Get Tough With The Corrupt


It was definitely encouraging to hear the commitment of Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda that he would ensure a corruption free administration. The Prime Minister made this commitment while speaking at the question and answer session of the House of Representatives on Sunday. According to a news report published in this daily, responding to concerns raised by MPs about the slow progress in corruption investigation involving influential figures, the Prime Minister affirmed that investigations have commenced dismissing any fear of governmental failure while reiterating his determination to maintain a corruption free administration. 

The Prime Minister also said, 'Had I been afraid of losing my chair, the investigation in the fake Bhutanese refugee case would not have begun'. There is no doubt that corruption is the main illness that is ailing this country. Being a small country with diverse natural bounties, Nepal would have been a huge economic powerhouse just because of the fact that it is not only small in size, but it also does not have an unmanageable population. Just exploiting its huge water resources, tourism and agricultural sectors would make Nepal a moderately successful nation where people would not have to live in poverty and from where they would not have to leave the country to work abroad.

Personal greed

This is a serious situation that has engulfed the country and no political system has encouraged this sort of development. But it is the individuals, no matter to which party they belong to, who have put the country in misery just for personal greed. That is why it is encouraging to hear from the top most government authority like the Prime Minister, that no matter what, he would not tolerate corruption. There is no doubt that corruption at the top level exists in virtually all the nations of the world. But the unfortunate part is that it exists more in the impoverished and developing nations. The laws against any corrupt practice is very stringent in the developed nations, but many people get away just because of their position and power in the developing world. 

It is not surprising that some of the nations with huge natural resources, are still poor because of the corruption taking place in these countries. Nepal is no different, it has abundant natural resources and very honest and hard-working people in general. But it is because of the corrupt few that the nation is suffering. Like in the developed world, it would do well for the leaders here to also make laws for stringent punishment to whoever is involved in corrupt practices. This does not mean that only political leaders, bureaucrats and security personnel have to be punished, even individuals involved should face punishment for any misdeeds they have done. 

But that has not been the case. According to media reports, the people with money and power have simply escaped by being in comfort even while in custody. Here, the government apparatus and also the security institution involved must be blamed. Only blaming the judiciary is not enough or complete in clearing up cases of corruption, other important parts of the system, including the media are also to blame. Being in this field for a long time, this author feels dismayed by the fact that not only the tabloid weeklies, but now even broadsheet dailies and the broadcast media seem to be in a competition to spread only sensational news, not caring about the impact it has in the society or individuals concerned. 

Many mistakes have been made in the name of providing 'rights' to different sectors, especially in providing equality to the lesser privileged people and also in ensuring gender equality. These issues are commendable, as far as they don't disturb the harmony in any society. The media has also not always been fair in dealing with such matters. For example, two well-known personalities were virtually proved guilty in the minds of the people, before any court had decided in the cases against them. This was not fair at all for the individuals concerned. The mental torture faced by such people cannot be judged in terms of money alone. The authorities concerned must be also sensitive about such humanitarian causes before taking any harsh decisions.

Clean bureaucracy

But in regard to corruption, which is virtually milking the country dry economically, the decisions have to be harsh. After all, like mentioned right in the beginning, corruption at different levels, is creating most of the problems in the country. Therefore, the major task facing the nation is to not only exploit the abundant bounties provided by nature to it, but also ensure that those people at the top level of decision making and planning should also rise above personal greed and honestly work for the nation and the people. Like in the adage which says, 'charity begins at home', our officials should also put forth the example that they are there to serve the nation and the people in general.

The plight of the people now is very serious. Those who can afford it are going abroad for better opportunities, but the rest are living in difficult conditions back home. This difficulty of the people can be done away with by better planning and a clean government. That is why any commitment from the top level leaders and a clean bureaucracy will be an encouraging aspect for the people to not leave their country to do difficult jobs in foreign lands. Right now, it is encouraging that the Prime Minister himself is concerned about this situation, but all other organs of the governmental structure too should pitch in to make the commitment of the Prime Minister successful. Then only can the nation see real progress and not have to rue about skilled and unskilled youths leaving the country for good.


 (The author is former chief editor of this daily.)

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