Ethnic Parties Deny Accusations of Affiliations With USDP

By Network Media Group
Monday, October 19, 2020

Five ethnic parties accused of taking financial assistance from the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) denied any affiliation with the military-backed party. Rumors have been spreading since August, the month before the official campaign for the 2020 election kicked off.

Kachin State People’s Party Vice-Chair-2 Gumgrawng Awng Hkam, a party accused of aligning itself with USDP, told NMG that the accusations are lies. “We do not have any cooperation with the USDP, nor with the NLD (National League for Democracy).

The Chin National League for Democracy (CNLD) was also accused, which Ngai Sak, the party’s chair, flatly denied. “We haven’t made an alliance with the USDP. We don’t have any plan to make any alliance… we’ve already announced it,” he said. “NLD has attacked not only our Chin party but also other ethnic political parties. They’re spreading news that smaller ethnic parties are making alliances with the USDP and the Burma Army.”

CNLD maintains a strong support base in the Chin Hills, and it’s why the ruling party wants to circulate these rumors, he said. Because cellular and Internet services are poor in rural Chin State, some people believe it, Ngai Sak said. And the false information is spreading quickly, he explained, which is why the party made its statements.

Mann Aung Pyi Soe, chair of Karen National Democratic Party, another party accused of consorting with USDP, said that “false information spreads very easily online.” He encouraged anyone who doubted his party to ask them directly.

Mon Unity Party (MUP) also faced scrutiny after USDP members attended the party’s campaign rally on October 5 in Asin and Zephyu Thaung villages, located in Ye Township.

“Our rival party accused us of making alliances with this or that political party merely because our party is so strong in these townships,” Nai Layae Tama, general secretary-one of MUP, told NMG. “They’ve deliberately attacked us as part of their campaign. But we reject all these accusations against us. We have not made any alliances with other parties, other than ethnic parties.”

Thae Reh, secretary of Kayah State Democratic Party, told NMG that if parties meet with Min Aung Hlaing, commander-in-chief of the Burma Army, they are accused of forging alliances. “The USDP offered us to make an alliance with us, but we didn’t accept their offer,” he said, while explaining the party only affiliates with other ethnic parties.

But the five ethnic parties accused of aligning with the USDP have forged an alliance with each other and expressed a desire to create a coalition government, should they win in the upcoming 2020 general election.