In Kachin State, the construction of the huge Myitsone Hydropower Project, on the Irrawaddy River, and large scale land confiscation in the Hugawng Valley by the Burmese military junta are the top issues because so many Kachin people are strongly opposed to them.
But, these issues have been neglected during the campaign by the three proxy parties of the military rulers—the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), Unity and Democracy Party of Kachin State (UDPKS) and the National Unity Party (NUP), which are three of the five major parties in Kachin State.
Residents of Myitkyina have noted as well that independent candidates, Zahkung Ting Ying and Lasang Awng Wa, two former Kachin armed group leaders, have also avoided the two issues in their election campaigns.
Hundreds of native landlords in the Hugawng Valley have been forced off their land since the Yuzana Company, chaired by U Htay Myint, entered the valley in 2006 and began to take over land owned by residents to grow cash crops.
Currently, the National Democratic Force (NDF), the opposition party formed by former members of Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) party, is helping farmers take legal action against the Yuzana Company in the Kachin State government court.
Ms. Bawk Ja, the NDF’s Hpakant candidate for the People’s Parliament, said she is helping landless Hugawng farmers sue Yuzana.
No other political parties or independent candidates are standing with people in Kachin State to stop the construction of the huge dam at Myitsone in Irrawaddy River, also Mali Hka in Kachin, 27 miles north of Myitkyina.
The dam is a joint project of Burma’s Ministry of Electric Power -1, as well as the Burmese Asia World Company, and China’s state-owned China Power Investment Corporation (CPI). The official construction began in December, 2009.
All Kachin people, including the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), officially reject the Myitsone Dam project because flooding would threaten the lives of millions of people if the dam breaks.
In Kachin State, voters in the Burmese junta’s controlled areas have no favorite party since the Kachin State Progressive Party (KSPP) was banned by the Election Commission.
The EC also cancelled voting in all the KIO controlled areas, which include half the townships in Kachin State.