KSPP Not Buying Into NLD’s New Ethnic Affairs Committee

Nhtung Hka Naw Sam, chair of NLD ethnic Kachin affairs committee.

The Kachin State People’s Party (KSPP) has criticized the ruling National League for Democracy’s (NLD) hasty formation of an ethnic affairs committee—and its appointment of an ethnic Kachin chair—as a move to garner support in this year’s general election.

On January 2 the NLD reported that it had established a central ethnic affairs committee on December 26, 2019. The appointed head of the committee is Nhtung Hka Naw Sam. The KSPP said they are still unconvinced that the move was sincere.

“In my opinion, they will use it when they launch their election campaign in ethnic regions and for winning in 2020 general elections,” KSPP vice-chairperson Duwa Gumgrawng Awng Hkam. “It won’t represent all ethnic people. I want other ethnic people to understand this. I think they needed to talk with ethnic political parties if they wanted to form this ethnic affairs committee. Therefore I don’t think it will be effective,” he explained.

Chair Nhtung Hka Naw Sam defended the formation of the committee.

“Ethnic issues are a big challenge in our country. Our party is now leading the country, so our party formed an ethnic affairs committee to work on ethnic issues,” Nhtung Hka Naw Sam told KNG.

The KSPP is a political party formed through the merging of four Kachin parties. It will compete against the NLD and the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) in the general elections this year in Kachin State.

A USDP candidate won a seat in the by-elections in Myitkyina Township—home to the Kachin State capital—in November 2018. The current vice-chair of the KSPP Duwa Gumgrawng Awng Hkam came in second in the same township.

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