KATHMANDU, Aug 9: Here´s
a saga of how a party that waged a decade-long insurgency for
revolutionary change in society and the uprooting of nepotism and
favoritism, among other things, has now become victim of its own prey.
In 2005, the Chunbang meeting demoted all the party leaders, except
Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, by one level as per a campaign lunched to
purify the party.
But interestingly, the same meeting promoted Prakash
Dahal, the son of the chairman, to regional bureau member, now the state
Here is one more. When the UCPN (Maoist) shared the cabinet with the
Nepali Congress and CPN-UML following the ceasefire agreement of 2006,
influential party leader Dr Baburam Bhattarai was asked to recommend a
list from his faction for inclusion in the new cabinet.
Many were expecting that Bhattarai´s closest confident Top Bahadur
Rayamajhi would top the recommended list, but he didn´t. Hishila Yami,
Bhattarai´s wife, bagged the coveted recommendation and was inducted
into the cabinet not once but three times in successive Maoist-led
governments, despite strong criticism within his camp.
These are just the tip of the iceberg. As the ethos of capturing state
power through the barrel of the gun fades among the hardcore cadres, the
culture of nepotism and favoritism, according to insiders, has expanded
at such a pace that the Maoists have overtaken the Nepali Congress and
CPN-UML in this respect.
The culture of nepotism and favoritism popped up alarmingly once more
during the recent formation of a 231-member General Convention
Organizing Committee (GCOC), reminding many of the popular Nepali saying in Maoist party
"Ki poi ko ki kohiko," meaning that you need either to be the wife of
some top leader or have blood kinship with such a figure to land
positions or opportunities in the party.
Mani Thapa, a former leader of the Maoists, gave a deep sigh when the
issue was raised with him, and said, "The Maoists have become utter
victims of nepotism and favoritism." Thapa, who was one of policy makers
during the people´s war, recalls the glory days during the revolution
when capability, contribution and commitment used to be major
determinants of who moved into the higher positions in the party rather
than the kinship ties he or she had with those in the top leadership.
Unfortunately, things are totally different now and you need to be a
close relative of some top gun, not capacity and commitment, to bag a
position in the party, he says.
Maoist cadres have a long list of those making a fortunate just because
of their close kinship with influential leaders. The most classic
example is Sita Dahal, wife of Chairman Dahal.
She used to be one of the advisors to the powerful central committee,
but hardly anyone in the central committee ever remembers a single
instance of her advising the committee on anything.
"This is a new tradition that the Maoists have developed after opting
for parliamentary democracy, and as per this tradition, if the husband
is a party politburo member the chances of the wife being appointed a
member of the central committee would be very high," he said.
The tradition of holding positions under the aegis of powerful relatves
has now seeped right down to the bottom of the party organization, the
cell committees. These are dominated by relatives of the influential
leaders, ranging from spouses and sisters and brothers to in-laws and
nephews, among others.