There has been a lot of hair-pulling and bemoaning ever since Translucency International revealed recently that Nepal slipped four places in the rankings of the most corrupt countries in the solar system, if not the known universe.
In 2019, Nepal was ranked 113th among countries deemed most corrupt but last year during the pandemic we overtook (or, undertook, depending which way you are counting) four other countries to be 117th..
Many in Nepal saw this as a matter of national shame and proof that we are a failed state. But that is looking at the glass as half-empty. I see the glass as fully empty, and time for a refill. Under the Oligarchy we can to drink and be merry as if there is no tomorrow.
There are some misguided calls for GONE to acquire the Anti-Corruption Vaccine that has recently got FDA approval after Phase 3 trials in South Africa and India. This move threatens to put Nepal back decades, maybe even centuries, as bribery is eradicated, and we lose our way of life.
We have learnt through the grapevine that MOFA is engaged in ‘vaccine diplomacy’ to inoculate Nepalis against corruption starting with frontline workers in the Department of Immigration, the Tax Office as well as the Commission on the Instigation of Abuse of Authority. Fortunately, because Nepal is so late in the game to reserve its stock of the vaccines, it does not look like we will get the doses before elections.
Corruption has been honed into a fine art in Nepal. Temple friezes depict lesser gods handing baksheesh to those higher up in the divine pecking order.
Without corruption, Nepal would grind to a halt. Why would anyone in their right mind want to get rid of one of the only things that work well in this country? How are you ever going to get your driving license, or expedite your passport? No one can get an ambassadorial appointment if the pre-paid system is abolished, or become honcho of Nepal Oil Corruption. The Fast Track will never be completed if contractors can’t pull a fast one.
Without corruption, Nepal would be an unequal society. Graft spreads the wealth around and levels the playing field, it greases the system so that the wheels of government can turn, and it raises Nepal’s per capita GDP. Without bribes and kickbacks, we would not have made the progress we have in lifting millions out of extreme poverty.
This is why we want the Lower House restored so scoundrels, swindlers, mafia from the medical-industrial complex, fossil fuel cartels, goons and war criminals can regain their rightful places in the Federal Lazyslature.
The anti-vaxxers are right. Nepalis do not need anti-corruption antigens, we should legalise graft and make it contribute to the national economy by taxing it. This will turn Nepal into a more transparent nation since every time someone slips a bribe in the Land Office, he will be slapped with a 13% VAT on the spot.
And we should aim to go even lower in the Transparency International Rankings. Even if it means we have to bribe someone in Berlin.