The Process of Nation Building, Constitution
building and Civic Education
Organised by Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES)
Prepared by Raj Kumar KC, Journalist, The
Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES), a German-based
political foundation in Nepal organized one-day seminar on "State-Building,
Constitution-Making and Civic Education" at Janakpur, one
of the conflict-hit town of Nepal, on November 07. Over 60 persons
representing judges, local administration, political parties,
civil society and college and school teachers took part in the
They are still uninformed and largely bewildered
about the hyperbolic jargons on the constituent assembly and
formulation of the new constitution to make new Nepal. They
do not know what in fact the proportional electoral system is.
Not only the general public who are confused
about the present political activities and the procedures about
the formulation of new Constitution, even the local politicians,
college professors, and journalists seem to be simmering with
confusion since the Interim Legislature Parliament Monday passed
two proposals which has directed the government to go for fully
proportional electoral system and the set the date for the announcement
Each of them has their own interpretation
and understanding. But still they are not sure about the procedures
about elections of Constituent Assembly. Different groups have
their different opinions and arguments. Surprisingly neither
the government nor the non-governmental organisations has made
any efforts to educate them yet.
"It is a great irony that the government
and particularly the political parties are talking much about
the Constituent Assembly without letting the people know that
they really mean," said 78-year-old former professor Janaki
The new schedule and modality of the upcoming
constituent assembly are yet to be decided. Even though the
Interim Legislature Parliament passed the proposals for fully
proportional electoral system, the modality is yet to be decided.
Moreover, the people have not been informed which model would
be the appropriate according to the country's existing situation.
It is said that the modality of electoral system would be decided
in the regular session of the parliament which will be held
in less than two weeks time.
Kashi Raj Dahal, chairman of the Administrative
Court says that awareness generation campaign among the people
is a must to hold elections of the Constituent Assembly. Dwelling
upon the topic entitled "The Process of Nation Building,
Constitution building and Civic Education" organised by
the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) Dahal said that all political
parties should work in tandem for political stability and development,
for that visionary leadership is a must.
The formation of a new constitution takes place only on special
occasion of a country's history. The process of formation of
the constitution demands independent judiciary, press freedom,
fearless situation, no external and internal interference and
human rights, he said.
The cardinal objectives of the formulation
of the new constitution are to establish sustainable peace,
restructure of state and the development of the democratic (loktantrik)
system, which according to Dahal is not possible without people's
participation. A constitution is the fundamental law that sets
and regulates structures of the state and its procedures. It
defines the nature of the political system of the state, organs
of the state and methods of exercising state power.
It lends legitimacy, to the functions and
activities of the state and ensures the rights of the people
and demarcates the power of the government. A constitution is
the road map of the state. It is the 'charter' of that guides,
the conduct of the state and its people. Unlike, ordinary laws,
the constitution are not written in any kind of situation or
circumstance. Rather it is written in special situation and
circumstance through the application of special procedures.
The main objective of writing constitution is to ensure the
rights of the people and a conduct in the state affairs, which
is based on the rule of law. In a modern state, constitution
is written to prevent tyranny of the government to make it accountable
tot the people and to ensure that the state is governed as per
the people's desire and through their representatives. Writing
constitution is a political task. The privilege to write a constitution
lies with the new political forces, which have changed the existing
state power system, and represents the changing aspirations
of the people.
Regarding the Constituent Assembly, he said
that it is an assembly, which is elected by the people to write
a constitution. The major function of this assembly is to write
a constitution as per the aspiration of the people. It is also
understood as an assembly of citizens that drafts the constitution.
It is a participatory assembly that has actual representation
of the people and which writes the constitution as per their
He also elaborated different types of electoral
system such as - the existing system of maximum scoring, proportional
electoral system and mixed electoral system. He said that the
nature of politics determines the process of writing the constitution.
When a constitution is written on the basis of political process,
then it directs the politics and state system to be governed
by the constitution and law. He described the constitution of
During the discussion programme, local leaders,
teachers and journalists accused the political parties and their
leaders for undermining the existence of people. They said that
this is the high time of building the nation. However, the political
leaders are squabbling over the seats at the cost of the sovereignty
of the nation. In fact people are tired of all the wheeling
and dealing of political leaders, they said.
Dr. Ram Kumar Yadav, a political scientist
and executive member of Nepal University Professor's Association,
observed that civic sense among the political actors and the
people is a must to foster democratic culture in the society.
Making of constitution is not a big deal, but the actors who
implement it should be honest towards people and the nation.
All political parties irrespective of their partisan interests
should be united for the development of the nation, he said.
Young generations are in dire need of civic education and they
should be made to feel their responsibilities towards the society
and the nation.
Unless the young generations are aware of
their responsibility towards the nation, a sustainable development
of the country is not possible. He also made a comment that
today's generations are not serious about their duties as a
result of which the entire society has mired into uncertainties,
insecurities and lack of confidence. People are moving away
because of lack of economic and social opportunities. It is
the responsibility of the government and the civil society to
integrate their feelings and galvanize their efforts for the
development and unity of the nation. Political awareness is
vital among the youths. Despite having opportunities thousands
of youths are leaving for abroad to earn money. This is not
a healthy trend at all, he said. He also accused the political
leaders of ignoring key issues of the country. Majority of the
people in this shantytown are more concerned about peace security
Earlier Nav Raj Dahal programme director of
the FES while highlighting the objectives of the programmes
said that sense of responsibility, reconciliation, and respect
were essential to foster democracy in the society. The FES,
according to Dahal has been conducting massive awareness generation
programmes on civic education, constituent assembly and democracy
in more than 40 districts for the last one year. On the occasion
FES also distributed 150 copies of the handouts on CA, Democracy,
and other publications to participants and non-participants.