Government to purge Deuba appointees

  • Removal of several envoys and 7 governors imminent
- ANIL GIRI, Kathmandu

Nov 1, 2018-

The government is set to recall several ambassadors and remove seven Provincial Chiefs appointed ten months ago by the previous administration led by Sher Bahadur Deuba.

The government led by Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli government has prepared a roster of candidates for new ambassadorial appointments amid widespread criticism of poor performance and vacant foreign missions, particularly in New Delhi and New York, for a long duration.

Four ambassadors appointed by the Deuba government under the CPN (Maoist) quota are likely to remain. The alliance of Nepali Congress and Maoist government had appointed 14 ambassadors in February 2017. According to a prime minister’s aide, foreign ministry officials and ruling party leaders who spoke to the Post, the government plans to appoint at least 20 new ambassadors from career and political backgrounds based on new criteria approved for ambassadorial appointments by the Oli government earlier this summer.

Nepali Congress and RPP appointees currently head ten missions - Bangladesh, Japan, South Korea, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Qatar, Japan, Israel, Spain and the Sultanate of Oman. The Oli government will recall all these envoys.

To end the haphazard system of ambassadorial appointments in the past, the government has set some criteria for ambassadorship based on the Supreme Court’s verdict.

PM Oli and Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali have discussed this topic several times. New ambassadors will take charge as per the list prepared by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, officials told the Post on Wednesday.

As per the new criteria, the process of ambassadorial appointments will start three months prior to the vacancy. Six careers diplomats currently heading six missions abroad will be asked to pack up, according to foreign ministry officials.

Evaluation of performance would be done in consultation with the prime minister after Foreign Minister Gyawali returns from Qatar on Thursday. After the appraisals, letters would be dispatched to ambassadors being recalled and those completing their tenures.

“New appointments would be based on merit and the criteria approved by the Cabinet,” Gyawali told the Post.

Envoys facing the axe include diplomats appointed under the quota of Nepali Congress and Rashtriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal. There is no official information on the status of Sharmila Dhakal, appointed as Nepal’s Ambassador to the Sultanate of Oman under the Madhesi People’s Rights Forum (Democratic) quota.

According to NCP sources, the existing envoys would be recalled after consensus among Nepal Communist Party leaders on the appointments of new ambassadors. The only hitch is New Delhi and New York, according to one official, as members of the ruling party discuss probable candidates for the two key missions.

Currently, four missions-India, the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia and Nepal’s Permanent Mission in New York-do not have ambassadors.

Apart from these, six Nepali missions-Canada, South Africa, Geneva, France, Thailand and Kuwait-are headed by career diplomats who due to complete their terms in two months.

NCP leaders have agreed to remove seven Provincial Chiefs, also called governors, appointed by the Deuba government. The NCP had objected to these appointments in January. A caretaker government has no authority to appoint provincial chiefs, NCP argued.

The Oli government was set to remove provincial chiefs a few months earlier. However, the Supreme Court (SC) put a stay order on their removal.

After assuming the post of the prime minister, Oli removed hundreds of political appointees made by the Deuba government.

The SC reinstated several of them. Out of seven provincial chiefs, five are from the Nepali Congress quota and two from the Rastriya Janata Party Nepal.

Fearing the SC would revoke the government’s decision to remove the provincial chiefs, the government hesitated in the past, according to one senior NCP leader. The decision to remove these appointees was taken recently after top party leaders advised Oli to replace them.

Published: 01-11-2018 07:08

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