Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s decision to sack ministers to induct new faces has raised question marks not only among the general public but also sparked controversies within the ruling head Nepal Communist Party (NCP). There was a general belief that cabinet would be reshuffled not only to address the internal party dynamics of the government had NCP but also to address public grievances by sacking the under-performing ministers before he fly abroad for his kidney transplant.
However, the reshuffle of cabinet has failed not only to fulfill the expectation of general public but also the leaders and cadres of the NCP. As some noted leaders have come heavily against of the decision even terming the cabinet reshuffle as an attempt of Prime Minister Oli to seize of opportunity to placate factions, the differences of the NCP has come into surface at again. Though Primer Oli had attempted to take into confidence to another Co- Chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal by handing over the right of executive authority to run the party in the witness of President Bidya Devi Bhandari, it is believed that the factional war of the party would not come into end.
The game of musical chairs presided by the Prime Minister KP Oli was begun with the mass resignation of his advisers and secretarial staffers last week. However, the reshuffle appeared to be more of a decoy than a genuine attempt to assuage public perception of the NCP government’s non-performance over the last two years. It is being suspected that the real intention behind the reshuffle was nothing than just to balance internal party rifts and ensure that the prime minister has trusted comrades in charge during his expected prolonged absence for kidney treatment abroad.
As most of the critics including his own erstwhile senior colleagues Madhav Kumar Nepal have repeatedly been complaining about Oli’s style of working when vital decisions having long term impact were being taken without consulting other senior colleagues and the rank and file of the party. Being head of so-called stable government, the NCP has to think first before taking decisions having long term impact. As the so-called five point agreement signed between Oli and Dahal that grants executive power to Dahal to lead the party and allow Oli to remain in the prime minister till the term of the current House of Representatives ended has to be able to give the message of political stability in the country but not only to mention political equation among the leaders of the ruling head NCP.
As cabinet reshuffle is a routine process in a parliamentary democracy system, it should not be taken otherwise if the commitment of Prime Minister Oli to reshuffle cabinet on the basis of performance was translated into practice. The widely raised question mark, particularly from the government head NCP is that why the Labour Minister Gokarna Bista, whose so-called performance was said to rank second among all ministers, was also sacked while Drinking Water Minister Bina Magar, Dahal’s daughter-in-law, whose performance as minister ranked at the bottom, has been retained in the post.
The Prime Minister Oli should answer before the people that why other underperforming and controversial ministers were not sacked and some controversial figure were inducted in the cabinet. The question of performance and integrity would rise even against of the Prime Minister Oli if he failed to answer. The Prime Minister has to realize here that he has no any authority to centralize all the resources of the government and the party just to resolve internal problems of his own or his faction. Neither the constitutional provisions nor the spirit of the parliamentary democracy has envisaged that Prime Minister can deserve authority to select ministers just to serve his interests.