The prime minister’s residence in Baluwatar has been misused by many occupants in the past. Sadly, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli seems to be no exception. He hosted a party of Oli clan inside the prime minister’s official residence on Saturday. People were outraged and social media exploded from Friday morning. More troubling, journalists were not allowed to cover the event. The people have the right to know why such an event was hosted there. Plus, we also must know if the expenses were covered from the state coffers. If that is the case, then it would be unacceptable. We have often criticized the practice of holding party meetings and other events at the official residence in Baluwatar. The sanctity of the place must be preserved. Baluwatar residence is not a place to be abused by the occupants. This saga of abuse of authority and power must be stopped once and for all.
When asked, prime minister’s advisers dismissed this as minor issue. But we differ. Young republic like ours must adhere to the rule of law and set exemplary tradition so that the future occupants of the place won’t dare abuse the power and resources at their disposal. Disgraced former head of the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) Lok Man Singh Karki was widely criticized when he used the CIAA complex and the official residence as wedding venue of his daughter. The act was deemed abuse of authority by the head of the anti-graft body himself. While instances of abuse of resources by the office bearers are not new, those at the top must set example to others. Heads of states and governments elsewhere are strictly monitored when it comes to using state resources. One of the cabinet members of Trump administration was fired due to his lavish travel and other expenses. That was widely seen as abuse of power by the cabinet member.
Prime Minister Oli must be careful when it comes to using the Baluwatar residence. The optics of what happens in the place is important. Chief Ministers and others elected representatives around the country look up to him for guidance and direction. When the head of government is busy abusing the power bestowed to him by the people, it only outrages the public. The opposition party and the public are already very critical of some of the works being done by the two-thirds government. People see Saturday’s event at the PM residence as yet another show of power and the pride of two-thirds majority. We hope this will be a good lesson for the prime minister to avoid such a wrong practice in future.