The Current

Nepal's disastrous politics could hold back its recovery

Nepal's political leadership is widely derided as corrupt and incompetent. Its decade-long civil war ended in 2006 and in the ensuing nine years there have been eight prime ministers. So how is a country known for its political dysfunction supposed to rebuild after last month's devastating earthquake?
Nepal is reeling from a natural disaster of epic proportions. But the country's political situation was disastrous to begin with. What does this mean for Nepal's road to recovery? (REUTERS/Adnan Abidi )

Earthquake Aid in Nepal | Why the Long Wait?

7 years ago
Duration 8:07
Earthquake aid has been slow to reach the many remote communities in Nepal. Here's a glimpse inside one.

The death toll from last month's earthquake in Nepal now stands at about 7,500. And for the country's survivors, life is far from back-to-normal. But for all the attention that's been paid to delivering aid and assistance, there's an underlying condition in Nepal that can't be overlooked. And that's the country's political situation.

Long before last month's disaster, Nepal was on a very shaky foundation. In 2006, a decade-long civil war in the country finally came to an end. And Nepal began a major transition, from a Hindu monarchy, to a secular, democratic republic.

But in the nearly ten years since, its elected governments have lurched from one crisis to the next.... rarely staying in office long enough to be effective. Over the past nine years, Nepal has had eight prime ministers. The country still has no permanent constitution. And the same vested interests that once shaped its civil war, have become entrenched once again in its politics.

Which brings us to today, and to our panel:

  • Prashant Jha is a Nepali-born journalist who writes for the Hindustan Times. He's also the author of "Battles of The New Republic: A Contemporary History of Nepal." He was in Philadelphia.
  • Thomas Bell is a writer and reporter who lives in Nepal. He's also the author of "Kathmandu."
  • Mary DesChene is an anthropologist at Washington University and the co-founder of the Studies in Nepali History and Society. She was also a policy advisor to the Nepalese Health Ministry.

This segment was produced by The Current's Gord Westmacott and Marc Apollonio.