‘Lack of designated home minister affecting security’

- KAMAL DEV BHATTARAI, Kathmandu

Dec 5, 2017-Lack of steady political leadership at the Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA) is one of the reasons behind security lapses, officials and observers said on Monday. 

MoHA, the agency that oversees overall security situation, has been without a designated minister since October 17. 

Two weeks after the CPN (Maoist Centre) forged an electoral alliance with the CPN-UML despite being key coalition partner in the government, PM Deuba in a massive Cabinet rejig stripped all Maoist ministers of their portfolios and took charge of the Home Ministry himself. 

As per the legal provisions, the home minister presides over meetings of the Central Security Committee.  

Given Deuba’s busy schedule as the prime minister and his election campaigns, officials say crucial meetings of the Central Security Committee, have been hampered. 

After taking charge of the Home Ministry, Deuba has chaired just three meetings of the Central Security Committee and one meeting of the National Security Council. Crucial security-related decisions are taken at these meetings. 

“My impression is that the Election Commission is also feeling uncomfortable due to the lack of a full-time home minister when it comes to coordination on security-related issues,” said former chief election commissioner Neel Kantha Uprety. 

“The home minister’s responsibility is to receive frequent briefings from security agencies and provide directives ensuring all resources and logistics,” said Uprety.

It is learnt that the Nepal Army had demanded, days before the first phase of elections, that it be given authority to detain possible poll-spoilers. But there was a lack of clear instructions from the political leadership, according to officials. 

Former home secretary Shree Kanta Regmi said a full-time home minister could have invested more time at the ministry to study the security situation and put in place required measures to tackle with possible threats. 

PM Deuba has faced criticism from different quarters for not appointing a home minister at such a crucial time. 

Nepali Congress leaders said that Deuba decided to keep the Home Ministry with himself after various leaders from his own party started staking claim to the post. 

Published: 05-12-2017 07:21

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