Conversation about #LocalElections in #Nepal

I was relatively exhausted in the morning today. It was indeed a long night that I was at the University until 3 AM. As usual, though, I woke up together with my son (5), Sarthak, who always wakes up at 8 AM regardless of how late he begins to sleep in the evening. My wife, Saras, was pretending as if she was asleep.

Once we all were about to get out of the bed, Saras and I started to get updated with the news. It has become our routine to look at the news first, although she prefers to enter into her Facebook. On the contrary, I prefer to look at the global news preferably on the BBC, CNN, and spend some time on Australian news websites such as The Australian, The Canberra Times as this country has become our home for the last 3 and half years, then dig into Nepal.

We both stopped at a topic of ‘local elections’ in Nepal.

We both are not from #Kathmandu, but Kathmandu belongs to us. It is the place where we first met, and it is the same place where Sarthak was born in 2012. This is our capital city, after all.

She asked, ‘what do you think who will win as Mayor of Kathmandu?’ I asked, ‘is it a question?’

‘Don’t dramatize’, growled she. ‘I think @Kishore_Sajha will win. All the other candidates, as we have seen in different types of media, look puppets of their political parties. None of them actually have appeared to be emerged out of communities where they were campaigning at, but are seemingly given blessings from their political masters’. She continued as a political speech.

The PhD process, I love to call it as a process of ‘partial head damage’, has taught me not to be overtly one-sided. I murmured, ‘well, it depends’.

‘Given that we have so many weaked problems that need to be resolved through good management skills, hence many municipalities and villages need good managers. But local elections are not only about producing good managers. It is about exercising our citizenry.’ I increased my voice.

‘Hmmm, tell in plain language, I don’t understand such abstracts’, she crossed.

‘I mean, local elections should also give chances to ordinary people, who are looking for opportunities to get directly engaged in the political decision-making process. Look at that young girl @Ranju_darshana, who is just 21 years old. How should this local election give her chances to get into the politics? Local elections, therefore, should enable people to develop local leadership as well.’

I was thinking of Hanna Fenichel Pitkin’s (2004) arguments that ordinary people do not need any special, anointed ruler of any special class to govern them; they themselves are capable enough to participate in their political life, and most importantly, they are entitled to do so.

Who knows if she was convinced.

In this election, some candidates have been claiming that they have good understanding about, and experience working with, the municipal governance, hence they should be elected. Others are claiming that experience should not be accounted in the leadership development process. As Pateman (2012) argues, people learn to participate [in the political process] by participating. Experience should not be posed as a prerequisite to be a political leader.

Let’s hope that the forthcoming #LocalElections will produce hundreds of new local leaders, who will certainly transform the country from administratively controlled local bodies of the central government to politically governed independent local governments.