“The people must partner with government leaders to end corruption. Just as leaders have a duty to establish and enforce the rules, citizens must hold these leaders to their duty,” wrote U.S. Ambassador to Nepal Alaina Teplitz.
In an op-ed published in The Kathmandu Post on February 20th the Ambassador noted:
“Democratic accountability is more critical as Nepal transitions to federalism and the first government elected under the new constitution takes office. Local administrators can be lured into the shadows where corrupt networks already scheme, or they can serve as examples of integrity, shining a light with transparent governance. Citizen pressure makes a decisive difference.”
“Nepal is not alone in having a history of shadowy governance and self-serving cartels,” wrote Ambassador Teplitz. “The United States faced cartels in the early 20th century when President Theodore Roosevelt spoke of ‘the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics.’He set out to destroy what he called ‘an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people.’”
The Ambassador wrote that Nepal can also confront and destroy these cartels and push governance into the light to be accountable to the people, citing Nepal’s electricity supply as example of success.
“Load shedding did immeasurable damage to Nepal’s economy, and literally kept Nepalis in the dark,” she said.“Tragically, it was unnecessary because, according to the work of numerous investigative journalists, the electricity shortage was artificial and designed to enrich a few...One person was credited with breaking up that cartel and the corrupt practices impacting residents.”
As authorities in Nepal draft and debate new regulations, Ambassador Teplitz urged citizens to call for their public release in order to have insight into and protection against new laws and regulations that might further protect vested interests at the public’s expense.
“The United States is working with Nepal to help eliminate corruption, and supports Nepal citizens in this effort,” said Ambassador Teplitz.
The Ambassador concluded by sharing her desire to see the emergence of a culture “that rejects the invisible government, destroys the unholy alliances of cartels, and builds a society that is fair and functional for all Nepalis.”