Friday, July 31, 2015

Royal Armed Forces belongs to CPP? Constitutionally no, Politically yes

[Image Phnom Penh Post Khmer]
By Khmer Wathanakam

Since Hun Sen has summoned his top military and police officers to pay their loyalty to him in order to protect the constitution, his legitimate government, and to crackdown on all kinds of suspected color revolution, Hun Sen's speech has been echoed by many government spokesmen including defense minister Tea Banh, but a more brazen claim from a four-stars General, Chea Dara, declared that the Royal Armed Forces belong to CPP because Hun Sen supports, raises, and leads the armed forces is deviating too far. What Chea Dara has said is tantamount to a constitutional coup, for Cambodian constitution states that the Royal Armed Forces belong to the nation, not any leader or a party.  Thus those military officers who dared to profess their loyalty to any leader or political party while they get salaries from tax payers (the People), they should relinquish their position and title and go to work for those leaders and parties. There is no space for politics in the army and police in any democratic country.  They must be neutral and independent from all political parties.  They pledge allegiance to no one but the constitution and the nation. Without such a principle in their minds, those military and police officers would be the private police and army officers who being used as tools to protect the interests of a specific leader and political party, not the nation and constitution.  Consequently, the military and police institutions will lose their integrity and trust from the people. To preserve the integrity and neutrality of these key national institutions, all police and military officers from the top to the low ranks should publicly declare themselves as neutral and independent from all political parties and leaders; they should not brazenly declared themselves loyal to any party even the ruling party but only to the nation and the constitution since the political parties and leaders can be changed or lost power in every election, but the nation and constitution will last forever no matter which party win or lose the election.  What Gen. Chea Dara said suggests that he doesn't understand a difference between the national institution and political party.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Hun Sen plays hard ball while CNRP faces conundrum

By Khmer Wathanakam

After a brief detente since July 22, 2013 when CPP and CNRP agreed to end a post election political crisis, political environment has been boiled again as CNRP's MPs have challenged with the government's opaque border demarcation with Vietnam by organizing two trips to visit border posts suspected deeply installed inside Cambodian territories.  A brawling between Vietnamese and Cambodian border activists in the first trip and a larger crowd participating in the second trip which had welcomed by ebullient local people along the way have made Hun Sen furious and fear that the CNRP is still capable to rally its supporters for a short period of time to visit the border dispute with Vietnam, the most sensitive issue that can attract million of people if the CNRP plans a large campaign in this issue.  In addition, a short confrontation between Mr. Um Sam An, a CNRP's MP border activist, and Heng Samrin that led to his disciplinary punishment from Heng Samrin, and the other formidable news that the ICC case against Hun Sen has emerged again when a lawyer for the victims of land grab, has submitted  more numbers of victims to the ICC case against Hun Sen.  All such a coincidence is apparently to make Hun Sen sleeplessness again.  To respond to that awed strike, Hun Sen has swiftly thrown the court pending 11 CNRP's activists into a long jail term, then he summoned all top military and police officers to pay loyalty to him though he used the term of protecting the constitution and his legitimate government. During his speech to those officers, he slammed the opposition lawmakers who had led a big crowd to visit the border, and he threatened to handcuff those lawmakers if violence happened again disregarding of their immunity.  Also, he instructed all levels of military and police officers to strictly prevent all kinds of color revolution, using all means to subdue and extirpate them immediately since he saw thousands of jubilant youths crowding on the border, reminding him the post-election protests which had swept Phnom Penh in late December 2013. The threats of words and actions by Hun Sen has embroiled a political environment into a post election crisis again and made the opposition facing conundrum or a confused and difficult situation.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Is detente over between the two major parties?

[CNRP's activists being escorted to prison, Image credit the Cambodia Daily]
By Khmer Wathanakam

After a calm political atmosphere for awhile since the two major parties--CPP and CNRP-- signed an agreement to end political crisis on July 22, 2013 due to election fraud protests, political heat up seems return to post-election crisis again.  At this time not about election crisis but border demarcation issue, a controversial law to restrict NGO's, and CNRP's MP Um Sam An who plans to sue Heng Ramrin who refused to sign and send the CNRP's MPs' letter to the council of minister for postponement of border demarcation.  Meanwhile Hun Sen has threatened to end "culture of dialogue" with Sam Rainsy if Mr. Um Sam An dares to sue Heng Samrin in the constitutional court for failure to perform his constitutional duty as the president of the National Assembly. Thus, the border crisis, the controversial NGO law, and a question of Mr. Heng Samrin who failed to perform his constitutional duty have pushed the CPP against the wall again.  Nothing new if we have fallowed up political situation from the past when the opposition demands reform, accountability, and transparency from the government, it never gets a favorable response from the ruling party but threatening and jail term.  Now a swift response from the ruling party CPP is to order its controlled court to hand down jail term from 7 to 20 years for 11 CNRP's activists, accusing them of "insurrection," a violent act to overthrow the government, a ridiculous baseless charge.  In fact, those activists just defensed themselves from the brutal security forces who are famous in beating up protesters numerous times in the past.  The severe conviction on the 11 CNRP's activists is totally political motivate and a scapegoat in order to wedge the CNRP to back down from their campaign to bring transparency of border delineation and to retaliate the CNRP on its boycott the vote on NGO's law.

