King's departure heralds new era for Nepal...

Posted by Colin Corbridge on Wed, 11 Jun 2008 | Bookmark: digg this Post this to del.icio.us Post this to Facebook

Election season is over, the new constitutional assembly is in place, the king has been deposed and Nepal has been officially declared a Federal Democratic Republic.

After many false starts and a prolonged process of transition, Nepal is now moving into a new era in its unfolding story. The departure of king Gyanendra, who left his palace in Kathmandu on 11th June, signalled the end of the 239-year-old monarchy. Whilst the leadership of the country has changed, the challenges remain the same. Nepal is one of the poorest countries in Asia. The recent years of civil strife have disrupted what little progress was being made in sectors such as health and education. The new government, with the Maoists as the majority party, must now get on with the business of running this troubled land.

Writing from Kathmandu, CMS Ireland Mission Partner, Mark Gill shares his thoughts on the implications of these changes for the people of Nepal.

“One would like to think that this ‘new dawn’ will bring prosperity, peace and justice to the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal – but that will largely depend on how the new government actually implements the plans which were presented to the public during the elections. The government has a mandate for change: to reduce corruption; to be democratic rather than autocratic; to have fair and equitable opportunities for all rather than nepotism. All of this represents a tall order for a left leaning majority party. For local organisations, like CMS Ireland’s Global Partners in Nepal, it could mean more freedom to operate and to respond where the needs are. As with all change, however, it takes time to ripple out to everyone. So there will still be challenges and trials to face, but as we have experienced time and again, God brings together all things for good, and we trust in this for Nepal.

With the ending of the kingdom, there could be a period of soul searching for a lot of people. In days past, the king was revered, his picture was hung in every office, shop and home. The monarchy was mostly a source of awe, loyalty, security, stability and hope. However, these feelings deteriorated rapidly after the royal massacre of 2001 and we now find ourselves, seven years later, with no king, but with plans to appoint a President in the coming weeks. ‘Mr. Prem and Mrs. Premila Public’ will have to fill that gap in their psyche and we pray that this indeed opens up opportunities for mission and for the Holy Spirit to work.”

Please continue to pray for the work of the Christian Church in Nepal – and specifically for CMS Ireland’s partners in HDCS and Sundar Dhoka – as they work out how best to live out their faith in the face of this profound change.

Click here to find out more about our work in Nepal or contact Roger Cooke to explore how you can get involved.