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The Myanmar Times

Mandalay NLD ban campaign, cite "irresponsible persons"

National League for Democracy members at the opening ceremony for a ward office in Mandalay’s Pyigyitagun township June 2012. (Photograph supplied)National League for Democracy members at the opening ceremony for a ward office in Mandalay’s Pyigyitagun township June 2012. (Photograph supplied)

National League for Democracy officials from Mandalay Region’s Pyigyitagun township have banned a grassroots campaign to provide information to members on the party’s upcoming national assembly.

The party’s township-level commission, which was formed to handle preparations for the national assembly, sent a declaration to ward-level commissions in Pyigyitagun township on November 3 saying that the campaign was organised by “some irresponsible persons” and could cause divisions among party members.

The declaration said ward commission officials should not cooperate with the activists, who launched the campaign with a visit to Htain Kone ward on October 23 and have since visited two more of the township’s 16 wards.

One of the leaders of the information campaign, U Ko Ko Aung, denied the accusation that their campaign would cause conflict between party members and said he would continue to meet Pyigyitagun residents to discuss the national assembly.

“On the contrary, I think the letter from the township commission could cause dissension among party members. I want to know whether the top leaders know about these issues. The officials from the township commission haven’t done any public events for the assembly until now; all they’ve done is make that letter. We will continue our campaign and have already visited three wards in the township,” U Ko Ko Aung said.

U Ko Ko Aung said some township commission members complained his group had criticised them in the media. However, he said they had only spoken to the media about the issue after not being allowed to discuss their grievances township, district and regional meetings.

“They did not allow us to talk or to attend the meetings. We have been unhappy about it for a long time but nobody knew about it. I want Daw Aung Sann Suu Kyi to know about how the [members of the township commission] are acting like dictators,” he said.

Another member, U Win Hlaing, said the district commission had told the group it had not yet received the letter.

U Ko Ko Aung and U Win Hlaing also said the regional commission issued instructions to each township commission that there should be at least two members from the district and township commissions at each ward assembly to “watch and guard” activities.

“That letter was not an instruction from the party headquarters and not included in the instructions for the assembly process. We think the expression ‘watch and guard’ suggests a level of interference in the ward assembly,” U Win Hlaing said.

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