Monday, July 20, 2015

CPP's thugs emerge again to intimidate border activists

[CPP's thugs armed with sticks blocked border activists to reach their goal, Facebook image]

By Khmer Wathanakam

[Image Thy Sovantha Facebook]
The border dispute saga with Vietnam turns into humiliation for all Khmer when Hun Sen turns to his old tactics of using his militias or armed thugs to disrupt and intimidate border activists from visiting border post peacefully, only 100 activists were allowed to reach border post 203 while the rest watched from a distance.  This old CPP's dirty tactics had been used in the past when the opposition boycotted the parliament in protesting election fraud, by intimidating and disrupting all opposition's activities throughout the country.  We believe that this kind of violent tactics no longer being used by the CPP since the opposition agreed to join the parliament and to create a culture of dialogue with the CPP in order to avert all such violent confrontation.  Now the CPP may run out of patient or lose control when the opposition and the people demand transparency on border demarcation with Vietnam thus they return to violent tactic again.  So far, though Hun Sen accepts some errors in demarcation, and pledges to borrow original map from UN and other powerful countries-- the US, France, and Great Britain-- there is no sign the government has taken a concrete step to tackle with such a sensitive and critical issue yet.  After three day-meeting between the two border committee from the two countries, they have announced a contradicted result: Cambodia claimed Hanoi had made a big concession, agreeing to cease all activities on the white zones and to fill up at least three of eight excavated ponds while Vietnam repeatedly claimed that it has built roads, military outpost, and ponds only in its controlled territories. In fact, Vietnam made no any concession or correction on border dispute, instead it insisted that it had adhered and respected a previous memorandum in 1995.  Now over 80 per cent of delineation has been completed, and Hun Sen claimed that he could relocate border posts if found incorrectly based on the constitutional mandated map of 1964.  So far, the government has not received the original map yet, Vietnam did not budge to Cambodia's demand, and thousands of Cambodian borders activists were disrupted and not allowed to view border post, only 100 activists were allowed.  So the border issue with Vietnam more likely turned bleak; no sign of conceded and compromised tone from Hanoi.  How can Hun Sen's government resolve border dispute with Vietnam more effectively when Hun Sen still uses violent tactics to intimidate his own fellow Khmer border activists?  This is not a political but a national security issue that the government must heed and protect all those border activists as if Vietnam has done for its own border activists.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

A culture of dialogue, a good or bad strategy for CNRP?

[Image Sam Rainsy Facebook]
 By Khmer Wathanakam
It's a rare family dinner occasion taking place between the two political rivals over the past two decades though quiet but it surprises  many people and political observers to see such an unusual occasion.  The culture of dialogue can bring the two bitter opponents close together to show national unity at a time when the nation is facing threat and border encroachment by its more powerful neighbor by setting aside their personal and political differences.  As Sam Rainsy said, " this private meeting between the two families is the first and historical event that never has happened between the opposition party and the ruling party leaders in the past. And it helps strengthening a culture of dialogue that inhibits violence confrontation and protect safety of party activists and supporters while Hun Sen call a culture of dialogue, a mean to maintain political stability and prosperity for the country." What does CNRP gain from this new political culture?

An ending parliament boycott along with a culture of dialogue with CPP has alienated some CNRP's radical supporters who wanted no political compromise with CPP, and some of them turned to support some newly created parties.  Some even believe that CNRP is no different from Forncipec in the past.  To clarify these suspicions, we should look to the CNRP's principle and actions hitherto. Since CNRP has joint the parliament to work with the CPP more than a year ago, it has achieved its enormous works for the nation as well as for the party.  Wherever problems happen, there are CNRP MPs there to solve and protect the rights of the people and the national interest, such as land grab, labor disputes, human rights abuses, and border issues and so forth.  Although those issues are not effectively resolved but the CNRP's MPs have fulfilled their duty as a true representatives of all people throughout the country. They summoned many government officials to answers and explained all questions related to corruption, human rights abuse, environment destruction, labor disputes, and even border issue.  And some of those MPs received physical and emotional abuses while they were performing their duties to help and protect people and national interest.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Cambodia-Vietnam Border Row Turns into Complicated Issue in the Future

Vietnamese border guards stand to protect their people, image Facebook
By Khmer Wathanakam

Recent violent confrontation on border where Vietnamese villagers beat up Cambodian border activists  and CNRP MPs who peacefully visited border demarcations have raised a serious question about how Vietnamese and Cambodian governments have handled and solved a border issue between the two countries though publicly the two governments always have shown their commitment to solve this issue peacefully and fairly, but unofficially Cambodian people who have seen their government had done nothing to protect Cambodian territorial integrity and sovereignty, allowing Vietnam to encroach Cambodian land without consequences by ignoring the Paris Peace Accord that fully guaranteed Cambodian sovereignty and territorial integrity, sometimes took this matter on their own hands.  Furthermore, Vietnam quietly had forced Cambodian government to sign an extra border treaty in 2005 which  helped to legalize all previous treaties signed during the Vietnamese occupation from 1979-89.  The Violation of Paris Peace Accord and an extra border treaty in 2005 have created more border spats between the two countries, for the extra border treaty with Hanoi in 2005 had cost Cambodia a big chunk of land and created numerous unmarked areas known as white zones.  And those white zones are systematically encroached by Vietnam; evidently Cambodia has found at least 8 man-made ponds excavated by Vietnam into those white zones.  Cambodian people who live along the border frequently complained about border encroachment by Vietnam, but  all those complaints usually ignored by the Cambodian government.  Until recently, The Cambodian foreign ministry publicly announced that it had filed diplomatic complaints with Hanoi at least 11 times about border encroachment, including three more in the past month, but no serious response from Hanoi beside telling Cambodia to wait for further investigation and report from its local authorities.  However, Vietnam encroachment activities have still continued such as they continue to build military outposts inside the white zones and refuse to fill up all illegal man-made ponds demanding by Cambodia.
Should Cambodian government allow Vietnam to encroach more land or should it find more effective and legal means against Hanoi's aggression?