The governance gaps occur when sovereignty-constitutive public institutions are weak and ineffectual to execute shared tasks while sovereignty-free bichaulias (middle men) and interest groups are powerful enough to drain them and incline to reap illicit gains flagging both public and national interests and free ride on other’s hard work. The rise of poverty, inequality, joblessness, discrimination, corruption, impunity and anomie mark the signs of weak governance which are costly for the life of the wretched having fewer means for social mobility. Strong governance is central to keep shared policy space and right disposition of constitution, rules, institutions, processes and actors that can make the art of politics pivotal to spur productive business across the state, market and a variety of intermediary institutions between the family and the state.
The ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) is the largest single political force having enough popular mandate to govern. Disarrayed oppositions, overwhelmed by the numbness of loser’s psychology, are feeble to take on oversight role. The intra-party power contest of NCP heavyweights, however, shows that rules, system and process of decision making have yet to shift from personalised practices to institutional norms. They influence the governance from behind the scene, not through enough deliberative, transparent and regularised process from bottom-up. Consensus on the rules of the game is central to make politics stable in terms of its legitimacy and properly apply resource, authority and power enabling the art of governing filled with promises.
The nation’s dreary malaises are piling up, swelled by growing frustration of citizens over the jolt of COVID-19, corporate leverage, mounting debts, fiscal deficits, rattled investments, economic downturn causing livelihood crisis, unplanned out-bound migration and scarcity of health related equipments, agricultural inputs, educational disarray, shortage of social discipline and geopolitical wrangling testing the gear of its socialistic kit. These challenges require coherent response of governance, an improvement in the failing human condition by the promotion of human rights - rights to life, liberty, health, education, food, security and opportunity enshrined in Nepal’s constitution.
Effective governance in a diverse society like Nepal supposes devoid of national capabilities of which security is the topmost. The security of citizens and defence of the state’s sovereignty are essential to harness human and natural resource potentials and unlock opportunity for entrepreneurships. Democracy, development and peace cannot flourish in a security vacuum. Security can be enhanced by bolstering state-bearing non-partisan institutions and cultivating the richness of its social capital of syncretism. The capacity of national independence of Nepal is closely associated with right steering shared and self-governance and enlarging their ability to produce and distribute public good impersonally. The Nepali state’s defective power monopoly, however, tells its decreasing outreach in society able to address unconventional security challenges and bolster the image and authority of discipline upholding and other specific constitutional bodies. So long as top leaders’ instinct to respect integrity, separation and check on each other’s power remains narrow, the governance efficacy fails to keep pace with interrelated transformations in the system and the life-world.
Nepal’s self-esteem demands coexistence with their multiple impulses, melody of relationship and gift of partnership in progress. Intellectual light to back up its diplomacy is essential to adapt to changing geopolitical constellation, maintain due diligence, resolve bilateral problems and craft innovative policy ideas to move safely ahead in the idiom of citizens socialised in universal aspirations. For a small state like Nepal its deftness should resemble a cat stalking its prey silently and a defensive hedgehog that is less disturbed by others. Range of creative ideas matters in enhancing Nepal’s destination of good governance embedded in choice and reflection.