TI’s ‘Global Corruption Barometer’, published earlier last week, based its results on a series of interviews conducted with 114,270 people in 107 countries. Seventy percent of the total respondents surveyed in all the 58 municipalities in Nepal answered that political parties are the most corrupt followed by public service and bureaucracy (66%), police (58%), parliament (51%), judiciary (51%) and private sector (30%) in the top five places.
“There is no significant progress in the field of controlling corruption,” said Chairman of TI-Nepal Bishnu Bahadur KC in a press conference following the release of the report. He stated that the country’s lack of stability and good governance resulted in its ranking, and if the country hopes to steer away from such a position, political parties must be more transparent and less interested in forwarding personal agendas.
The ranking does not come as a surprise to most of the 30 million citizens of Nepal who have, over the past decade and especially in recent years, been acutely familiar with the various manifestations of political and economic corruption. Following the ten-year Nepalese Civil War and restoration of democracy in Nepal in 2006, it appeared as though the tide might shift for the underdeveloped Himalayan nation. However, despite the significant institutional developments that have emerged, political parties remain at the control of the few elites who greatly influence and manipulate the political and economic sphere.
Elites continue to maintain informal and formal networks that operate in their interest. “There is a complete mistrust in the political parties. It has become so embedded in society that corruption occurs, and that politicians are only out for their own interest that trust is completely gone” says Binod Sharma, a student of politics at Kathmandu University.
As Nepal enters a period of reconstruction, it is increasingly important that the country first combat its corruption problems. In order to do this, tremendous effort must be put toward creating more accountability within the political and economic sphere. One way to achieve this is for the media to play a more prominent role in unmasking corruption with unbiased and honest reporting. Particularly in a country like Nepal where the common everyday rhetoric holds weight and a sensitivity of public opinion and image prevails, unbiased and accountable media can play a huge role in combating corruption.
Second, as Bishnu Bahadur KC alluded to earlier, transparency within all political activities is pivotal in curtailing corruption. It is the duty of public officials to rightfully report their actions to the people of the state, as it is the citizens’ responsibility to hold public officials accountable for their behavior and actions. Only when such transparency and accountability can be held from both spheres will the reconstruction era of Nepal see the light of transformation and progress.