David Tharckabaw, head of the Karen National Unions Alliance Affairs, in an exclusive interview with Karen News, congratulates Aung San Suu Kyi and the NLD for their election win, but warns that military should not be trusted.
The people have spoken up against a bad government. I hope there are no more dirty tricks, no more profits for the cronies and the Generals. We congratulate the NLD and it’s chairperson.
Mr Tharckabaw said the NLD’s win was massive but warned that the military may still try to exert underhand influence and pressure.
“It’s a victory. A big victory, but we have to continue to pray and to hope. Because, nothing is still settle yet. There seems to be delays on the counting, indicating that the the military is still trying to figure out how they continue the control the situation.
Mr Tharckabaw said the military’s response to the 1990 elections must not be forgotten but hoped that they had learned that the international community is watching.
But this time maybe different, because the international community has changed, and now the people can express their aspirations more clearly and quickly. The international community must support the real change. There will be ‘dirty tricks’ to delay the result… cause delays to the peace process.”
Mr Tharckabaw pointed out that it would be hard for Ms Suu Kyi and the NLD to wrest total control away from the military.
“The military holds three important ministries – defense, interior and border security. Whatever government is in power, to be effective in governing the country it needs to amend the Constitution. That will be difficult. To change the Constitution, the parties have to get 70% plus one; one from the military. That’s means the military have something like veto power again. In reality they are controlling the power with the three ministries I mentioned.
Mr Tharckabaw said he expects that the nationwide ceasefire agreement would have to be reconsidered unde a NLD government.
“The national ceasefire will have to be renegotiated. The Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement was initially demanded by the ethnic resistant organizations. Of course the government delayed because they still want to carry out their strategy of attacking some, making ‘peace’ with others. The talks have been going on for nearly five years, but with no real nationwide ceasefire achieve. If the NLD become government they have to lead the peace process. They have to lead the negotiations.
Mr Tharckabaw said with the NLD election victory there is hope for ethnic people.
“If NLD gets real political power, there can be hope. But, still like I said there nothing is settled yet. This is just the beginning, a good beginning, of course. And we have to continue to pray. And a keep close watch on the situation. Because this military is still unpredictable, they say one thing, but they do another thing.”
Mr Tharckabaw stressed that the ethnic groups are united.
“All Ethnic group are united and if there is a military crack down we will respond. Ethnic unity has room for improvement and we need 100% unity in order to be politically effective. Corruption among some ethnic leaders has caused disunity. But we hope to get back to 100% unity. The ethnic groups realize that they have to stick together. Its military must be prepared and it must be prepared politically. We still cannot lower our guards.”
Mr Tharckabaw said that after 67 years of struggle the International community should stop telling the ethnic people to be patient.
Some in the international community are a little pro-military. They suggest gradual change. We have been fighting for more then 60 years, how many more months, years do we have to wait. We cannot wait any longer. We need immediate change. We have to push for that.”
Mr Tharckabaw repeated his warning to the ethnic groups that they had to be united.
“We hope that the unity of the ethnic people will be realized. And we have to face this situation. We have to prepare for everything, because the military like I said is unpredictable. Se, we must prepare for the eventuality. Even if the NLD won, they have to be allowed to form an effective government. We have to wait and see whether it is possible.”
Mr Tharckabaw said it was important for the sake of the country’s young people that Burma had real political change.
?If the young people have the real peace and there are more opportunities for work, employment and education there will be real progress in Burma. Unless we have real peace, there will be no change. The military and their cronies will dominate the economy and there will only be a few opportunities for employment and there will be no rush for foreign investments to be there. Even Japan, who are very pro-military, they know they cannot invest in a country with a very unsettled and military controlled economy?