSS), Radio Nepal, Nepal Television, Gorkhapatra and The Rising Nepal. RSS Chairman Shyamal, Chief Editor Shyam Rimal, Chief Reporter Tirtha Bhattarai and Senior Reporter Prakash Silwal were present in the interview with the PM:
Mr. prime minister, what message would you like to convey to the Nepali people as the country enters fourth year of the promulgation of a constitution which is drafted by the Constituent Assembly.
First of all, I would like to convey my hearty greetings and best wishes to all the Nepalese at home and abroad. We have passed three years of the promulgation of constitution. We are now in course of implementation the constitution, framing laws and building structures envisaged by the constitution aiming to address the aspirations of the people for better service- delivery.
Our utmost responsibility is to provide security and self-esteem to the people in general. We are moving ahead with clear outlook for the prosperity of the people.
We have now a majority government after we attained political rights, managed the conflict and even faced the devastating earthquake of April 2015.
We have now a federal republic achieved with proper acumen and participation of the people.
Our ancestors have a glorious history of innovations, researches and studies, which tell us that our land is naturally beautiful, fertile and prosperous. We have mines, flora and fauna, water resources, herbs and what not. We can attain prosperity from these all.
Our economic and technical capability may not be able to meet the aspirations for prosperity of the people. In view of this situation, we have developed high-level relations with our neighbours, friendly countries and international organizations in keeping with our national interest, national dignity and concern if there were any misunderstandings in the past. Although we were landlocked in the past, we are now not in a position to feel inferiority complex of being landlocked and want to seek cooperation from neighbours without compromising our national interests and concerns.
How do you evaluate these three years of new constitution as an executive head of government?
The constitution has made the Nepali people sovereign. It has given its explanation, implementation process and its system in detail. The constitution has regarded the people as the source of sovereign power and its focal point.
I have been saying that I will not stay idle satisfied with the figures of per capita income or gross national production. There would not be any situation that any citizen will be deprived of food, clothing, housing and education of the children. This is the essence of the constitution. No one would die and no one will be allowed to die of hunger. Our destination is an equitable society. Not that everyone should have equal property, but that the state should give attention that no one should die of hunger.
We have admitted about 300,000 children to schools through especial enrolment campaign this year. We will run such campaign next year as well and ensure their continuation. This is a right to education guaranteed by the constitution. Our constitution has policies and procedures for incorporating all diversities of Nepal including geographical, linguistic, cultural and communal. It will ensure national unity.
As implementation of the constitution is on process, a party in government, which had reservations on constitution, has said it will not celebrate the constitution day. What initiative would you take for wider acceptability of the constitution?
Some problems can be solved, but some cannot be when they are made a political issue. They are raised just as an issue, and cannot be solved. When one is hungry, he eats, but if he pretends as being hungry, he will not eat. He wants to keep the issue of hunger alive. He wants to show his hunger. I do not think we should give importance to them who pretend to be hungry.
There can also be some vested interest groups, infiltrators and some secessionists. The Nepali people themselves isolate and reject them.
However, we can adjust in genuine cases. Constitution is not as rigid as the religious scriptures. It is a progressive document and we are ready to discuss on matters, which can be amended. However, people will not support those who want to lead to disintegration in the name of amendment of the constitution.
You have been frequently raising the issue of good governance and security, but the provincial governments say that they do not have police force with them. There seem some misunderstandings between the centre and the province with regard to good governance. Moreover, there have been some challenges witnessed in security sector. Have you any plans to improve this situation?
We should understand that the province is province, they are not separate states. We have a bicameral parliament in the centre, 753 local governments and 77 district coordination committee (DCC), which means a total of 761 governments, but they are not separate and independent from the centre. They are all organs of the Government of Nepal. The DCCs are also representative organizations of the people, they have their own responsibilities. The provinces will have provincial assemblies and governments, but we do not have infrastructures for their offices. Three years ago, I had planned for it, but some people spent time in the game of pulling down my government.
However, we have done a lot in the meantime. Several laws were formulated after this government came. There are provisions for local laws, judges and taxation. How could that be done, when no one was familiar to all this. If something is lacking, it should not be like parents giving away parental property to children and quarrelling over this. We can discuss and manage for the service of the people. There are also some tendencies of making hue and cry to spread anarchy.
As for security, our society lives with high values and ideals. We have Tharu community in Nepal, which has a family with more than hundred members, sharing the same kitchen. We cannot imagine such tolerance elsewhere in the world. Attempts are being made to weaken this. The decline of moral values has been transformed into social crimes. Animals do not cheat or conspire. However, when consciousness is used differently, it amounts to crime. At present moral values and norms are violated, in which we should all be careful.
How would you move ahead to make the implementation of constitution and concept of prosperity successful?
Constitution drafting was challenging, but we faced this successfully. The constitution has been made in a way the Nepalese people had wanted, not in a way any others wanted. The torch-bearers of democracy should have maturity. There is not a long history of Nepali people exercising their sovereign rights. The main essence of democracy is to accept the peoples’ mandate. To shun democracy in any pretext is authoritarianism. However, the tendency of shunning democracy does not have future in Nepal.
Why did we coin the slogan ‘Prosperous Nepal and Happy Nepali?’ It is based on the adage of our ancestors – Sarve bhavantu sukhinaḥ Sarve santu nirāmayāḥ (May all be prosperous and happy, May all be free from illness). Happiness comes from prosperity, but not from this alone. We cannot sleep when there is terror, fear and insult. Prosperity only is not sufficient for a man to be happy.
Happiness is the knowledge of our ancestors, the conclusions drawn by our saints and sages as well the philosophy of Karl Marx that sorrow should not only be explained but be transformed into happiness, and the conclusions by Puspalal and Madan Bhandari and the totality of the democratic republicanism. Political change is already there and now good governance and development is the path towards our prosperity. A seed is sown; it will bear fruit in the end. We want to reach the destination of prosperity and happiness through good governance and development.