Saturday, December 22, 2012

KNU elects Gen Mutu Say Poe as chairman

Saturday, 22 December 2012 14:56 Phanida

The Karen National Union (KNU) concluded its 15th Congress in Pa-an District on Friday by electing its commander-in-chief Gen. Mutu Say Poe as Chairman.

KNU delegation leader, Commander-in-Chief Gen Mutu Say Poe (left), is pictured with Burmese government representative Industry Minister Soe Thein at a “peace dinner” at the Zwekabin Hotel in Pa-an, Karen State, on  January 11, 2012. (Photo: Mizzima)

Sources within the KNU confirmed to Mizzima that former General-Secretary Naw Zipporah Sein was elected as Vice-Chairman, while Pado Kwe Htoo Win, the Myeik-Dawei District Chairman, takes over from her as KNU General-Secretary.

The KNU’s Social Welfare and Relief Department chief, Lt-Col Roger Khin—who was formerly dismissed from the organization along with Mutu Say Poe and the late David Taw—was elected as joint secretary (1).

Appointments were conducted after a secret ballot. Sources said the position of joint secretary (2) had not yet been filled.

It is unknown what positions former Vice-Chairman Pado David Tharc Kapaw and former Joint General-Secretary (1) Pado Saw Hla Ngwe will hold in the future.

“We, the KNU, elected them in a secret vote, and everyone must accept the result of the democratic election. It is a decision made by many different people,” said a KNU official.

On September 27, Mutu Say Poe, David Taw and Roger Khin opened a liaison office in Karen State capital Pa-an in cooperation with the Burmese government. The move was treated as a rogue decision by hardliners in the organization and the three were dismissed from their positions.

Later, the KNU reversed its decision and announced that Mutu Say Poe would continue as commander-in-chief of the KNU until a permanent decision was made at the Congress.

The 15th KNU Congress, which began on November 26 in the town of Lay Wah in Hlaing Bwe Township, concluded after the election, and sources close to the leadership said that an official statement would be forthcoming.

On the first day of the Congress, KNU Chairman Saw Tamla Baw, 93, the father of Zipporah Sein, announced in his opening speech that he was stepping down due to his age and ill-health.

The KNU has fought successive Burmese governments for more than 60 years, demanding autonomy. In January, it finally signed a ceasefire agreement with the central government.
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