| March 21, 2019

Govt names ambassadors to 21 countries

Eight joint secretaries named from MoFA
Six from CPN-UML, four from UCPN (Maoist), three from RPP-N
MPRF-D yet to propose name
KATHMANDU, April 19: The government has nominated Nepal's ambassadors to 21 different countries, including 13 political appointees and eight joint secretaries from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Among the 13 political appointees, the ruling parties have carved out their shares on the basis of their respective strength. Six of the appointees have been proposed by the CPN-UML, four by UCPN (Maoist) and three by Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal (RPP-N). The government is yet to recommend an envoy for Oman, which is to be the share of the Madhesi People's Rights Forum-Democratic (MPRF-D).

A cabinet meeting on Tuesday recommended the names and they will be appointed after confirmation through the Parliamentary Hearings Committee.

The joint secretaries of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) who have been named for ambassadorial posts are Durga Bahadur Subedi Chhetri for the United Kingdom, Tara Prasad Pokharel for Brazil, Ramesh Khanal for Germany, Jhabindra Aryal for Egypt, Sewa Adhikari for Pakistan, Prakash Subedi for Austria, Lok Bahadur Thapa for Belgium and Rishi Ghimire for Myanmar.

Those recommended under the UML quota are former foreign minister Mahendra Bahadur Pandey for China, former minister for general administration Yubaraj Karki for South Korea, Shiva Maya Tumbahamphe for Israel, Khadga KC for Japan, Narad Bhardwaj for Sri Lanka and Ali Akhtar Mikrani for Saudi Arabia.

Those proposed by the UCPN (Maoist) are writer and social activist Padam Sundas for Bahrain, Mahendra Singh for Qatar, Yubanath Lamsal, editor of The Rising Nepal, for Denmark, and Lucky Sherpa for Australia. Sherpa was a lawmaker from the CPN-UML in the first CA and later joined the Maoist party just ahead of the second CA election.

Similarly, those proposed from RPP-N are Niranjan Thapa for Russia, Bharat Bahadur Rayamajhi for United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Khagendra Basnet for Bangladesh. Former minister Thapa is vice-chair of the RPP-N, while retired general Rayamajhi and retired bureaucrat Basnet are central committee members of the same party.

"The government will also finalize the name of the envoy for Oman shortly. With this, there will be no mission abroad without an ambassador," Prime Minister's Chief Advisor Bishnu Rimal told Republica.


Flouts Supreme Court order

As the government has nominated the envoys without setting out any criteria and even as those occupying  the posts are already representing the nation abroad, the move has been widely criticized from various sections of society.

The government's move is expected to be further criticized as the decision process was not in accordance with the spirit of a Supreme Court order issued on August 13, 2015. The apex court in its order had asked the government to set out the criteria and basis for nominating ambassadors so as to render the ambassadorial positions on par with international standards and respectable in the public view.