Military tyranny shattering democracy in Myanmar -The Asian Age

The state army of Myanmar, popularly known as Tatmadaw, declared one year state emergency on February 1, 2021 through a hassle-free military coup and also detained State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, President Win Myint, and other government senior leaders. Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) had secured a landslide victory, taking more than 80 percent of the vote, the election held in November 8, 2020 and increasing its support from the 2015 vote. But the result insulted the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP). The military supported the USDP’s assertions, claiming fraud in vote without any credible evidence.

The military endorsed a constitution that drafted in 2008 which preserved 166 or 25 percent of seats in the parliament, and the USDP would have needed to secure another 167 seats to appoint Min Aung Hlaing as the country’s next president what the military junta expected. Suu Kyi tactfully escaped the desire of Min Aung Hlaing Presidency and army chief furthermore presumed to be faced the trail of Rohingya massacre case in abroad against him. But the party won only 33 of the 498 available seats, while the NLD took 396 which prompted the military junta to seize the power through a military coup.

Hours after the coup, the military declared a one-year state of emergency, using as a pretext the NLD government’s alleged failure to act on its claims of “terrible fraud”. It also pledged new elections, but did not provide a time frame, and vowed that power had been handed over to Ming Aung Hlaing, as the leader of the country, serving as the Chairman of the State Administrative Council.

Min Aung Hliang, Myanmar state army chief, was the man who denied the citizenship of Rohinga community from the very beginning of crackdown drive. Amnesty International already blamed him as a mastermind and perpetrator of the offence held in Rakhane that recognised by the UN Human Rights Council as called 'ethinic cleaning of textbook example'. In a true sense, the man and his subordinate forces incited the state military personnel and extreme Buddhist and also spreaded racism to Rohingyas terming as 'Bangalee'. Myanmar state army's racism attitude was main bar of citizenship guarantee of the Rohinga community.

Whimsically Myanmar Military Junta were spreading hate and misinformation from the very beginning and misleading the world community. The Myanmar state army and their associated so-called extreme Buddhist used the social media facebook as a strong platform to incite and instigate the mob to oust the Rohingyas forcely and tortured them heinously in various ways.

Military rule in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, was not new, initially lasted from 1962 to 2011 and unfortunately further resumed in February 1, 2021. Myanmar gained its freedom from the British Empire in January 4, 1948 under the Burmese Independence Army, as a democratic nation. The first military rule began in 1958 and direct military rule started when Ne Win captured power through a coup d'état in March 2, 1962. Burma became a military dictatorship under the Burma Socialist Programme Party that lasted for 26 years, under the claim to save the country from disintegration. During this period, there was some democratic landscape in the form of giving rights to the citizen to elect and to stand for election.

The coup on March 2, 1962 led to the end of democratic form of government and the beginning of direct military rule in Myanmar up to 1974. During the period of military rule under General Ne Win, the country was shaped into one-party socialist state under the army led party called as Burma Socialist Programme Party (BSPP) till 1988. And the year from 1962 to 1988, it can be marked as the era of Ne Win. The period from 1962-1988 can be divided into two parts i.e., the first phase was the period of direct military rule from 1962-1974 and Constitutional Dictatorship phase from 1974 to 1988.

In 1988, the Burmese people, led by student activists, staged nationwide protests against economic disorder by the military junta and demanded democratic reforms. The military successfully clamped down on the protests as many as 5,000 people were killed, however, it failed to silence the growing calls for democracy and lost nearly all public support. Within the same year, Aung San Suu Kyi founded the NLD and started pressuring the military government to hold elections.

Giving in to domestic and international pressures, the military called an election, which the NLD won by a landslide. The junta, however, refused to recognise the result and instead pushed Aung San Suu Kyi under house arrest. The army promised to hold new elections and hand power over to a civilian government after drafting a new constitution in 2008, but failed to do so for 18 years.

After ruling the country with an iron fist for almost two decades, the military junta arranged a controversial election without the participation of any opposition group. Despite the NLD denouncing the referendum as “fraudulent” and the international community raising questions about its legitimacy, the state army vowed that the draft was accepted with overwhelming public support and swiftly put it into effect.

The new constitution preserved the military’s control over the government by reserving 25 percent of all seats in national and local parliaments for serving military officials. This arrangement also gave the military junta the de facto power to veto any constitutional reforms put forward by civilian legislators. Under the new constitution, the military also maintained its control over the country’s mining, oil and gas industries, thus ensuring a continuous flow of resources.

Nevertheless, the military junta still enjoys some appeal in Myanmar as “the defender of national sovereignty” against perceived external and domestic threats. The army also “buys” popular support by making lavish donations to the Buddhist community and funding the construction of monastic schools.

In 2011, the military junta was officially dissolved following a 2010 general election, and a nominally civilian government was installed. Until the election in 2015, most of the world knew Aung San Suu Kyi as “the Lady”, a saintly figure uniquely adored by the west and Burma’s numerous ethnic groups; the articulate, elegant champion of peace and democracy who sacrificed her life and family for her country; the woman who stood on a rickety table outside her Yangon family home-turned-prison to make speeches on equality while under house arrest. But ironically three years later, the feted Nobel peace prize winner has become a global pariah at the head of a regime that has excused a genocide, jailed journalists and locked up critics, leaving the international community wringing its hands as Myanmar remains as repressive as ever.

Suu Kyi became the first national leader to answer directly before the court of Justice at Hague while genocide was still alleged to be unfolding. She was also the first recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize to be called to account for grisly crimes such as rape, murder, the burning of babies and the large-scale removal of an ethnic group.

World wide criticism sparking out as Suu Kyi should take away the Nobel peace prize and she was no longer deserved it. Many of her world recognition had already been recalled and it was her shameful reward. Then she was proved herself as the greatest liar, the witch, the shameless leader and she also lost all of her human quality. She lost all of her name and fame which turned her reputation as villian to zero points. What an ironical fact that now she was under the custody of military junta and a few months ago she advocated and endorsed the brutality of the military junta that held against Rohingya community in Rakhine state. Now the democracy in Myanmar is an outcry and has no gaurantee when come to be true.

Md. Zillur Rahaman is a banker and freelance contributor.