There are no better alternatives to reconciliation and amnesty to ensure
’s smooth transition to peace. Nepal
Sigdel, K. R.
Nepali Congress (NC) leader Sher Bahadur Deuba, who was prime minister when the Maoist insurgency started (1996) and when it was at its peak, on Friday said there are no better alternatives to reconciliation and amnesty to ensure Nepal’s smooth transition to peace.
Top leaders of the NC and the Maoist party had on December 15 agreed to grant blanket amnesty to all cases of crimes perpetrated by both the state and the Maoists during the 10-year armed conflict.
For the first time since the two-party agreement, Deuba spoke on the amnesty issue, which has now become a topic of heated debate among the political parties, civil society and human rights defenders.
Deuba also maintained that while it was not wise to drag one another into prosecution for whatever wrong happened in the past, the leaders should take moral responsibility for the past crimes.
“Prachanda and I should take moral responsibility for the wrong doings during the conflict,” Deuba told the Post as he attempted to justify the parties’ roadmap to peace. “In fact, we all should take moral responsibility.”
Drawing upon the South African model of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Deuba said that for a post-conflict society like
, the best way to ensure lasting peace is to reconcile and not to prosecute. Nepal
Touching upon the ongoing row in the party, Deuba said he was hopeful that the party leadership would keep its end of the promise, including to make him the Parliamentary Party (PP) leader.
He claimed that party president Sushil Koirala had agreed to make him the PP leader in exchange for his support for the office bearers’ nomination and that Prakash Man Singh, Krishna Prasad Sitaula and Shasank Koirala were witness to that agreement. He said he is still the party’s official candidate for the post of prime minister for a consensus government.
Claiming that he has a majority vote to claim the PP leader’s post, Deuba said he will not remain silent if the party establishment went on “breaching its own agreements.” He claimed that the “signature campaign” launched ahead of the last PM elections had received support of NC lawmakers enough to unseat Poudel from the PP post and that it was withdrawn when the party agreed to field him as the PM candidate for a consensus government.
“My colleagues had rightly warned me not to support the nomination of Ram Chandra Poudel and Krishna Prasad Sitaula. Now, it looks like I misled my friends,” said a visibly upset Deuba. He said he had serious objection to the “unilateral” dissolution of the four sister wings of the party. “I have objection over his (Sushil’s) undemocratic working style,” he said. “You cannot dissolve any organisation without warning.”
Deuba resigned as the party’s central member following differences with the establishment faction on the dissolution of the sister wings some three months ago. The party has failed to call the Central Working Committee meeting with the Deuba faction boycotting it. The faction has been demanding Koirala address the causes that led to Deuba’s resignation.
(Originally published in The Kathmandu Post, Jan 7, 2012: http://www.ekantipur.com/2012/01/07/editors-pick/reconciliation-amnesty-must/346800.html)