No criteria for a leader
By Vijay Singh Chhetri
Sept 24 - Politics is a game of the elderly people. Even if you invest your youth in it, you won't be a popular politician until you are quite old." My grandfather used to tell me this whenever I wanted to involve myself in politics. Since a majority of political leaders are aged, I have realized that my grandpa was telling the truth.
In Nepal, one is not eligible to apply for civil services after you are 35 years old. Besides, you have to retire from service once you are 58 years old. However, there is no age bar in politics. Once you are 25, nobody can stop you from joining politics.
Most of the political leaders who were appointed to top-position following the 1990 movement were beyond their retirement age. If we remember the history of our prime ministers, most of them were on this category of age and this tradition is still in existence.
Besides, there is no qualification bar in politics. In civil service, you should be at least SLC passed to be a 'Khardar'. Although the qualification is enough to enter a government office, it is not enough to lead the country. In civil service, one can get a job as per qualification but in politics it is the power of speech that matters. So, there is no discrimination in politics, anybody of any status can apply.
To be a minister, it is not necessary to have knowledge of that ministry. For example, one can be a health minister even if he doesn't know much about health. Similarly, anybody can be a minister of science and technology even if he believes that earth was created by Madhu and Kaitab.
To lead a country is not a joke. When unqualified persons are given ministerial posts, how will the intellectual bureaucrats feel? When these delegates issue orders, will it not frustrate the bureaucrats? And how can they make plan for the development of the country?
If a civil servant has to leave service after a certain age, why not the political leaders? If the retirement age is specified in civil service to give space to the new generations, is it not a good thing to give a chance in politics as well? It must be always remembered that the future of the country rests upon able leaders. A country requires well-qualified and intellectual leaders. The tradition to allot ministerial post depending on one's dedication in politics should be breached. So, the qualification along with age bar should be strictly governed. Qualification criteria gives a chance to the intellectuals to show their talent at the ministerial level, while the age bar allows energetic young generation to be involved in politics. This will in turn make politics a respectable profession in the future.
(The writer is a lecturer in Microbiology)