Wednesday, September 22, 2021
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Political negotiation is a means

To what extent I understand the purpose, the perspective and the dynamics of the Naga political negotiations with the Government of India (GOI) and its related issues are these. It is not Naga political negotiation which denotes only a singular dialogue between one group of the Naga negotiator and the GOI. The ongoing political negotiations involved the two Naga political negotiators, namely, NSCN(IM) led by Gen. Secretary Th. Muivah and the other led by N. Kitovi Zhimomi, Convenor of the Working Committee comprising of 7 NNPGs, and both are duly engaged with the Interlocutor RN Ravi, Deputy NSA representing the GOI. Both the Naga negotiators have been in parallel dialogues and are on equal footing. The Interlocutor used to have separate camera negotiations alternately with both the Naga groups. It is therefore the political negotiations.
In the process, the Naga negotiators are not alone; rather they are being supported by the facilitators who are no other than the 60 MLAs of Nagaland legislative Assembly, the Church, the Tribal organisations, the Social organisations and the mass of the Nagas. The basic role of the facilitators is to sponsor the negotiation and to extend all possible logical assistance to the negotiators. The roles of the negotiators and the facilitators cannot be reversed nor can it be exchanged but it is complimentary. Whereas, at times, the facilitators tend to overindulge in propping up political agenda inappropriately as though one is participating in the round table negotiation. The political negotiations for solution are for all the Nagas and therefore the negotiators are not the sole proprietor of the issue. The facilitators too co-own the whole process of negotiations and so also the end result when evolved. Yet, procedurally speaking, the facilitators are to pass on their opinions on any given topic to the Naga negotiators but not to bypass them in any manner.
Whereas, for unhindered and confident transactions of the business of negotiations, the synchronisation between the Naga negotiators and the facilitators is a prerequisite. Such general understanding of the process of negotiation is imperative for both the process of negotiations as well as for smooth transition of the end result. To this end, the negotiators have a role to play as was done by the Working Committee of 7 NNPGs which briefed the concerned prominent citizens and Tribal Hohos on 6.12.2017 and on 9.12.2017 respectively following the signing of the Preamble Agreement on 17.11.2017. The Working Committee again briefed all the Tribal Hohos on the talking points of negotiation at Hotel Saramati, Dimapur on 5.6.2018. When such exercises are done, the facilitators are supposed to feel contented without sense of neglect.
Whereas, I came across an embarrassing incident in the interaction between R.N. Ravi, the Interlocutor and the invited NGOs on 26.2.2019 evening at Hotel Vivor, Kohima, when some attendees demanded for divulging the agenda of the negotiating parties. Ravi is neither a Naga nor does he represent the Nagas. Such uncalculated outburst implies that as though there is communication gap between the facilitators and the Naga negotiators which ultimately fetched minus point for ourselves. What was supposed to be sought from the fellow Naga negotiators was sought from the wrong person. What I understood the purpose of the visit of the Interlocutor was to see as to whether the Nagas will be receptive to the solution when worked out. Whoever participated in the interaction knew better what opinions were conveyed to him.
Whereas, the GOI made it clear to the Nagas that there will be only one solution to Naga political issue much before the Working Committee was invited to have the parallel negotiation and that stand remains. At times one tends to unnecessarily question as to how one solution is possible with dual negotiations. Had the GOI considered the simultaneous negotiations with two parties to be too intricate, the Working Committee might not have been invited despite the demand of the Nagas for inclusiveness. In fact, the invitation of the latter group by GOI was as per the demand of the Nagas. Also, had the GOI lacked mechanism to converge the two streams of negotiations into a single river, simultaneous dialogues would never have been started. To give solution to our political issue out of the ongoing negotiations is the sole responsibility of the GOI and not otherwise.
Repeating what was written earlier, the pursued solution will not only resolve the political issue but including lot of social ills. No solution means we have to continue with the prevailing situation particularly here in Nagaland which has been harbouring 10 governments. In other words, a single State of Nagaland has been feeding 10 governments. Running 10 governments is in the best interest of the upper creamy layer which is too detrimental to the survival of 90% or above of the people of Nagaland. The earlier the issue is resolved the better.
The political negotiations are a means to an end. With the sole principle of finding a solution to Naga political issue, both the negotiators had entered into the process. The Nagas, therefore, have been sponsoring the process of negotiations. Yet, the duration of negotiations cannot be indefinite. The negotiations must have time frame within which the issue should be resolved. The NSCN(IM) taking 22 years of negotiation is now found flimsy. It is neither rational nor realistic nor justifiable for the group to say that some issues are too intricate to resolve within 2 decades. What cannot be solved in 22 years can never be resolved in a life time. The Naga negotiators are expected to be pragmatic and magnanimous too if they are for solution. If any negotiator has the ulterior motive and is taking undue advantage on the process of negotiations endlessly for one’s comfort, it tantamount to betrayal. In the event of any Naga negotiator using the negotiation as the end is the anti-progress and self-centred. The negotiations are not the end but the means, and the solution is the end. The Nagas cannot afford to sponsor dirty games indefinitely. Therefore, be transparent with the Nagas for the sake of the survival of the Nagas.
Z. Lohe

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