Disgruntled NLD Member Lashes Out at Party Leaders

By Thet Swe Aye 7 March 2013

RANGOON— Thant Zin, a member of Burma’s National League of Democracy (NLD) who was disinvited from its upcoming congress, had lashed out at the party’s leaders and accused them of “acting like a military junta” within the NLD.

On Tuesday, the NLD said it withdrew its congress invitation to members Mi Mi Gyi from Kawlin Township, Sagaing Division, and three members from Rangoon Division; Khin Maung Win from Lamadaw Township, Thant Zin from Shwepyithar Township and Khin Maung Shein from Rangoon-North Constituency.

The NLD Congress Commission said in a statement that the four were disinvited as they had “aimed to destroy the party’s unity,” adding that there were sufficient grounds for these accusations. The statement provided no details of the members’ alleged actions.

In a press conference on Thursday, Thant Zin said the accusations were baseless and claimed that some unnamed NLD members were unhappy with him, adding that they had conspired to use party procedures to remove him.

“I don’t know who has made the decision to disinvite some party members,” he said. “Power is centralized in a small group in NLD and this group doesn’t work in a democratic way,” he alleged. “There is no investigation of problems; they behave more like a military junta in their decision-making process.”

Thant Zin said he no longer wishes to remain a party member but added that he still supports NLD chairperson Aung San Suu Kyi, although he claims she has become isolated from the grassroots members of the party. “I have not had any chance to meet with Daw Suu about my problem, and when I ring party members they no longer answer my calls,” he said.

Thant Zin also claimed popular support for the NLD waning, adding, “The general public still has faith in NLD [but] at a superficial level.”

Burma’s main opposition party will start its three-day congress in Rangoon on Friday. It will be the first NLD congress in more than 25 years and more than 1,500 delegates from across Burma are expected to attend.

Win Tin, one of the founding members of NLD, said he disapproved of the way that Thant Zin and the other three had been treated.

“I don’t know what action was taken against them, so I can’t say whether it is correct or incorrect,” he said. “[But] I disagree in principle with such serious actions against them.”

“Such hard actions can hurt the party, and also lead to disunity, leading to the loss of party leaders,” said Win Tin. “If you overreact you won’t get the result you want and it could create chaos within the party.”