Prof.Kanbawza Win’s Speech at the 64th Chin National Day in Vancouver

Source from asiantribune, 24 feb 2012


64th Anniversary of the Chin National Day was successfully convened in Vancouver on 20th Feb with a minute silence who have made a supreme sacrifice for Chinland.

One of the speakers is Prof. Kanbawza Winwho says that in an exceptionally cold winter like this, it was natural that people wants to stay near the fire and no wonder old man Than Shwe wants to join his old comrades, Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il together with his predecessors Ne Win, and Sein Lwin besides the eternal fire place. If so since he is the real power behind the scene what will happen to my beloved homeland?

Today, as the quasi civilian government dominated by the former generals pushes through political reforms at a rate that has stunned observers, it is still very fragile as hardliners and liberals are at dagger drawn in an increasingly bitter power struggle. The raison d’êtreis that the reform agenda are being cramped by persistent hardliners led by Vice President Tin Aung Myint Oo with Than Shwe pulling the strings from behind, who direct policy and controls everything and is still in a position to derail reforms, despite publicly declaring their support for democratic change. Analysts and activists are split on whether these signs of change are genuine or a smokescreen to hide the regime’s real intention to keep the military in power for as long as possible under the guise of civilian rule with the goal of lifting Western sanctions

No doubt there are some in the military with honourable intentions of improving the sorry lot of the people who are firmly committed to his democratic reform agenda but the conspicuous aspect is that reforms are implemented in an ad hoc, personalized manner. For example, Railways Minister Aung Min now leads the government’s negotiations with various armed ethnic rebel groups to sign ceasefire agreements and this personalized approach could eventually backfire. Everything appears to be the result of personal connections – even the relationship between Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the president and this is the major flaw in this whole process – there is no overall plan so it can be thrown out overnight if circumstances change. Until these changes are institutionalized, there is a danger of them being reversed in the future, especially if corruption continues and there is violence. Both liberals and hardliners main aim is to maintain peace and stability during the political transition e.g. those fears motivated the recent charges against Buddhist monk U Gambira. In other words Than Shwe’s transitional plan clearly intended to delay reforms and pit military groups against one another in a divide and rule fashion.

Hence the recent euphoria over recent "reforms" in Burma may therefore be short-lived. Unless the present constitution is scrapped or widely amended, which is extremely unlikely due to the military’s de facto veto power in parliament, Burma’s ethnic issue will likely remain unsolved. And if the country becomes an arena of competition between the US and China, there will certainly be more trouble ahead. The fact that the government has consistently refused to even consider a federal structure does not bode well for reaching lasting agreements with armed groups.

The 2008 constitution lays down the fundamentals for a centralized state structure where the military is a main, if not dominant, player. Than Shwe’s intention was to create a system of power sharing whereby no individual would become powerful enough to challenge his position and his family’s wealth, in other words he want to be the monarch of all he survey. Than Shwe’s new system also aims to create a structure that makes legal change difficult, including a requirement than over three-quarters of parliament must agree to make constitutional amendments. A quarter of parliament is made up of military representatives, giving the military virtual veto power over any proposed charter change. If Suu Kyi is elected to parliament at the upcoming by-elections, she will quickly emerge as a challenger to Shwe Mann and the USDP’s current dominance at the 2015 polls

Both the European Union and United States have indicated they may roll back their economic and financial sanctions with more progress on reforms, including the holding of free and fair by-elections in April which should provide clarity about whether government reformers or hardliners are on the ascendency as well as the pace and extent of future reforms as 46 of parliament’s total 664 seats will be up for grabs and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi herself will contest the elections. It is estimated that around 20% of current ministers are in the liberal camp while another 20% fall with the hardliners. The other 60% are believed to be sitting on the fence waiting to see and side with whoever wins the intensifying power struggle. One has also to bear in mind that the West, the US would be willing to modify its policy to suit strategic interests viz a viz China. A country previously known as the "rice bowl of Asia" is fueling large growth is of interest by outside business circles while the International Monetary Fund has estimated real GDP growth in the 2011-2012 fiscal year could hit 5.5 percent. The government of President Thein Sein appears to be pulling out all the stops to persuade the European Union and United States to lift sanctions.

If bilateral relations with the US were improved Burma would get access to badly needed funds from the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and other global financial institutions and will not depend on the goodwill and trade of its immediate neighbours China and ASEAN to enter a new era of "globalization". The regime also knew that it cannot compete with the media and non-governmental organizations run by exiles, but if US politicians and lawmakers were invited to visit the country they could help to sway international opinion in the regime’s favour, hence, many Americans have been invited to Burma including Hillary Clinton in other words Burma has successfully managed to engage the US rather than vice versa.

The real picture is that the ruling Union Solidarity Development Party (USDP) lacked credibility and not even a small fraction of the people sup[ported them, whereas wherever and whenever Daw Aung San Suu Kyi appears almost all the population came out to greet her. The people see that their future lies with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. This picture sends cold shivers through the spine of Than Shwe and its hard liners and vision that their days may be numbered. The USDP did not even venture to organize the populace as they know their position and being vehemently hated by the people. One incident is that in the delta area all the township and village tract USDP leader were called on a conference and bluntly told them that if USDP did not win in the elections be prepared to get out of their current position. They all unanimously replied, “Thank you for telling us,†and resign en-mass to join the NLD whose membership is now reaching nearly a million. In other words USDP is falling like its predecessor Burmese Socialist Programme Party. At this juncture an octogenarian Than Shwe may suddenly leave this world and nobody along the hard liners may able to control their thugs.

If that is the scenario there is every possibility that some hot head among the military with or without the connivance of the top echelons will assassinate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi as they has previously attempted to do in Depaeyin. One have to bear in mind that the whole set up of the USDP is made of thugs of different stature who are all trigger happy. Like father like daughter Daw Aung San Suu Kyi may be forced to follow her father`s foot step of a Martyr and if we look at the Myanmar History starting from blacksmith Maung Tin Dae up to this day, it is full of instances where the dominating authority always make short work of prominent and farsighted leaders for fear that he will be a threat to their power and there is every possibility that history will repeat itself.

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