The legitimacy and illegitimacy of governments and their authority
Kaka D. Iralu
[dropcap]F[/dropcap]OR any government to exercise its political authority over its citizens, it must first have the mandate of the people in its formation and establishment. In other words, some people cannot just form themselves into a government and try to govern a people without first having the people’s approval and mandate. In democracy which is the government of the people by the people and for the people, this model of governance is absolutely necessary. It also must be noted that in democracy- which is the rule of law, it is an accepted fact that behind the law is the Lawgiver who is the moral and personal God of the universe. The moral laws that this personal God has given forms the basis of all our judicial systems of justice. In true democratic governments, the political authority that an elected government exercises and executes over its citizens is in fact derived from divine authority. It is a political authority based on the moral laws of God who alone is the law giver.
These moral laws which have been divinely instituted by God empowers a civil government to pass even the death sentence on those who break the moral laws of God. In this dispensation and execution of God’s justice, the word of God says in Genesis9:6: “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of god made he man.” In Deuteronomy19:21, the word of God again says: “And thine eyes shall not pity, but life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand and foot for foot.” Then in Romans 13:4 it says: “But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he (Civil Governments) beareth not the sword in vain; for he is the Minister of God to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.
In contrast to this democratic concept of the rule of law, in socialist or communist political ideology and law, behind the law is the barrel of the gun. In these atheistic political ideologies, political power and authority is derived from the barrel of the gun which is, but an impersonal metallic object only.
Coming back to the issue of legitimacy and illegitimacy of governments and its authority, in the light of the above stated laws, the following corollary facts must be noted. Any government that is self appointed and does not have the necessary mandate of the people is an illegitimate government. It also must follow that such an illegitimate government will not be able to exercise any political authority over its own citizens.
In the case of Nagaland and the Naga people, a foreign government called the Indian Government has been ruling over our lives and affairs for the past fifty years and even more. This Indian Government in Nagaland was hurriedly established in 1960 in an attempt to nullify A.Z. Phizo’s address to the international world press where he was going to present the fate of the Nagas to the international press. This meeting was scheduled for July26, 1960 at London. But in order to sabotage this important meeting, the Indian government, on July 25, 1960 sent an Indian Airplane to Jorhat and the 19 members of the Naga People’s Convention (NPC) were hurriedly taken to Delhi where the 16 Point Agreement was signed on the same day. This act on the part of the NPC nullified all the Naga people’s sacrifices for a sovereign independent Nagaland which was declared on 14th August, 1947. The NPC in making this agreement with India did not have the Naga people’s mandate. They also completely bypassed the Federal Government of Nagaland while signing this agreement. However, with the might of the Indian army and its government, the NPC was able to impose an Indian made government into Naga lives and affairs. The first election to this government was done in 1964 where villagers were gathered and compelled to cast their votes under Indian military supervision.
Because of all these political facts and events underlying the formation of the present Indian state of Nagaland, the state authorities are hopelessly handicapped to exercise political authority over the people of Nagaland. The recent Mukhalimi incident is a classic example of how an illegitimate government cannot exercise political power or authority over its own citizens even when the citizens take the law into their own hands. After all, what moral or political authority can the Nagaland state exercise when the very foundation upon which the state is founded is the political lie that Nagas are Indians and Nagaland is Indian Territory? In any crisis like this, the state authorities will always have to refer back to the Central authorities because in article 371A (1) (b), they had already given their consent to be ruled by an Indian Governor in all matters of law and order pertaining to the administration of the state and its people.