Buy time to do nothing: how to tackle a system’s tactic to stop change

In Nepal, there is an alarming trend.
Whenever there is an agitation, campaign or even a revolution in Nepal, it seems  an effective strategy for those in power will  water it down ( counter) by using the “buying time to do nothing” tactic (over and over).

What is ‘buying time to do nothing?’
It is ‘agreeing’  to build a ‘high level commission’ to investigate the matter at hand and use that time to essentially tire  campaigners  out.

Prominent News in Nepal usually reads,
“Deal reached! High level commission set up to investigate so and so…. ! “

Everyone becomes happy that solution is at hand!  Citizens move on! Our supporters and fellow change-makers move on to other issues !  We (are forced to) move on !

The key for any change-maker at this time is : When ever a high level commission is set up, transform your task-force into a watchdog! Your first duty as a watchdog is to warn media, and all your supporters that this is the most dangerous time to slacken, give them examples of the past campaigns that failed when they slacked off at this stage and convince them this is actually the time to take campaign to step 2.

Make sure you do this:

  • Set up an accountability seeking team (shadow task force) that has direct contact with the High level commission members and remind them to the point they know we are watching their every step.
  • Ask for a phase wise plan that needs to be delivered. (it can’t be something like, please don’t bother us for 3 months while we work on it ). Form your own accountability task forces (shadow task forces). Divide them into smaller sub-task-force and involve your supporters in this process.
  • Make high level commission members name and contact information public. Keep the campaign going on a smaller scale. Don’t stop.
  • Make sure they  give a weekly report to the accountability seeking team in your group). Initiate a countdown.
  • Engage with media issuing weekly update on the commission’s work. Make sure media covers your issue periodically.
  • Rally your supporters with regular updates and ask them to consistently write or talk about this issue to the their local crowd. Warn them not to fall under a false sense of security that the job will be done.
  • Remind citizens and campaigners that its their own issue!

We need you to be Nepal’s watchdog! In a country where the system expect you to be a sheep, learning how to be a watchdog is perhaps the antidote to the sleeping tablet they feed us while they do their excesses!

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