Interview with Chief of Kayah State Democratic Party, U Phoe Reh, who said “We will build with the public power and govern our state”
Soe Htike Aung
In the upcoming 2020 General Election on November 8, the Kayah State Democratic Party (KySDP) will contest for 30 constituencies out of 34 constituencies in Kayah State. This is an excerpt from the interview with Chief, U Poe Reh, about the subject and situation of the party.
Q – What have KySDP prepared for the upcoming election?
Ans – We have prepared for the 2020 election. We have prepared together with all the ethnic groups especially from Kayah State and the Kayan region. Therefore, we have already decided and negotiated that the KySDP and the Kayan National Party (KNP) will be combined and contest this year election.
Q – What are the challenges of campaigning as it is supposed to implement during the COVID period? What methods will you use to campaign?
Ans – The current government has already issued an order as it is the COVID period. We have to comply with it. So we have planned to conduct the campaign with few people in limited distance in order not to contradict the order issued by the government and also to prevent from the COVID infection. For example, in the past we could do it in one place with a crowd, but now we will not do like this. Thus, we have reopened our sub-offices in every township. We plan to have at least three branch offices in each township.
Q – Since your party is an ethnic party, what do you want to say to the ethnic nationalities in the state to vote your party?
Ans – As for our ethnic people, if we look back the past, our party have been active since 2009-2010. But at that time, the fear is frozen in everyone as they had lived such oppressive lives for decades. In case you go talk someone about the politics, that person know only that you will be imprisoned if you do politics. So, in order to overcome these fears, we started encouraging the people with the motto, “All people, awake and get strong.” So the people are very knowledgeable now. So, the main message we want to give people is, for example, that we will govern our state with our and all their votes, and then we will build with the public power and govern our state, which we have prepared with such slogans.
But we will carefully review and finalize the message which we are going to give to the people.
Q – Why should ethnic nationalities vote for the ethnic party?
Ans – Since we are ethnic people and why we should vote for our ethnic party is because it is to have the authority in our state. Our people are living poorly in this state. We are facing many difficulties. We are organizing this party in order to be able to work harder for our people and to have more opportunities for them.
Q – How many seats will your party contest in the 34 constituencies in the state?
Ans – The KNP will contest four constituencies in Kayah State. That is why our party will contest the remaining 30 seats.
Q – As for your party, which township will be the most difficult for your party candidates to do the campaign?
Ans – At the moment, we have listed in our consideration that we will have some difficulties for Bawlakhae Township and Loikaw Township. How it is difficult is, for example, there is a large number of military populations in Bawlekhae. We have found that the military population is larger than the resident population. That is one of the problems for us. In Loikaw Township, we have various ethnic groups. There are various ethnic groups. We also found that the non-indigenous people are less interested in our party. That is because they might not know and understand our state and background, so they would prioritize the bigger parties. So we have to approach and campaign to this people, especially them. There is no problem for us with the rest of the indigenous people. We have the campaign plan like this.
Q – How many seats do you expect to win in Kayah State? How far do you think you can go?
Ans – As a party, we will try our best to win all the seats in the state parliament. For the other two parliaments, we know that we cannot form a government at this central level. However, as for the representatives who will win at the central level, we also have the discussion and the alliance with the state and division. In regard to this section, we have also discussed with the nationwide multi-ethnic force.
Q – What will you do for the state if you get what you expected?
Ans – Our party already has our own goals. The state is poor. It is the state with difficulties, especially the transportation problem. There is also poor performance in education and health sectors. We will work for the improvement of education and health sectors. Then we also have plan to manage and utilize our state’s natural resources. We will maintain our natural resources and prevent from waste of natural resources for our future. Especially in the forestry sector, as we all know, the forest is almost depleted in Kayah State. Therefore, the party has the plan to re-conserve them.
Q – What development will your party do for this state if your party wins and enable to forms a government?
Ans – If our party can form a government, the number one plan is to struggle for peace. Another plan is, as I said recently, that we can do the development projects widely in this state as soon as we get peace.