The word “Constitution” carries a huge meaning and responsibility. But many Nepalis living below the poverty line do not even know what it stands for.
They have heard the word but they don’t understand its magnitude. Most Nepalis know its meaning but have forgotten their responsibility to it, while those who have taken the responsibility to draft the new Constitution have made a joke of it as they have failed to make acceptable progress in even half a decade.
So for the average Nepali, Constitution is like a magic wand that will make things right, take care of the daily problems they have been facing ever since the insurgency, or the protracted social problems that have existed for centuries.
In addition, they also expect it to maintain law and order and provide them with the basic necessities they need to function everyday. Most importantly, they want proper supply of electricity and fuel.
But the people of Nepal, already deprived of peace, have been held captive to these basic needs, especially after the promising governments which came to power after overthrowing the monarchy.
Continuous power struggles among the political parties and the deteriorating state of law and order have proved that the present form of government is not doing any better, either.
The people of Nepal do have a lot of expectations with the upcoming Constitution but those expectations need to be directed to the lawmakers they have elected to carry out that responsibility.
They have forgotten that they need to monitor and push these authorities to draft a Constitution that is “for the people.” Also, the lawmakers should have been more accountable to the general public.
They should have provided periodic updates on the Constitution drafting but they failed to do so. Now we are almost close to another deadline (May 27, 2012) with no chances of extension as ruled by the Supreme Court.
We have seen several extensions to the framing of the Constitution, but do we really know what has been done to date?
Is our Constitution being drafted somewhere else? This is a serious question and a growing fear rising amongst the general public as they have been reading news and seeing pictures of their lawmakers sleeping in the Assembly Hall and where not.
Is there a third party which is very much interested in manipulating the situation and influencing our Constitution to their favor? Who could that be; neighbors or different entities?
Whether it is the case or not, should the public just watch this drama or try to put in some effort to avoid the Constitution from turning into a disaster? It is the people who elected the government and they have every right to direct it in ways which are favorable to the nation and not specifically to another party or a third player..
As the deadline is approaching, a national effort needs to put in to pave a path for the nation’s future.
The writer is a PhD candidate in Conflict Management Program at Kennesaw State University and was a former Lieutenant in Nepal Army.