“National Unity Government just needs to effectively support the Ethnic Armed Organizations (EAOs) which are currently fighting for revolution” Padoh Mann Mann (KNU/KNLA Brigade – 5)

Interview with the spokesperson of KNU/KNLA Brigade 5

30 April 2021

Karen National Union (KNU/KNLA) Brigade 5 Mutraw (Hpapun) District, which is fighting violently with military junta, expressed a warm welcome to the Interim National Unity Government (NUG). Likewise, the public, politicians, activists and various ethnic armed organizations also warmly acknowledged upon the legitimate announcement of CRPH upon the formation of Interim National Unity Government on April 16.

We caught up with Padoh Mann Mann, Karen National Union (KNU/KNLA) Brigade 5 Spokesperson, to discuss why KNU supported the Interim National Unity Government, can the rights and equality of the ethnic people be expected through Interim National Unity Government and are there certain possibilities for making a federal constitution as the basic foundation for federalism.

Interviewer: What is your opinion upon the Interim National Unity Government formed by CRPH?

Interviewee: Particularly, we, Brigade 5 Mutraw District, want to express our warm welcome upon the formation of government organized by CRPH. We hope that we can formulate the Federal Union as we are longing for since the certain implementations are going to be made under the basic principles of Federal Democracy Charter of CRPH.

Interviewer: Is this government such a kind of government heading to federal democracy in accord with the desire of ethnic people?

Interviewee: We can say that this government has heading to one direction because the basic principles of Federal Democracy Charter are identical with the ones which we are longing for. If we keep trying to implement in accordance with those stipulated principles, we can reach our desired political goal. That is why we warmly supported such formation of government.

Interviewer: Do you hope that the Interim National Unity Government can implement in accordance with Federal Democracy Charter? How do you think?

Interviewee: Though we can assume it as a government, these days are Revolution period. In fact, this government is not an institution which can implement their plan freely. Since National Unity Government is facing the serious attack of military junta, it has an extreme limit in its performance. Therefore National Unity Government alone is not perfect enough. Ethnic Armed Organizations (EAOs) and ethnic political parties – most importantly EAOs – need to cooperate with NUG.

Interviewer: Yesterday-formed National Unity Government involves a lot of ethnic people. But certain ethnicities, such as Shan and Rakhine, have not participated in this government. What is your opinion?

Interviewee: This situation cannot create serious ambiguity. Since National Unity Government is an interim government and it will be able to formulate the federal constitution after the governmental administration has become stable during this interim period, all of such aforesaid mentioned organizations will surely cooperate. The reason why they cannot cooperate at present is that there are still certain limits we have to handle. Firstly, the present government has not been emerged freely. On the other hand, it is running under the possible intimidating of the military junta. Secondly, this government does not evolve under the genuine constitution so we need to wait the time when the constitution has been drawn. Here the constitution in my words means federal constitution. If Ethnic Armed Organizations (EAOs), ethnic political parties, present ruling Interim National Unity Government (NUG) and NUCC do sincere cooperation in order to create federal constitution, we can reach our goal. If so, we can win.

Interviewer: There is no severe criticism upon Part I of Federal Democracy Charter, promulgated by CRPH. However serious criticism has been put upon Part II that such part is shaded by 2008 Constitution. What do you want to say upon such criticism?

Interviewee: Yes. There is something we need to talk upon Part II. However, according to the statement of yesterday, this Part II includes certain similarities with the constitution upon which we have been dealing for a couple of decades. Nevertheless, regarding the formation of government under Part II, we have a flexible condition we can adjust for betterment. If we can hold the Federal Constituent Assembly for the creation of Federal Constitution under the basic principles of Part I in the future, the perfect answer for Part I and Part II will be achieved.

Interviewer: Do you mean we can formulate the Federal Government and Federal Army later?

Interviewee: The first and foremost thing National Unity Government and NUCC should do is to create a federal constitution. During the period before the federal constitution, National Unity Government (NUG) must be recognized as the interim government. It will handle the country’s administration. The main thing is to formulate the federal constitution.

Interviewer: Do you mean federal constitution will bring the federal government? Is that right?

Interviewee: Sure. Federal Constitution will bring the perfect federal union.

Interviewer: What is your comment upon the issue of Federal Army?

Interviewee: As I said before, the existence of Federal Army also depends upon the formation of the federal constitution. After the federal constitution is entered into force, the Federal Army will be founded as an institution in accordance with the constitution. Since the present time is however revolution period, National Unity Government just needs to effectively support the Ethnic Armed Organizations (EAOs) which are currently fighting for revolution.

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