Developments: Post-Council Administration Challenges

Myanmar Spring Chronicle – January 24 by MoeMaKa Media:

Developments: Post-Council Administration Challenges

In the aftermath of Operation 1027, which saw the expulsion of the military council from over 20 cities in a span of two months, the spotlight now shifts to the critical question of how these newly liberated regions will be administered. As various armed groups take control, the intricacies of governance, ranging from security and communication to economic policies and taxation, come to the forefront.

Primarily, the administration must grapple with issues of regional security, transportation, economic transactions, and the rights of inhabitants regarding travel, work, and commerce. Balancing these factors is crucial for the well-being and development of the people living in the region. Central to these considerations are the complexities of taxation, trade policies, and the collection of resources to meet the financial needs of the armed forces.

In the absence of direct or indirect foreign aid, armed groups resort to taxation on resources within their territories, trade passing through their regions, or levies on families residing in areas under their control. This financial stream, termed a “tribute” when directly collected by military organizations, becomes essential for both administrative activities and sustaining military operations.

Over the past 90 days since October 27, five armed groups successfully captured more than 20 cities, with 18 now under their governance. The Kokang army handed over two cities to the United Wa State Army, which promptly incorporated them into its administration. The administration styles of these armed groups vary, encompassing a blend of civilian and military governance or purely military rule.

While certain regions were previously under the influence of armed groups, village elders aligned with the military council administered them. However, in cities, there appears to be an absence of shadow administrations. The removal of the military council administration necessitates an urgent replacement with village and city administrations, prioritizing regional security, revenue collection, stability, livelihoods, and diplomatic relations.

Addressing critical issues such as tax collection policies, recruitment of new soldiers, and agreements between armed groups to prevent double taxation becomes imperative. Frictions may arise if these matters are not addressed promptly, highlighting the importance of agreements among armed groups on administrative policies.

A notable incident occurred on January 19 when the Shan State Progress Party and its armed wing, the Shan State Army (SSPP/SSA), sent a letter dated January 15 to administrators in Namhkam city, recruiting new soldiers. Namhkam, currently under the rule of the TNLA, was captured during Operation 1027. In response, the TNLA notified the SSPP/SSA on January 21 not to recruit new soldiers or collect taxes in Namhkam city.

This incident underscores the need for revolutionary armed forces to establish mechanisms to prevent similar conflicts and implement administrative systems prioritizing the common interests of the people, community, and consensus among armed groups, beyond merely emphasizing military prowess. As the dynamics of governance unfold, the challenge lies in harmonizing diverse interests for the greater good of the liberated regions.