Democracy dies in darkness

i voted democracy in nepal
Representational image. Photo: Unsplash/ Parker Johnson

An uncomfortable truth, but a truth nonetheless — our democracy is dying in darkness. In the murky depths of a faltering democracy, our nation is confronting the chilling apparition of obscurity. Corruption, nepotism, and favouritism have taken root, enfeebling the very bedrock of governance.

Hence, there are the dangers of a nation besieged by rampant corruption, where leaders act with impunity, and questionable transparency in governance, the youth are compelled to seek opportunities overseas, and remittance becomes the life force of the economy.

Corruption has metastasised like a malignant tumour within the halls of power, eroding public trust and undermining the democratic tapestry of the nation. Leaders entrusted with the duty to serve the people have shamelessly capitulated to avarice and personal enrichment. The absence of accountability has fostered flourishing corruption, diverting vital resources intended for the welfare of the populace.

Leaders immersed in corrupt practices often turn a blind eye to smuggling, exacerbating economic hardships. Smuggling not only deprives the nation of vital revenue but also facilitates the influx of illicit goods, compromising the safety and well-being of citizens. The unbridled flow of smuggled merchandise in our country undermines legitimate businesses, leading to job losses and economic instability. Sadly, they are all backed up by corrupt politicians.

I wonder and reflect on our current leadership. I am sorry about our decision. Who are the leaders that we have? Are they able to establish their priorities by comprehending the historical background of our country? And if so, what are they doing? They contributed to the ranking of our nation as the poorest nation on earth.

Unemployment and the exodus of youth

Tribhuvan Airport Passenger Drop off
File Photo

With corruption strangling the economy, job opportunities dwindle, leaving a significant portion of the population grappling with unemployment. The youth, yearning for a brighter future, are disillusioned and compelled to seek opportunities abroad. The exodus of youthful talent weakens the nation’s potential for innovation and progress, resulting in a brain drain that impedes development. According to the Department of Foreign Employment (DoFE), as many as 3,327 Nepali young people go abroad each day to work.

In the darkness of extreme frustration and unemployment, remittance emerges as a beacon of hope. The toil and sacrifice of the diaspora keep the economy afloat, providing crucial foreign currency and supporting families back home. However, this reliance on remittance comes with its own set of risks, as economic fluctuations abroad can impact the stability of the nation’s economy.

Sociologist Alejandro Portes, a Cuban-American, has drawn attention to the negative effects that remittances may have, such as encouraging dependency, impeding local entrepreneurship, and promoting a culture of dependence rather than self-sufficiency.

Kleptocracies loom large

Many recent corruption scandals in Nepal have been connected to top leaders of major parties. Corruption in Nepal
People feel democracy has failed them.

Niccolò Machiavelli believed that it was “impossible for a corrupted people to set up a good government, or for a tyranny to be introduced if they are virtuous.” We are drowning in the pit of darkness because of the Kleptocracies. Our democracy is having its clothes taken off. By actively participating in the democratic process and resolving any weaknesses or vulnerabilities it may have, citizens can play a critical role in preserving and enhancing the democratic system.

The naked democracy needs to be dressed up. The best course of action is to start looking for alternative possibilities. The requirement is citizens need to be critical. The first step in developing critical thinking is to let go of our preconceived notions about any political party. People need to engage in constructive dialogue, uphold the rule of law, and support laws and policies that enhance justice, equality, and the common good.

Corruption Perception Index (CPI), an endeavour of six different international organisations, Nepal placed in the 110th position by receiving 34 points out of 180 countries. The Kleptocracy must be abolished.

International images and geopolitical trials

Photo by Andrew Stutesman on Unsplash

As corruption and mismanagement persist, the nation’s international standing weakens. The once-promising impact on the global stage diminishes, leaving the nation vulnerable to external pressures and challenges.

Geopolitical interests, once aligned with the nation’s progress, now seek to exploit its vulnerabilities, further convoluting the path towards growth and development. Unfortunately, we are citizens of a country whose leaders have forgotten their heritage and tarnished the country’s image internationally.

Sponsored leadership does not actually perform realistic assessments based on the historical context. They fish in troubled waters for the sponsor. They backed their agendas including, among others, calls for reducing security personnel and ratification of MCC.

Failure to uphold a meritocratic culture

The nation finds itself engulfed in an impenetrable shroud of darkness, a web of corruption, nepotism, and favouritism. It further deepens the abyss, as meritocracy and talent are relegated to the backseat in pivotal appointments and decision-making processes.

The time has come for a united front to confront these insidious forces. Our leaders must acknowledge the profound repercussions of their choices and shift their focus to the well-being of the populace. By reinstating clarity, nurturing a system of meritocracy, and empowering the next generation, the nation can forge an illuminated path towards prosperity and reclaim its eminent position on the global stage.

The moment has arrived to ignite the flickering flame of democracy and eradicate the looming darkness that menaces the future of our land. Cronyism undermines the potential for progress, ushering in a system where connections, rather than competence, determine one’s trajectory. As deserving individuals are marginalised, the nation’s capacity for growth is strangled.

Uprooting nepotism and favouritism fosters a culture of meritocracy, where talent and competence are duly rewarded. By granting equal opportunities to all citizens, regardless of their background, the nation can harness the full potential of its human capital.

Confronting unemployment and youth migration

study abroad, international education, foreign education abroad study brain drain
Sketch for representation only

To stem the tide of youth migration, the nation must focus on creating sustainable employment prospects. Investments in education, skills development, and entrepreneurship can empower the youth to become catalysts of change within their homeland.

Reducing reliance on remittance calls for diversifying the economy. Encouraging investments in various sectors, promoting innovation, and supporting small and medium enterprises can forge a resilient economy that is less susceptible to external shocks.

However, the signs of democratic governance in the system are dead because politicians lack ethics, conduct, and a way of life. This poses a significant challenge to the health and integrity of democracy. Unhealthy democratic values lead to a loss of public trust in the democratic process and institutions.

To dissipate the darkness that engulfs the nation, transparency and accountability must be reinstated. Leaders must be held to a loftier standard, and answerable to the citizens they serve. Fortifying institutions and upholding the rule of law are pivotal strides towards curbing corruption and nepotism while safeguarding democracy.

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Sangroula is a senior lecturer at Balmiki Lincoln College, Birtamode, Jhapa. He is a former principal of Patan NIST College.

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