An Expected Decision

The government through a cabinet decision taken on Wednesday has annulled all political appointments made by the previous caretaker government led by Sher Bahadur Deuba. The cabinet had decided to revoke all political appointments citing that the appointments were made when the election code of conduct was in force and after the election results were out. As per the cabinet decision, appointments to various government authorities, organisations, councils, board committees and organisations under company act made by the previous government of Deuba after the enforcement of code of conduct for elections on August 30, 2017 have now been annulled. The cabinet decision has put under pressure several political appointees, including high level appointees such as seven chiefs of the provinces, CEO of the Nepal Reconstruction Authority and the Chairman of the Nepal Telecommunication Authority to give up their positions. A day after the cabinet decision, five additional inspector generals of armed police force have resigned.

The decision of the government was long awaited and expected because when the Deuba-led caretaker government was making one after another political appointments even after the election results were made public, the Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and the victorious party had warned that all of these appointments would be annulled as they were made by the caretaker government after the results of the general elections for the federal parliament and provincial assemblies had gone against the party. The victorious party of Prime Minister Oli had termed the act of the caretaker government a politically immoral act. Now, the decision to rescind the appointments by the present government has raised heckles of the main opposition, the Nepali Congress, which had then led the caretaker government. The Nepali Congress, after the cabinet decision, told media that the government’s decision would lead to a political confrontation. The NC then wasted no time in terming the move as another glaring example of the government getting more authoritative in nature.

No doubt, the annulment of the appointments has made the main opposition quite angry and dissatisfied. The NC has now warned the government that the party would hit streets and stage protests or even boycott the Parliament against the government’s ‘authoritative act’. However, it is obvious that the dissatisfaction and anger expressed by the NC is misplaced because a government enjoying two-thirds majority can take decisions to annul any political appointments made by the previous administrations so that it can appoint capable persons, who may be the its party functionaries, loyalists, cadres or even independent persons who are quite capable of holding these important positions. The government reserves rights to annul past political appointments and replace them with new ones. Despite taking vital decisions of scrapping appointments made by previous government, the Oli led government must be wary that its latest step must not invite political controversies which would mar its reputation. Many of the appointees facing government axe are likely to knock the doors of courts seeking their reinstatements. The government, on the other hand, needs to make all its moves cautiously so that its decision could be implemented effectively. The cabinet decision to remove political appointments, however, appears to be taken with lots of thinking and is unlikely to fall through.

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