Thoughts on Political institutions and structures in Nepal : Summary of 7th open citizens meet-up in Kathmandu

See you tomorrow (Saturday) at 9:45 am for the 8th open meeting at GAA Thamel, Kathmandu (till 11:15 am). Here are some of the summaries of the last episode ( 7th meetup).

•There are strong links between political culture and literacy levels; with rising levels of literacy in Nepal, there is greater hope for a better system to come into place.

• Charismatic leadership circles, an enlightened mass, and a suitable political structure are needed in order for a better political culture to develop. In Nepal’s political history as well, people like B.P. Koirala, Madan Bhandari, etc. were charismatic leaders with a great vision, but they did not have an enlightened mass to support them, nor did they make an effective political structure to streamline their own governance and give their administration an efficient and transparent direction. In this sense, all these leaders who succeeded in specific historical events but failed in longer-term political processes were not successful because of the absence of a ‘good’ political structure within which to run.

• The differences between professional politicians and professionals who then get into politics is an important one. For instance, professional who already have a means to sustain themselves before and after they get into/ out of politics are more likely to be sincere, transparent, and not as entrenched in their own power-trips. On the other hand, politicians who depend almost entirely upon politics for their livelihood, professional politicians’, are more likely to be corrupt and less likely to support a fluid power structure.
A fluid power structure, with a constant (periodic) rotation of those in positions of power, is essential for a better political system and government.

• There are many institutional arrangements that can be made to make sure such fluidity of power. E.g. particular parties could make internal arrangements to make sure there is a fluid rotation of people as party leaders and to curtail the entrenched powers of the older leaders.

• A distributive “check and balance” mechanism for power is needed within a political leadership team, bureaucratic structure, party structure, and other institutionalized forms of governance.

• Maybe the focus be on the ways to split the relations between power and authority; there should be mechanisms to make sure greater distribution of power and responsibilities.

•It should be borne in mind that power is always delegated to powerful people; this is the basic tenet of democracy whereby leaders become powerful only because they receive support from their subordinates (or people).