Protesters maintaining social distancing hold placards during a demonstration against the government's approach on the fight against the COVID-19 coronavirus, in Lalitpur on the outskirts of Kathmandu on June 30, 2020 Photograph:( AFP )
Since early June, large groups of people have been taking to the streets across Nepal, mostly young protesters
A political storm is brewing in Nepal, where calls for Prime Minister KP Sharma OIi’s exit are getting louder everyday. A wave which was seen as a party conflict has spread to the streets in Nepal. Since early June, large groups of people have been taking to the streets across Nepal, mostly young protesters.
Unafraid of the pandemic, people of Nepal, especially the youth are angry with Nepal's response to the pandemic, and are demanding a better strategy to counter the virus. Nepal currently has over 15,000 cases of COVID-19, with the number climbing everyday. The protesters feel that the Oli government is not doing enough, and are demanding better testing and quarantine strategies, while calling for the protection of healthcare workers. Additionally, they want an end to corruption.
The protesters have been using social media to mobilise and to build pressure on the Oli government. Nepal's healthcare system has come under intense scrutiny recently. Allegations of corruption and misallocation of funds have been levied against members of the government.
In April, several senior members of the Oli government were accused of taking kickbacks in connection with the purchase of Chinese personal protection equipment.
China was under fire for providing faulty equipment across the globe. Reports say that Nepal bought testing kits from China. The delivery of these kits was delayed, and they simply didn’t work. Two separate investigations are underway into Nepal's COVID-19 dealings with China.
Even though Oli tried to distance himself from the corruption cases, members of his own party have started a campaign against him.
On Monday, the top committee of Nepal's ruling Communist Party was supposed to meet, but was postponed. The standing committee is set to reconvene on Wednesday.
Former Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal - known as Prachand - is pushing for Oli's resignation. Reports indicate that the numbers are on his side. But Oli recently met Dahal informally.
China - not too far behind!
China's ambassador to Nepal Hou Yanqi met has been meeting with senior leaders of the Nepal Communist Party. On Sunday, she met former Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal, who also wants Oli to resign.
Six days ago, Nepal alongside three other senior leaders had took on Oli during a party meeting, asking for his resignation.