DFID apologizes over poll boycott call by its senior staffer

Published On: November 30, 2017 06:00 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

DFID senior governance advisor Rakesh Mishra was found denouncing both the constitution and the upcoming elections and campaigning for 'Free Madhes'.

KATHMANDU, Nov 30: The UK's Department for International Development (DFID), Nepal, has apologized after one of its senior staffers was found campaigning for free Madhes and denouncing the widely-supported elections on the social media platform.

The staffer, Rakesh Mishra, a senior governance advisor to the UK's aid agency in Kathmandu, who now has deactivated his Facebook account, was found not only denouncing both the constitution and the upcoming parliamentary and provincial assembly polls but was also campaigning for free Madhes on the social media.
Arguing that the blood of Madheshi martyrs had largely been in vain, he had also urged voters to actively boycott the upcoming polls in a peaceful manner. He termed leaders and voters as "bastards", and accused the leaders of Madhes-based parties of not working for the cause of Madhes.

DFID issued a statement apologizing over Mishra's statements and reiterating its support to the promulgation of new constitution, as the statements drew serious controversy. "The adoption of a new Constitution is a milestone for Nepal. It has been the UK Government's longstanding position to encourage all actors in the political process to create conducive environment for peaceful and broadly supported elections, including provincial and parliamentary elections," said the statement.

DFID-Nepal also clarified that it has taken such issues seriously, but was not positioned to "comment on individual cases".  "We have reminded all our staff of DFID's code of conduct which makes clear how we must be, and be seen to be, honest and impartial. We take these issues very seriously. However, we do not comment on individual cases", the statement said.

As a section of people in Nepal even raised question about its role vis-a-vis the upcoming polls, DFID-Nepal also clarified that it continues to support the electoral process in Nepal, including with statements promoting peaceful and broadly supported elections and through funding domestic and international election observation missions in the first and second round of the elections.

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