Post Conflict Situation and Governance
One-day seminar organized by Nepal Foundation
for Advanced Studies (NEFAS)
29 December 2009, Kathmandu
A one day seminar, "Post -Conflict
Situation and Governance in Nepal", was organized by Nepal
Foundation for Advanced Studies in Kathmandu on 29 December, 2009
to discuss the ongoing peace process and its various dimensions.
The seminar was a part of a series of discussions among the members
of the thinking class organized by NEFAS over the years with the
cooperation of Frederich Ebert Stiftung of Germany. These discussions
are broadly aimed at raising academic awareness on policies on
the post conflict situation. Scholars, political workers, journalists
of note and others attended the function.
The term 'post-conflict
situation' itself has been up for debate among Nepalese academicians
for a long time, mostly because of the emergence and escalation
of various kinds of conflict in different sectors of the society
since the Comprehensive Peace Agreement was signed between the
then Maoist rebels and representatives of seven political parties.
More precisely, the 'conflict situation' versus 'post-conflict
situation' terminology debate has taken place in each of the
seminars in the series to demand the attention of the organizers.
The seminar series, however, was designed assuming that the
date of the signing of the CPA was the beginning of the post
The seminar was divided
into three sessions, including the inaugural that was reserved
for the welcome address by NEFAS Executive Director Ananda Srestha
and a presentation on the topic of the seminar by FES representation
C.D. Bhatta. The inaugural session was chaired by Ananda Aditya.
Prof. Srestha talked about the difficulties the ongoing political
impasse was creating for the common people while Bhatta talked
about the need to refrain from criticizing politicians, as they
are needed to move politics towards the positive direction.
Chairperson Ananda Aditya said that in spite of the uncertainties,
things were looking optimistic since the political parties had
worked hard to bring the Maoists to the political mainstream.
"If jagged rocks can smoothen their edges as they continue
to roll downhill, so can the Maoists come to the Nepalese political
mainstream as a legitimate political party", he said.
The first working session,
chaired by Prof. Guna Nidhi Sharma, saw two presentations--
one on the legal complexities of turning the popular aspirations
into a viable legal document called the constitution, while
another but brief presentation was reserved for Prof. Ram Kumar
Dahal. Prof. Dahal said that the uneasy situation that the country
was going through was making the job of constitution drafting
difficult. He added that the absence of law and order, the rampant
foreign meddling in domestic affairs and the over half a dozen
postponements of key constitution-drafting tasks was enough
to suspect that the constitution may not be drafted in time.
But, he said that, one must be positive and hope that things
will take their due course.
Kashi Raj Dahal, for his part, tried to separate the politics
from the down-to-earth legalities of constitution drafting and
proposed several ideas to conclude the tasks in time-- the backbone
of his ideas being a search for consensus among the disparate
political actors. The floor discussions that followed picked
on the proposition and the near-impossibility of bringing these
incongruent forces together. Several of the participants even
questioned the soundness of acts to bring together different
political parties on a single platform in the competitive polity
of multipartyism. Others talked about why even the Constituent
Assembly was being treated like a parliament by political parties-
with the attendant characteristics of both opposition and ruling
benches. Chairman Prof. Sharma said that the situation was indeed
rife with uncertainties and called for the need to end foreign
intervention in the different aspects if national life,
The second session had
only one presentation by Bishnu Raj Upreti and it was chaired
by Prof. P. Kharel. Upreti's presentation dealt with the series
of faux pas that the political actors were making and the complications
these were creating for not just the drafting of the constitution
but even in finding a consensus among the political parties.
He said that there was a real fear that the ongoing political
process was resulting in a situation that was moving towards
a civil war. He added that if the conflict takes the ethnic
dimension then it would be a very unfortunate day for the nation.
Upreti said that the parties must come together to resolve the
mistakes they have made and work for the benefit of the people.
The floor discussants pointed out the
need to not just blame the political sector for the mess but
the civil society as well. The point was picked up by the chairperson
of the session, Prof. Kharel, who elaborated it further saying
that there was a worldwide tendency to use the press and the
NGOs on the frontline of latter-day conflicts, including war.
Shivaraj Dahal gave the vote of thanks at the end of the session
to formally conclude the day's function..