The military government starting tabulating the population across Kachin State to identify eligible voters for the upcoming national elections.
A man from Mohnyin, who requested anonymity, told KNG that regime officials were in town on Monday 9 January to collect population lists. Officials were also in Mogaung, Myitkyina, Putao, Tanai, Sadon, Waingmaw and Bhamo townships.
Locals said the junta has prioritised collecting data from wards and villages away from the conflict zones where the military is fighting with the Kachin Independence Army and joint resistance forces.
An unnamed source from Bhamo said that regime officials have been visiting the wards before the villages. He suspects they’ll then travel to the other villages on the west bank of the Irrawaddy River until the operation ends on 31 January.
Military chief Min Aung Hlaing forcibly removed the civilian government on 1 February 2021, claiming that there was electoral fraud in the 2020 race but never provided sufficient evidence.
The junta has also tried to legitimise the upcoming race through its mouthpieces such as various TV channels, which has been criticised by many people and groups, including the National Unity Government (NUG) in exile, formed by former lawmakers from the previous government.
The NUG’s Ministry of Interior and Immigration issued a statement calling the military’s attempt to rerun the election a forgery and calling on all people in the country to boycott it.
“People do not need to participate in regime’s electoral process…If the junta threatens anyone, they can report it to the NUG Ministry of Interior and Immigration,” the statement said.
According to the last census in 2014, there were 1,689,440 people living in Kachin State. A total of 1,070,000 voters cast their ballots in the last election.