What Kind of Administration Will Emerge in Liberated Areas?

Myanmar Spring Chronicle – April 26 Scenes
MoeMaKa, April 27, 2024

What Kind of Administration Will Emerge in Liberated Areas?

Over the past six months, the military council’s control has significantly diminished, leading to the emergence of ethnic armed groups and township people’s administrative bodies (PaAaFa) based PDF groups. In some ethnic regions, interim state governments have been formed and are managing the administration. Examples include the Interim Executive Council of Karenni State and the Interim Chinland Council. In other ethnic groups such as Ta’ang Palaung, Kokang, Kachin, and Rakhine, administration is managed by leaders appointed by the armed forces and commanders in some areas. These ethnic armed groups often have a dual structure: an organization or party functioning as a political entity and an armed group. In leftist terms, there are also groups appointed by political/administrative leaders known as political commanders.

A key point of interest is whether the armed forces and civil administration are separately formed. In some ethnic areas, there is already a separate civil administrative body. Areas liberated for many years are governed by officials assigned by political leadership, including departments of Revenue, Education, Health, and sometimes Forest and Resource Management. However, in areas liberated after recent operations, administrative models vary. For instance, the administration in Karenni, Kokang, Ta’ang Palaung regions, and the semi-liberated areas of Sagaing Region differ.

Observing how they handle urgent needs like tax collection, resource extraction, and sales, based on their policies and principles, is intriguing. While it is generally believed that a federal union will be established after liberating regions from military dictatorship, some ethnic armed organizations envision a confederation of states and regions rather than a federal union. “Wa” is an example of groups with such a goal.

This vision is reflected in the establishment of Wa-style governance in the recently liberated Kokang region. A public justice ceremony prosecuting criminals from their armed forces illustrates the administrative and judicial system to be introduced in Kokang. This region, using Chinese currency and speaking the Chinese language, mimics China’s judicial system. The public execution as capital punishment resembles emergency executions during wartime or governance failure. While such practices have persisted in China for decades, they are incompatible with democratic values and systems. The European Union has strongly opposed the death penalty as the ultimate denial of human dignity.

This incident raises questions about the administration and judiciary to be introduced in Myanmar’s liberated areas. Some may argue that such issues are not crucial during war and revolution. While this assumption holds in wartime and governance failure, in peaceful periods or regions, establishing a political system allowing civil governance, human rights, democracy-based governance, and diverse political parties and organizations is vital. Furthermore, armed forces that fought against the military dictatorship may believe they have the right to influence administration, legislation, and judiciary. It is essential for these armed groups to prepare and guard against militarism and the notion that only they should lead.

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