--BY MADAN LAMSAL
Many are saying the government is only talking the talk and not walking the walk. But that is not true. A new government was formed only very recently. To lead a new government, you need a fresh pair of daura suruwals! Let them heave a sigh. Then you can curse them as much as you want, right? Needless to say, the government is going to be least bothered by your curses. Don’t you know the saying, the cattle don’t die of the insect’s bites? Rather, instead of cursing the government, start praising it and make fortunes!
Again, it’s not that the government has been doing nothing. Soon after it was reinstated to power, the government started making fresh appointments on a war footing. Didn’t you notice– the government was unable to appoint ambassadors to different countries even in three years. This time it appointed ambassadors to 11 different countries in just three days. That's no small feat. It will soon appoint new faces to the seven vacant posts of ministers who were recently trashed. So, can you still complain that the government is doing nothing?
And look at the comments and complaints! They say that the government has continuously trampled on the provision of ‘50 percent from foreign services’ while recommending names for ambassadorial posts. That criteria like experience and competency was thrown out the window. That the appointments were politicised. That only two candidates were chosen from the Foreign Service and all the remaining are UML cadres, mostly handpicked. That all this is against the dignity of the post of an ambassador. That this recommendation is ridiculous in itself and inappropriate from the diplomatic point of view. That it is clear that the government is preserving the culture of sycophancy, buttering and boot-licking.
That ambassadors should be intellectual, academic and with a social standing. That they must have subjective knowledge. That it has become clear that the foreign ministry is working on somebody’s whims rather than according to a system. That diplomacy is a sensitive and grave issue. That such whimsical acts affect the country’s image in the long term. That federalism in Nepal is failing because the right people were not appointed at the right time.
Is all this fair? Should we follow such accusations?
No sooner had the government recommended 10-11 names for ambassadorship than the protests began. Don’t you know ‘that is not needed’? No wonder if someone files a court case arguing that the recommendation is not inclusive. After all, what do ambassadors do? It’s the ambassadors from the UK, the USA, India, China etc who have to do many things for their respective countries. That’s why they have direct access to even the bedrooms of our ministers, prime minister, justices, politicians etc. And that’s how they are able to secure their interests in our country!
All that our ambassadors abroad have to do is make arrangements for food, whiskey and vehicles for our politicians when they go abroad. Yes, rarely though, they have to find menial jobs abroad for some Nepali youths. Oh yes, another important job that they do is keep the count of the coffins flying back to Nepal! Is there really any other important work that the Nepali ambassadors have to do abroad that makes it necessary to send competent, learned, smart people with diplomatic skills?
Moreover, who said it was easy to find competent people for such jobs? They have to be from one’s own party, that too, from one’s own faction. They have to be from among one’s own kith and kin. If not, they have to be, preferably, from one’s own electoral constituency or from one’s own district, at least. Compared to all these people, those who can mobilise money or muscle are the most competent from all angles. Doesn’t one have to be competent oneself to find the kind of ‘competent’ ambassadors? You thought selecting ambassadors was an easy job?
It’s very difficult to find somebody who knows economic diplomacy inside out, who can establish strong diplomatic connections and can contribute to the expansion of our bilateral and multilateral relations. Even if such a person is found and is sent abroad as our ambassador, s/he will not listen to those who appointed him/her in the end. Rather, if a plain cadre is chosen for the post of ambassador, s/he will at least sing the praises of the one who appointed him. What’s more, if a cadre or two of the opposition parties, especially the mothers-in-law or sisters-in-law of the opposition leaders, are appointed, their protests, too, is nullified.
Even for the sake of political stability, the near and dear ones - not necessarily the better ones - have to be appointed. After all, the Ranas were able to rule the country for 104 years just because they had their kith and kin and relatives in all key positions.
Therefore, this is not the time for a debate. This is a time which reminds one of the Nepali proverb ‘save seeds during a famine, save yourself during a pandemic’. This is also not the time to waste time over who handpicked who for juicy appointments and who could not. This is also not the time for making a plan or doing this or that. This is a time when we should be able to patch things up to an extent if possible. Because he who can patch up the current times can leave the opponents behind in elections.
Therefore, we are not supposed to protest against the government nor are we supposed to file court cases against it. Rather we should be mute spectators. We should not curse the government, rather we should applaud it. Therefore, let’s give it a big round of applause.
For now, congratulations to those who have been successful in becoming ambassadors while their near and dear ones are in the right places!
Congratulations to the newly-appointed honorables and right honorables amidst thousands of condolences!
Congratulations you lucky ones for your smiling and sizzling pictures on social media even during this time of tragedy!
Congratulations to all of us who have managed to breathe so far despite not getting supplemental oxygen, hospital beds, ICUs, ventilators and medicines!
Your excellencies, honorables and right honorables, please do us a favour and accept our congratulations though you don’t have the time to listen to our cries of woe!