October 3, 2022, Monday
Nepal 1:37:26 pm

Ensuring democracy

Editorial

The Nepal Weekly
April 27, 2022

With candidacy-registration completed, the May 13 local polls in 753 municipalities – rural and urban – are now ready for voters’ say and participation. They have to use their votes for ensuring democracy, earned through long struggle and institutionalized for the past five years by the republican constitution. Because of this backdrop, voters cannot take the local election as just another event or a political programme particularly owned and manned by politicos and their parties. None should show any sort of indifference towards it. Active participation in it is what the country needs today for institutionalizing federalism and good governance at local level. Since the polls offer citizens opportunities for exercising their sovereign power, they should use it wisely and sensibly. The next five years will be shaped by the way they vote on that day. Although political alliances among big parties have offered voters rather limited space and choice, they have to use their brain and conscience to make the best use of the voting process. The electoral alliances should not be allowed to evolve as another face of all party-mechanisms which were abused by politicos in the past and which ruined local bodies. The same facilitated the growth of kleptocracy in the country and the fund allocated for development at local level was mostly used for partisan interests at the convenience of politicos. Voters have to be careful about it. Carelessness in this regard could result in the rise of the trend of using government resources for the gains of parties and their leaders. Similarly they have to consider the way local governments were run in the past five years. Lessons from these should guide them as they enter the polling booth this time. Building municipalities and their wards in a proper sustainable, transparent, environmental friendly way should be the goal. Ensuring delivery of public services and making the optimum use of resources available with a sense of equity and equality should also be the mission for all as they go on casting the vote. Picking up the candidates who could fulfil such agenda should be given a chance. With the first cycle of local government under federalism completed, Nepali municipalities should through the process of the polls, be able to come of age or be mature enough to guard democracy and deliver people what they need in the digital era. Let the polls create an enabling situation for the municipalities to emerge as more competent and service oriented institutions dedicated to the public interest !