Two Myanmar Junta Loyalists Defend Military Dictator

By The Irrawaddy 19 April 2022

U Thein Nyunt and U Khin Maung Swe, who are on the military regime’s governing body, the State Administration Council (SAC), have reaffirmed their allegiance to junta leader Min Aung Hlaing with their new year’s greetings.

In his message on Sunday, U Thein Nyunt called the parallel National Unity Government (NUG), its legislative body, the Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH), and its armed wing, the people’s defense forces (PDFs), traitors, terrorists and puppets of the US and other western countries. Western financial and military support must be cut off, he wrote.

“[Western countries] must definitely fail and Myanmar will definitely win. Because nationalist forces today stand firmly under the leadership of Senior General Min Aung Hlaing,” said his message marking Myanmar’s new year.

U Thein Nyunt earlier wished death and destruction upon the NUG, CRPH and PDFs in his Jan. 1 message.

Among the SAC’s 20 members, only Min Aung Hlaing, U Thein Nyunt and U Khin Maung Swe wrote new year’s messages in junta-controlled newspapers. As usual, Min Aung Hlaing blamed the National League for Democracy (NLD) for breaching democracy. U Thein Nyunt as usual echoed Min Aung Hlaing as he tried to curry favor with the junta leader.

U Khin Maung Swe called for collaborative efforts to uproot dangers posed to the country.

Public opinion is firmly against the junta leader and his accomplices who are seen as the dangers to the country, and not the PDF or western countries.

U Thein Nyunt has been critical of the NLD, his former party, since 2015 and increasingly so since he was appointed to the SAC following last year’s coup.

The 77-year-old was previously a member of the NLD’s Central Executive Committee. When the NLD boycotted the 2010 general election, he left the party and co-founded the National Democratic Force (NDF) together with U Khin Maung Swe, who is also on the SAC.

U Thein Nyunt later founded the New National Democracy Party and allied himself with the military proxy Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) after being crushed by the NLD in the 2015 general election and he repeatedly criticized the NLD government. In the run-up to the 2020 general election, he encouraged a military coup.

In his foreword to the book, The Second Democratic Government and Myanmar, U Thein Nyunt argued in favour of a coup. The book, which was critical of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the NLD, was written by U Soe Thane, the President’s Office minister in U Thein Sein’s quasi-civilian government.

NDF chairman U Khin Maung Swe regularly writes pro-junta pieces in the regime’s newspapers. He often warns about growing foreign interference and attempts to break up the nation by driving a wedge between the people and military, which the 79-year-old calls the protector of Myanmar.

He told the BBC in April last year – by which time the military regime had gunned down more than 700 peaceful protesters – that it had not been Min Aung Hlaing’s intention to go that far and he might have been sorry about their deaths. He claimed that Ming Aung Hlaing would not be happy about civilian deaths.

Both U Thein Nyunt and U Khin Maung Swe were both defeated in the 2020 election. They have both faced European Union sanctions for their cooperation with the regime.