Can Two Become One?

Can Two Become One?

By Azan
Monday, May 29, 2012

The leaders of the All Mon Regions Democracy Party (AMDP) did not join in a monthly meeting with the Mon National Democratic Front (MNDF), despite the meetings being stipulated in the parties’ plan to unite.

Last month, in front of Mon community leaders and senior Mon Buddhist monks, the two parties agreed to three points: to unite their parties by December 2014, to meet monthly, and to discuss and agree upon a new name for the future party.

It will be hard to negotiate the union of the two Mon political parties while leaders from both sides are engaged in a power struggle. According to Mon sources, both parties want to ensure honor for their political achievements.

Nai Myint Swe and Min Nwe Soe, two Mon State ministers and leaders in the AMDP, were the primary opponents to the meeting.

The two ministers wanted Mon National Democratic Front (MNDF) leaders to show them respect in consideration of their current political positions as ministers. However, MNDF leaders asserted that they were political prisoners for more than seven years and suffered more for the Mon people than AMDP, and they want the AMDP to show respect to them.

Mon community leaders, including Mon Buddhist monks, tried to negotiate between the parties’ leaders, but the two ministers advised the AMDP members that if they agreed to attend, they were going to forfeit their hard-earned position.

The AMDP leaders also said that no one supported them when they formed the party and decided to run for election. But after they won 16 seats in parliament, people wanted to join.

Of the two parties, the AMDP is legally registered while the MNDF is not, the latter even being banned after its leaders were put in prison in 1998. The MNDF formerly won five parliamentary seats during the 1990 election.

The AMDP leaders asked why the MNDF leaders do not join their party, instead of abolishing the one that is legal in order to set up a new party, which requires the same application to get permission from the Burmese government.

The MNDF leaders maintain that they must form a new party, with a new name chosen by both sides.  They will not assume the AMDP name because they also won parliamentary seats in 1990, and said they were more respected by the Mon community and Mon Buddhist monks.

According to one of the six negotiators appointed to facilitate agreement between the parties, Nai Myint Swe was more of a hardliner than Min Nwe Soe.

Nai Myint Swe is a former central committee member of the New Mon State Party (NMSP) and does not like the NMSP’s backing of the MNDF.

He resigned from the NMSP in 2008, when the party reportedly faced a power struggle among its leaders regarding the appointment of the NMSP army chief.

Nai Myint Swe was supposed to become the army chief, but Nai Joe Yah secured the position. The two men tied in a first round of voting, but Nai Myint Swe lost in the second round, according to NMSP sources.

Many observers at that time speculated the power sharing among NMSP leaders was not balanced. Nai Myint Swe supporters said that he did not get the army chief position because he was from the generation of Nai Shwe Kyin, the former chairman of the NMSP. Conversely, Nai Joe Yah won the contest because he is from the generation of another NMSP former chairman, Nai Nonlar, according to some observers.

In Mon history, there was a great deal of power struggle between these two former chairmen that even led to fighting. Before the NMSP signed the ceasefire, Nai Shwe Kyin side grabbed the prominent power position.

After Nai Shwe Kyin passed away in 2003, less people from his generation were represented in the NMSP. This led to some believing that Nai Myint Swe did not get position due to this association. According to a negotiator, this problem is still on his mind.

Mon community leaders are pressuring the two parties to join in order to have a powerful and united front and to secure Mon State votes in the 2015 election. People worry that without Mon political unity, Burma’s main opposition party, the National League for Democracy, will clinch Mon support.

Feedback From
Name of sender: Lyih Dein
Email of sender: ldein@yahoo.com
COMMENTS : Dear Azan
Since we are talking about respect, I respect you, as a journalist, to practise your rights of freedom of expressions. However, I also expect you as a journalist to produce reliable news without any bias or nonsense. So far, I heard yours but haven’t heard anything from Nai Myint Swe and other stakeholders yet, they may come up with different views from yours or there may be more than what you have just said. Unlike other ethnic political groups, we, Mon, only have ONE group called the New Mon State Party. We are seen as active and unified group among Burma’s many. That makes me very proud as a Mon.
 Yes, of course, there was a factional issue of Nai Shwe Kyin’s and Nai Nonla’s in the 70s. But after the successful reunification of the two in the 80s, the issue is long forgotten, dead, buried and cremated. No one has ever mentioned anything about that anymore except those working among us for Thein Sein’s Agent. My message is loud and clear: Any one encouraging the factional issues must be held accountable and be seen as a threat. The issue no longer exist.


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