Myanmar Spring Chronicle – January 17 by MoeMaKa Media
Formation of Governance in Recently Liberated Territories: A Perspective on Union
As ethnic armed groups gain control over significant territories in northern Shan State, questions about the form of governance and administration in these newly liberated areas are emerging. The focus is shifting from military operations to the practicalities of establishing an administrative framework that ensures the well-being and livelihoods of the local population.
The Arakan Army (AA), part of the Northern Brotherhood Alliances, is not native to the northern Shan region, raising questions about its involvement in administrative matters in the area. In contrast, the Kokang Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) and the Ta’ang Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) have historically operated in the northern Shan region, making assessments optimistic regarding their administrative capabilities.
While the military offensive primarily aims at capturing military bases, the post-conflict phase necessitates a thoughtful approach to regional governance. For the ethnic armed groups, maintaining control over the captured regions involves more than just military activities. It encompasses intricate responsibilities such as administration, judiciary, tax collection, development initiatives, inter-ethnic relations, and trade coordination.
Historically, the Kokang armed group governed the Kokang region through a ceasefire with the military before 2009. Similarly, the TNLA has established liberated areas without defined cities. The recent handover of captured towns like Hopang and Panlong by the Kokang armed forces to the United Wa State Army highlights the administrative transitions taking place.
The United Wa State Army, over decades, has demonstrated a commitment to confederation-style governance in the Wa State, providing a pragmatic model for administration. However, the administrative approaches of the Kokang armed group and the TNLA remain uncertain.
Major General Tun Myat Naing, the leader of the AA, has expressed aspirations for a confederation. The evolving political landscape and administrative styles of these armed groups will play a crucial role in shaping the regions they control.
Despite the ongoing surrender of military council troops and the gradual retreat from towns, capturing major cities like Nay Pyi Taw and Yangon in the near future appears speculative. While the focus is on the potential capture of various regions, the urgency of addressing governance and administrative structures in attacked cities, districts, and states remains a pertinent issue.
Analysts suggest that Myanmar may adopt a system resembling the mandala model, organizing small city-states. The debate over the role of the National Unity Government in the emerging political landscape is gaining attention. Political activists caution against overlooking the importance of uniting the coalition forces opposing the military council, emphasizing the potential risks of fragmentation.
There are varied perspectives on the federal system based on ethnic groups, with some expressing concern about its potential dangers. Insights from political analysts with backgrounds in Eastern Europe draw parallels with experiences in the aftermath of the Soviet Union’s collapse and the disintegration of Yugoslavia, providing a broader context for evaluating Myanmar’s future.
While the fall of the military dictator is a common goal, the intricacies of building a new governance system and ensuring political stability require a comprehensive approach beyond relying solely on armed force. The delicate balance between achieving democratic ideals, federalism, equality, and human rights remains at the forefront of the armed groups’ organizational objectives. Balancing political methods with military strategies becomes essential for a sustainable and inclusive future for Myanmar.