Thursday, August 11, 2011

Rangoon residents protest qualifications of new ward administrator

Thursday, 11 August 2011 12:54 Tun Tun

New Delhi (Mizzima) – Hundreds of residents are testing the meaning of the words in Burma’s new Constitution, in challenging what they say is a political appointment of a USDP member who is not qualified to hold the ward administrator position.

Rangoon Region Minister Nyan Tun Oo, left, at the first
press conference conducted by a regional assembly on
Tuesday, May 10, 2011. Photo: Mizzima
The massive protest campaign in North Okkalapa Township in Rangoon Region says the newly appointed ward administrator has bad relations with the community and a troubling family history. Township authorities are investigating based on a complaint letter signed by 500 residents.

About 150 people who signed the protest letter were summoned this week to give statements after the letter was sent to President Thein Sein on July 17. The letter protested the appointment of Moe Zaw as administrator of No. 2 Ward in North Okkalapa.

“His character is loose and he has a criminal record. So we can’t accept him as our administrator,” said Sai Wunna, one of the campaign leaders.

He told Mizzima that 504 community elders signed the letter, which was also sent to Union-level and other government officials.

The Constitution stipulates: “The Administration of a ward or village-tract shall be assigned in accord with the law to a person whose integrity is respected by the community.”

Sai Wunna said, “He is not elected by the community. He was appointed by a centralized system. The community does not respect him.”

Moe Zaw a.k.a. Kyet Kalar served as treasurer of the township Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) until accepting his new appointment. He works as a vendor in a market in North Okkalapa. Sources said he signed a bond for beating a minor child and his father served a prison sentence in a drug case.

Sai Wunna said the vast majority of people who gave statements were women. Only seven males gave statements, she said. People who were questioned said they were asked about Moe Zaw’s reputation in the community and his family history.

Community leaders Than Deik and Myo Zaw gathered signatures of people who gave statements after receiving a summons. Organizers will wait two weeks, and if there is no action, another protest letter will be sent, Sai Wunna said.

The North Okkalapa Township immigration officer, municipal deputy officer and librarian conducted the investigation.

Political party officials said there are other cases in Rangoon, Bago and Magwe regions where unqualified candidates have been appointed to positions of authority in townships and wards because they are USDP members.

Domestic news journals recently reported that there are 33 townships, 2,056 village-tracts and 657 wards in Rangoon Region.

Rangoon Region government minister Nyan Tun Oo was quoted by domestic media in May 2011 as saying: “Ward and village-tract administrators will not be members of any political party.” He said that such appointments would be made in consultation with community elders and influential and respected persons in the community.

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