Fourteen National League for Democracy executives have been expelled from the Taunggyi office in the latest instalment of the fractious relationship between the Shan State party officials and senior member U Win Htein.
U Maung Maung, the now ousted secretary of the NLD’s Taunggyi branch, slammed the move as “authoritative” and stemming from identity politics.
“The order didn’t come from the Central Executive Committee (CEC) at the Shwegondaing headquarters [in Yangon]. It came from Nay Pyi Taw. U Win Htein is only keeping on the people who get along with him and is kicking out all the people who don’t work easily with him. He is trying to replace them with his men,” said U Maung Maung.
In a letter ordering the termination, the 14 members were accused of inciting disunity, not cooperating, and failing to regularly come to the township office.
“We were expelled because we stayed away from the office. Yet that’s not fair. We can’t do our work just by sitting in the office. We need to go to the respective ward and village offices to carry out necessary duties for the public,” U Maung Maung added. “The NLD is a democratic party. It’s a party that drove out the dictators. In a democracy decisions must be made with approval from the majority. If not, we won’t accept it. We plan to oppose this decision by bringing [our complaint] to the CEC.”
He added that the NLD has thrown its future in Shan State into disarray as some of the expelled members are from ethnic minorities, and the move could prompt mistrust and misunderstandings.
Last September, U Win Htein traveled to Taunggyi to personally dismiss four NLD members in Shan State who he accused of not cooperating with the party’s campaign efforts, including by openly encouraging voters not to support the NLD.
The sacked members filed appeals, complaining about how the dismissals were carried out, and claiming to have been victims of a personal feud. However, a committee set up to investigate the complaint upheld the sacking of two of the members – the chair of the party’s Taunggyi district branch, and the chair of the state-level executive committee. Two other suspended members were reinstated.