More info (22nd Nov): Followups to this blog post can be seen here: How was the polling day? and Citizens’ Statement about Maoists’ walkout from vote counting. I have made some revisions about my prediction made on this post on the blog post written after polling closed across Nepal, and the results that are coming out right now confirm the general mood in Nepal I had described in an earlier post.
This is the fifth post in my election-update series. The first one is here, the second one is here, the third one is here, and the fourth one is here. The first post contains the definition of the Nepalese “echo chamber,” a theme which will be referred to throughout this series. The third one describes how a lot of money and violence is being used right now to manipulate results. The fourth one describes the general mood in Nepal right now.
The world is used to seeing Robert Mugabe manipulate elections for his favor time after time, for decades now. The international community does not lack the expertise and experience to identify the rigging and manipulation of elections in places like Russia, Venezuela, or Iran. Still, it chooses to ignore the very similar tactics in Nepal. It chose to do so in 2008, when we were voting for our first Constituency Assembly (CA) Election. It is doing the same right now, as we are just one day away from voting for our second CA election. I will explain, below. This is exactly the reason for this blog-series from Ushaft. And this is also the reason for my prediction that the Maoist will garner a clear majority this time (I sincerely hope to be proven wrong on this one). Ushaft is perhaps the only one in Nepal making such a prediction right now (because the general mood in Nepal is very different- see post 4 for more). The echo chamber will come up with very accurate prediction of the election results after the results have been announced. The echo chamber likes to attack everyone who tries to make a prediction about the future, but Ushaft will take the risk and predict that the Maoist will win a majority seats, providing reasons for such a prediction.
Election fraud 2.0
The recording released only today says a lot. Maoist chairman Prachanda’s voice can be heard in this YouTube video. He is addressing a secret meeting of his party’s high level officials in Kirtipur, a town adjacent to Kathmandu. Prachanda is a candidate from a constituency there (he’s also a candidate from one more constituency in Southern Nepal). In this video, he repeatedly stresses that a loss in this election will “destroy everything for the Maoists” and that they “have to win in any case.” He tries to make his point across by repeating these in both a very emotional and threatening voice. He seems to imply that if they lose, it will be the end of the world for the party and its members. Further, he adds that they have to win by “hook or crook.” A popular saying in Nepal when one intends to get something done using any means possible is to say to win by all four means available: “Sāma, Dāma, Danda, Bhed,” roughly translated as “persuasion, bribing, violence and conspiracy.” Not only that, he explicitly describes how to execute this policy for the elections. He directs his senior officials that they should spend money and buy votes as much as possible. Prachands then directs them to “capture the voters” and make sure that the votes are cast in their favor. He repeats again that “simply do anything, but make sure we win at any cost.” The video is embedded here.
“We’re still at war”
Here’s the video mentioned above. Prachanda makes it clear to his people that they’re “still at war” and they’ve to continue the war until they win.
By hook or crook
Anyone who has had the opportunity to observe the Maoist party and the ways of their top leaders Prachanda and Dr. Baburam Bhattarai (including the governments they led) would not be surprised by what they heard in the video above. They have waged the bloodiest war in Nepal’s history and caused suffering of incomparable magnitude to the Nepali people. Not only the level of our intellectual discourse, but also the level of our economy, science, education, and basic demands have been reduced to the most barbaric and insane standards set by the Maoist violence.
In a previous post, I have already predicted how and why the Maoist will win a majority seats in the coming election, despite the general mood being quite to the contrary. Although the breakaway Maoist faction (called Dash Maoist) are said to have been behind the series of election related violence in the recent days, Ushaft refuses to believe so. Not only have the Dash Maoist not accepted any responsibility for these events, their own purpose has always remained dubious (many suspect they are just the underground branch of the main Maoist party, called Cash Maoist). Only these two Maoist parties have the nationwide network, resources and the willpower to use violence to reach their goals. They, in essence command an “parallel state apparatus” consisting of their own army, police, court, business, industry, publication, intellectuals, and even loyal citizens. They own huge amount of resources and ammunition. It is only them who have the will and the reason to be so ruthless and sweeping in their actions as to be able to disrupt elections.
Ushaft does not like how only the Dash Maoist party has been blamed and held responsible for the election related violence. One has to blame the Cash Maoist party (of which Pushpa Kamal Dahal aka Prachanda and Dr. Baburam Bhattarai are the leaders) together for what’s going on. After what has been known about their activities involving vote buying, intimidation and violence, it is only stupid to think that they are not part of this.
Nepal’s radical forces (of which the Maoist party is the principle one) are one step ahead of everyone in the political game. Although they have not yet mastered the populist reform programs of other famous dictators, they have surely learned from their propaganda and intimidation tactics. They have applied these tactics while in power, even after they entered the peace process. They have distributed cash to their cadres and potential voters, threatened several independent voices and often silenced them completely (violence is not usually the last resort, it is a fate that awaits opponents of Maoists more easily in Nepal than in many authoritarian countries). They tried to intimidate the media and business community. They have learned from mistakes of other strongmen in the world and mastered new methods of their own.
The group of activists, writers, editors, and thinkers who constantly lobby in their favor (who I call the “echo-chamber” in this blog-series) has also succeeded in creating a favorable climate for them in the international arena. Nepal’s Election Commission has explained its helplessness in enforcing the election code-of-conduct (see fourth post for more), but the international observers are not bound by such compulsion. Nepal is not one of the former Western colonies and most local discussion here takes place in the Nepali language. Moreover, Nepal is not a big international player, and our internal news is rarely known to the outside world except through the language of this echo-chamber. This leads the international community to heavily rely on this group of people to make sense of what’s happening in Nepal. Through this blog-series, we’re trying to provide them an alternative and critical view.