Election 2020

USDP Members and Supporters Prosecuted over ‘Offensive’ Campaign Songs

By Lei Lei 4 November 2020

Yangon — The authorities in Mingin Township, Sagaing Region, have opened a case against 21 members and supporters of the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP).

Township deputy administrator U Zin Htet Aung filed a police complaint on Oct. 12 over songs and speeches that were allegedly defamatory to the government and State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

“[USDP supporters] played the songs on memory sticks given out by the USDP. They played songs on loudspeakers in several villages. People were offended and complained and the general administration department filed a lawsuit with the police,” Mingin Township lawmaker U Kyaw Hsan in the regional parliament told The Irrawaddy.

USDP chairman in Mingin Dr. San Win denied giving memory sticks containing audio files to party supporters.

According to residents, the USDP songs and speeches contained misinformation and defamatory comments about the government and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

The National League for Democracy’s (NLD) legal chief in Mingin, U Kyaw Min Htut, said: “They played audio files that consisted of misinformation deemed to incite disaffection. They had harsh, inappropriate language can could make listeners feel the government is in a tight corner.”

Residents filed complaints in the township with recordings of the USDP content since campaigning began on Sept. 8.

Resident Ko Htet Aung said some complaints were motivated by personal grudges and did not constitute attempts to ridicule the government.

There are 12 cases filed against 21 people and 18 of them are being detained at Mingin police station, said Police Captain Zaw Win Kyaw in the township.

The township court started to hear the case through videoconferencing on Oct. 26 and the next hearing will take place on Nov. 9.

In 2015, the NLD won in many constituencies across Sagaing but lost to the USDP in Mingin. The USDP won the Lower House and regional parliamentary seats in Mingin.

U Maung Myint is the current USDP Lower House lawmaker for Mingin. He retired from Myanmar’s military ahead of the 2010 election to run for office. He won a seat in the Lower House representing Thongwa and served as a minister in the previous government.

Four parties, the NLD, USDP, National Unity Party and Union Betterment Party led by ex-general U Shwe Mann, will contest in Mingin, which has over 80,000 voters.

U Maung Myint’s NLD rival is deputy construction minister Dr. Kyaw Lin.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko

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