Australian Nepalese to Nepal government: no more political appointee please

8 January 2019 4:22 PM AEST UPDATE: According to the latest news reports coming out of Nepal, Ambassador Lucky Sherpa has not yet been dismissed by the Government of Nepal.

Two major news websites kantipurdaily.com and lokaantar.com have reported, citing sources within the Nepalese prime minister’s office, that the ambassador has been asked to “resign” based on the report of the investigating committee formed by the country’s foreign ministry.

According to the reports, Lucky Sherpa shall be “dismissed” if she fails to tender her resignation.

8 January 2019 2:13 PM AEST: Ambassador Lucky Sherpa, an outspoken and outgoing envoy who had presented her credentials to Governor General Peter Cosgrove on 27 June 2017, became an “ex-ambassador” overnight as her political bosses sacked her following human trafficking allegations.

Mrs Sherpa has consistently denied the allegations made by her ex-cook cum driver Wongchhu Sherpa; it remains to be seen how the former parliamentarian reacts to the dismissal.

In the meantime, the Australian Nepalese diaspora is already on a wait-and-watch mode regarding who would replace Mrs Sherpa. Given what transpired in the last few weeks, these vibrant communities scattered across Australia do not seem ready to welcome yet another ambassador with political party background.

Lucky Sherpa
Lucky Sherpa

Members of the diaspora say they would hate to see another political appointee manning the Embassy of Nepal in Canberra. Mrs Sherpa was favoured by the then Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) which has since merged into the largest communist party in the whole of South Asia – Nepal Communist Party (NCP).

Mrs Sherpa started her diplomatic stint in Australia on a rather high note as communities feted her for being the first indigenous Nepalese female to be appointed an ambassador. She became a popular figure within a short time through a combination of her readiness to work with community organisations and her very active social media profile.

Social media chatter about what sort of person should be the next ambassador of Nepal to Australia is already raging.

“We have lost trust of the Australian government,” rues Brisbane-based engineer Ishwor Kuinkel. “As her dismissal was based on human trafficking charges, it would be hard for Nepalis to come clear in the eyes of the Australian government, that we do the right things,” Mr Kuinkel, who claims to have been initially blocked on Facebook by the ambassador, said. He regrets that the controversy has divided the community based on political background and ethnicity and hence, does not want to see another political appointee taking up the job.

Another Brisbane-based Nepalese man, Dr Bharat Raj Poudel has posted a Facebook status to point out that politically-appointed ambassadorship isn’t working for Australia. According to Dr Poudel, Nepal government must now head-hunt for a career diplomat or expert, “even a retired one”. Dr Poudel has urged the Australian Nepalese community members to put pressure on their government back home so that they send a career diplomat instead of some politician.

Mrs Sherpa’s dismissal has been covered by Nepal’s two major digital media outlets as well as by few other smaller websites. However, the websites of national dailies have so far remained silent on the matter.

According to Setopati, although the investigating committee formed by Nepal’s foreign affairs ministry “cleared” Lucky Sherpa of any wrongdoing, the Government of Nepal determined her “activities” as “wrong” and hence, relieved her of duty.

Allegations against the ambassador were made during Wongchhu Sherap’s consecutive appearances on Sidha Kura Janta Sanga, an phenomenally successful live television programme in Nepal.

This news article has been edited 8Jan2019 14:14 AEST

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