Mya Wun Yan — Many ethnic Kachin residing in Shan State weren’t able to cast ballots during the recent election. The total population according to the 2014 Census is estimated to be around 60,000 but this includes adolescents and children making it unclear how many of legal age were prevented from voting. There were also obstacles faced casting ballots for the Kachin Affairs Minister in Shan State with as many as 20,000 names not included on the voting list.
“(Many) Kachin people could only vote for three parliaments. (Many) couldn’t vote for Kachin Affairs Minister (the fourth one),” said U Zuk Dau, that won as an independent candidate.
U Than Lwin Myint, an election commission officer for Shan State, said the problems during voting was because some didn’t know to check Form 1 for their Kachin Affairs Minister.
“Elections in other countries are also not perfect. We lack experience (with the electoral process),” he said.
U Zuk Dau said: “There isn’t a Kachin party in Shan State. It’s unreasonable to vote for someone selected by another party (not Kachin) to determine the fate of our own people. Even though I was an independent candidate, I was not alone. I was successful due to the support from everyone (the Kachin community).”
His campaign received the endorsement of one-hundred Kachin elders from 18 different communities in Shan State and finished with 15,478 votes; 46.3 percent of ballots. Candidates from four political parties and two independent candidates contested for Kachin Affairs Minister.