By Salai Za Ceu Lian
May 9, 2004: Even if the military generals implement the process of constitution in their sponsored convention by compelling the participants to approve it, we are not going to accept the outcomes as the would-be-seen result is illegal. Indeed, convening the national convention without finding means first to end the internal political crisis is disgraceful and unacceptable agenda that the military regime is embarking on. It is just a FAKE convention.
The idea in behind is a mere illusion of introducing a sweeping reform. It will neither produce concrete results benefiting the country’s political future nor will it pave ways to bring about positive changes politically, which would lead towards reinstating democratic process. The sole purpose of the upcoming national convention slated on May 17,2004 by thuggish regime is to legalize the militarism and defend dictatorial rule through the Constitution.
Once again, they are masterminding the participants in coming convention to nullify the legitimate role of the winning party (NLD) and 1990 election result, which they, the generals, themselves organized it. Strictly speaking, their move with the proposed convention is purely a flagrant breach of the 1990s election outcome and its legitimacy. Before Burma holds the presidency of ASEAN in 2006, the Burmese Generals are attempting to make sure that their draft constitution is fully completed. Unfortunately, the Secretary general of United Nations, Mr. Kofi Annan’s expectation to see Burma’s democratic government in the year 2006 would be the year for ASEAN countries to officially recognize the bloody Burmese military regime by empowering them to chair the ASEAN.
By looking at the real challenges facing the country politically at this critical juncture, one could easily draw a conclusion that convening a national convention so as to deal with the Constitution is not first priority for leaders who are in power to work on it. While hundreds of thousands of political dissidents are in notorious prisons throughout Burma’s jails and even the leader of a legitimate NLD Party, Daw Suu, herself is under house detention, the spiraling notion of pushing the agenda ahead to hold national convention is both primary silliness and vicious act of military leaders. Violations of human rights have been unabated in countryside. Beside this, Professor Pinheiro, Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Burma was flatly refused to continue his fact-finding mission inside the country.
If the dictators are sincerely committed to working towards transition of democracy and handing over power to the winning party where the legitimate power is belonged, they must first start holding a genuine dialogue and not kind of previous talk or so-called confidence building that resulted in vague two years ago. They must together work in consultation with the legitimate body in accordance with internationally accpeted norms.
Unfortunately, the proposed convention is a series attempt by the brutal regime to continue the old-fashioned National Concention, which was discontinued in 1996. With respect to the current convention, no sign is indicated from generals that they are going to abandon the six points guideline and 104 points article. No statement is made regarding the freedom of expression for the participants in National Convention to freely share their beliefs and that their expressed concerns be taken into consideration. If the convention is to be convened jointly by winning party- NLD and SPDC, we might have to wait and expect positive outcomes.
However, as the present convention is the one an illegal regime has one-sidedly called and going to dictate it, we, as democrats, both inside and outside the country must denounce it. Untill and unless the regime takes decisive and concrete actions toward handing over political power to the election-winning party and allow all the political parties to freely continue their political activism, there is nothing that we can say about the regime’s committment to a real political reform. Just releasing one or two political prisoners is not a good sign or positive steps either. But this rather is a considerable evidence to suggest that dictators are trying to deceive international community especially western powers so that the imposed sanction against dictators which affects and poses a major challenge to their regime be lifted.
Despite seeing the political plot of regime with their fake Convention now, to me, it would be so inappropriate and even naïve for all the handpicked invitees to attend the coming convention.They all should be convinced that they are now hijacked by the authoritarian regime to make the military rule legal in order to perpetuate the military rule. At this point, the invitees should refuse to toe the line of the military generals. Now is the high time for a pure and genuine gold to shine. To make it clear here, all the potential invitees to attend a fake national convention must oppose the convention by strongly siding with Daw Suu and her legitimate Party.