“What is 21st century relevant leadership for Nepal?”
In the past few months, there has been a lively discussion in the national media. All about an acute need for an alternative ‘political’ force in Nepal. I am encouraged by this intellectual discourse which surely will help build 21st century relevant leaders for Nepal. Thank you everyone who have consistently kept this important agenda into the limelight.
Here are my 2 years of fresh experiences building a political force in Nepal that would be relevant for the 21st century.
2 years ago, Nepal was going through a tumultuous period. A syndicate of incompetent political parties who had little will or vision were taking turns ruling Nepal. Bitter political wranglings topped by acute corruption was rapidly dismantling any good governance we had left. All of a sudden, Nepal’s constitution building body was abruptly dissolved, leaving behind a power vaccum with a deeply divided society.
This created much hatred towards the country’s political forces. Every Nepali then, had only one question in their minds, “ (Oh god!) What Next?”
At such crucial times, many Nepalese from different professions and backgrounds came together and started searching for an answer to this “What Next?” We publicly brainstormed for 22 continuous weeks taking feedbacks from more than a 1,000 concerned Nepalese from all walks of life. Students ,house-wives, CEOs, teachers, social workers, businesswomen, everyone had one consistent advice for us. “Only a 21st century relevant leadership carrying political force would end this ever-growing crisis and help bring about lasting positive transformation for Nepal. This laid the foundation for “BibekSheel Nepali” party.
“So what is 21st century relevant leadership for Nepal?” For the last 2 years, we have built Bibeksheel Nepali from ground-up by answering this pertinent question. We identified 12 key 21st century leadership values/traits a political force should have to lead us to a prosperous Nepal within a generation.
- Results oriented & pragmatic: A political force has to be simply results-oriented, with an evolving, pragmatic philosophy to help meet that. It’s foundation would rest on at least these eight 21st century basic values; responsibility, accountability, prosperity, empowerment, freedom, diversity, servant government and pragmatism.
- Follow the middle path (balance): This progressive force follows a middle path whereby on one hand, it inspires citizens to be responsible while simultaneously builds systems to hold leaders accountable. It plays a delicate balancing act by enabling citizens to become the agents of prosperity while also building a servant government system that guarantees public welfare for those in need.
- Moderate views: This moderate force has a leadership that prescribes balanced, pragmatic solutions to keep this country united and progressive.
- Equitable prosperity: It doggedly drives the country towards ‘equitable prosperity’, concentrating politics on an economy that provides opportunity for every citizen to prosper.
- Systemized: In Nepal, the crux of the problem lies not in an person but in their system (culture). Hence this political force will rely upon a effective system and not on individual charismatic leaders. It’s structure is made of 3 parallel ‘check and balance’ systems; the legislature, executive and judiciary. Just like an effective 21st century democratic government. The legislature is made of politicians who want to get in to government to rule (like any traditional political party). The executive has managers and experts who professionally manage the organization efficiently and transparently. The judiciary has those whose primary goal is to keep up discipline, protect the values (culture) and the constitution of the organization at all costs. These 3 wings independently and inter dependently work with each other to check and balance each other. This ‘check and balance’ system makes this political force run accountably, transparently and effectively.
- Self reliant members: The primary reason Nepal’s current political forces are corrupt and thus inept is because their members (cadres) are often reliant upon others for their daily livelihood. This problem has to be tackled at its roots. That is why any 21st century relevant political force has to make sure its members become self-reliant by being entrepreneurial or self-employed, or simply employed. This way, the party members do not have to compromise on their ideals and values because of their family’s livelihood concerns!
- Values based: A political force will still survive even if there are sharply differing views, policies or working styles between its members. But it shall self-destruct if its members don’t carry within themselves the same values of the institution! In order to always stay on the right path, this power has to provoke its members to live up to its core values.
- Meritocratic leadership building system: It consistently trains and produces leaders who not only know how to get elected but also how to consistently deliver once they are in the government. The leaders produced will be skilled at creating win-win environments. Their contributions are calculated on the basis of their merits and judged using scientific performance measurement systems.
- Transparent: It will be a model of transparency for others. From fund-collection to expenses to decisions, it will inject transparency into every level of its system.
- Regular leadership change (regular power fluidity): In the end, absolute power and position corrupts absolutely. That is why an alternate political force has to build a system that regularly and consistently filters its leadership.
- Youth centric: Youths will make the bulk of this political force. And thus it will be led by youthful leadership who will enthusiastically spread its core values to all corners.
- Marathon runners: It does not run like a hundred meter sprinter, but more so as a relay marathon runner in any agenda it takes up. In Nepal, only such power will win which is not overtly opportunisitic but actually spends more time to persistently builds enough stamina to outlast everyone else in the work it handles.
You might ask, would such a political force succeed? Using these ideals, we ran in Nepal’s 2nd constitution assembly elections in the November of 2013, in 4 tough test areas in Kathmandu The constitutencies 1, 4,5 and 8 where we ran were one of the toughest because we were up against political heavyweights of Nepal. In only a month-long shoestring campaign, We took the symbol of a “dog” securing a respectable 5th place out of 26 or more political parties in 2 test areas ( 6th and 7th in the other 2). In these test areas, we managed to prove ourselves as a force to be reckoned. Going forward, we have already reached more than 100,000 Nepalese from 73 districts out of 74 in Nepal and created an informal network in 25 different countries.
Because of these 21st century relevant leadership values we have incorporated in the past 2 years, we are now confident of this. The only forces that will lead this country in the future are going to be the ones that consistently create a win-win environment.
In conclusion, the end goal of any political force who wants to stay relevant in 21st century Nepal should be to build a peaceful, prosperous Nepal within our life-time. And the only ones to make sure this are those stacked with 21st century relevant leaders.