Innocent citizens of Burma have been taken in yet again by a farcical nationwide referendum, which was held on May 10 and May 24. Just like the people of Venezuela had brought about the Green Revolution after being oppressed by despots so is the struggle for democratic transformation on in Burma (Myanmar).
The regime's roadmap sketched with the help of its sympathizers since former Prime Minister Gen. Khin Nyut's preplanned enterprise regardless of social-political instability in the country continues. From the very beginning the regime's formation of democratic pattern has been formulated off the frame of democratic principle and value neglecting the right and freedom of peoples every representatives who were supposed to have participated in the National Convention in drafting the National Constitution for political stability of Burma as a whole.
The regime abruptly conducted the Constitutional Referendum for approval of the draft national constitution to legitimize the regime's power. It was an uncivilized referendum without democratic reference under the dictator's boots and the barrel of the gun.
The voters were not to exercise their franchise freely in the referendum and were forced to vote by ticking 'Yes' in the ballots across the country. In fact it is obvious that the regime of aristocrats have been paving only way of heaven for themselves to revitalize feudal bureaucracy once again in Burma. Here it is seen that five lakhs of military personnel are being exploited in power building of the regime's generals instead of fighting the common enemy of this country.
Even the lowest of soldiers is not amply subsidized so that each soldier and his/her family are supported. In this situation the regime has rudely ordered its troops to give right tick as not one's will but as be the will of the regime.
It had been publicly announced by the by Referendum Commission that it is an order of the regime that all troops tick right without failure. This is how voting has come not from freedom of will bur as a regime's order to each military personnel.
In capital Myitkyina, Kachin State the government employees had been threatened to vote "Yes" in referendum. School teachers, government servants, teacher trainees, nursing trainees were forced to do the same. Not all those who put cross marks could have been expelled or dismissed.
For this reason just for the sake of security they were compelled to render tick right in the referendum. Yet almost all medical doctors have boldly crossed the ballots exercising freedom of thought.
The history will pay back those sympathizers: peace talkers, toppers of ceasefire groups, business firms collaborating with the for what they have been doing for the sake of their selfish business rather standing by the side of truth.
In the realm of Christianity in Kachin Land there are two biggest church organizations namely Kachin Baptist Convention (KBC) and Kachin Roman Catholic Churches in Kachin state. Naturally Christianity is embodied to establish the Kingdom of God in a biblical word on earth as Jesus did. Keeping such a mission in the hearts of members it usually happened that most in a dilemma looked forward unto them for a Christian stand and role in the referendum.
Yet it is a historic landmark that oddly there was no further direction and help from KBC in the referendum except Kachin Christianity has likely predominated as the State religion under Nazis instead of standing in the side of God who loves truth and justice. There is obvious that present Christian leaders are stagnant in active leadership in social transformation and not playing as it is anointed.
On the other hand lack and denial of leading to the truth toward all believers itself means leading to evil. Christian leaders are being tempted this time under the snare of regime's plot which is controlling it to be discolored a State Religion by mounting all kinds of pressure. Yet there have been faithful Christians who are persistent and perseverant in the midst of hardship, discrimination and asunder in the pilgrimage of Christian lives speaking off and unveiling the truth even under a dictatorship.
It is believed that any ideology of treating state religion for political profit of handful of opportunists will never lead the country towards civilized society rather the spirit which stands for the truth of defenseless citizens.
Another issue that the Kachins regret is the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) and its armed wing Kachin Independence Army (KIA) KIO/A’s full support in the referendum hosting it and ticking right on ballots at Laiza, KIO/A Headquarters on May 10, 2008 by the order of Central Standing Committee (CSC) respectively. It is concluded that KIO/A has resolved its problem of insecurity and danger by their own means instead of leading, protecting and standing consistently by the people of Kachin Land and the citizens of the country.
It is obvious that KIO/A is declaring another witness worldwide that it denies democratic principled politics of the Kachins and Kachin State citizens except playing social security politics only for its top most leaders including peace makers, a handful of bilateral business groups reflected in its deed and decision. Yet fortunately it is ascertained that KIO/A is leaving political leadership completely in one hand and the Kachin public is being rung to take up its surviving politics at the same time from this odd and regrettable experience.
As was known this referendum was declared supported because of advance voting. If the ballots of the voters on the day were scrutinized under transparent commissions, surely cross click ballots would surpass the "Yes" votes. So, the military junta or the so called Sate Peace and Development Council (SPDC) officers of every level are enforced to rearrange all ballots voted within 12 hour right after voting is over everywhere.
In the battle of free and fair vote in the referendum in Kachin State, Kachin State National Congress for Democracy (KNCD) party, barred by the regime, won three seats in the 1990 election, has really stood for the Kachins and Kachin State citizens in the last referendum.
As the KNCD has been once again revitalizing its service by giving fundamental and essential awareness and principles for democracy led by Duwa Bawm Lang as a public leader, decades long public leaderless pro-democratic Kachins and Kachin State citizens have met their thirst convincing their stands and their freedom of voting right in the midst of hardship. The KNCD has been playing its role as an action group, standing before the Kachins and Kachin State citizens for smooth and democratic transition in Burma.
As per excellence right ticked ballots has been defeated in many areas though it has been attacked for instance in Waingmaw district, Njang Dung village in Myitkyina. This is how all pro-democratic civilians have voted "No" not just because of one's freedom of right yet but for fighting for the truth. In this context of threats and pressures, pro-democratic Kachins and Kachin State citizen have voted "No".
By this referendum we, Kachins are being declared to enter the war of democracy where the judge will be always the one which is the truth. As our a half century long armed history has taught us today how the public are the only ones responsible as political wing as well as the armed group is playing its armed politics, we couldn't dream so long these two groups work detachedly. Not only there would be no help from both in and out of power until and unless pro-democratic citizens initiate labouring for the goal set but the truth would lead us to the goal laboured for.
Like in military referendum, I should say the regime won, yet in a public referendum the citizens won as rationalized above. Therefore this referendum is one referendum without democratic principles where a pseudo-democratic regime announces a landslide victory for its longevity and security.
Yet, the spirit and responsibility of one's ballot which can represent oneself or one's state, voting with democratic norm (Not just voting for democracy since no one can issue you democracy unless you live for it) and the spirit of voting for right one than fight against injustice, undemocratic, centralized bureaucracy will ultimately lead us to victory by democratic means.
Hereby the regime conducted referendum was allegedly supported by more than 92.4 per cent voters yet the regime is shamefully defeated in the recent referendum on the basis of democratic reference.
(The author is a Kachin writer and also studies Kachin-Burma politics.)