Commentary on “If Myanmar wants peace, genuine engagement is vital”

Genuine engagement is easily said than done. The reason being the hybrid, civilian-military structure of government.

As all know that the Military or Tatmadaw is vested with the power of administering the home, defense and border affairs ministries, apart from being allotted with appointed 25% seats within the parliament. And as such, the Military is more powerful than the elected National League for Democracy (NLD) regime in decision-making process on all crucial matters of the country.

Take the most important problematic issue of peace negotiation process, practically speaking it is being managed by the Tatmadaw.

It rejects the peace negotiation process by not agreeing, and even blocking, the NLD's desire of all-inclusivity of all Ethnic Armed Organizations (EAOs), stubbornly demanding the exclusion of the Norther Alliance - Burma (NA-B), thereby torpedoing the whole peace process.

The management of Rohingya conflict in Arakan State is also exclusively within the hands of the Military, although it takes pain to portray that it has the endorsement of the President and consent of the NLD government, practically the ground-level operation and radicalized indoctrination of the population, as evident by the video clip on the Facebook, is done by itself. But of course no one could say for sure, if these undertakings on the ground are with or without the endorsement of the NLD regime.

As there is a saying that it takes two to tango, genuine engagement with all stakeholders, either it is the peace process or Arakan conflict, the Military and the NLD must be able to agree on the common policies and the way they are implemented on the ground. In other words, the government has to give its policy directive to the Military and not the other way around.

The editorial rightly pointed out by stating "the civilian government’s lack of control over the activities of the Tatmadaw, whose actions appear to suggest it is intent on bringing an end to the civil war through force rather than negotiation."

And so long as the Military and NLD couldn't act in unison on policy matters, genuine engagement with the concerned stakeholders would never occur, much less finding solutions to the problematic issues.

Link to the story: If Myanmar wants peace, genuine engagement is vital


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