Mawlamyine, May (6)

There was a change in key leadership positions, including the chairman, at the 17th Karen National Union (KNU) Congress, which was postponed owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, political and military situations.

In the election of the KNU Congress, which kicked off in the last week of April, the Central Working Committee, including the positions of KNU chairman, vice chairman, general secretary, joint secretary-1, joint secretary-2, and chief justice, were newly appointed.

Padoh Saw Kwe Htoo Win was elected as the new KNU chairman, with Padoh Saw Hsel Gay as the vice chairman, Padoh Saw Ta Doh Moo as the secretary general, and Padoh Saw Thaw Thi Bwe as the joint secretary (1), Padoh Saw Hla Tun as the joint secretary (2), and Padoh Naw Myaing Phoe as the chief justice.

The change in KNU leadership has raised interest among the public about the future military and political situation.

The chairman of KNU’s Allied Oversight Committee-Thaton District Major Saw Kyaw Myint, said, “It is good to elect Padoh Saw Htoo Win with the will of the majority. Although there has been a change in leadership, we hope that the KNU will continue to stand in accordance with the constitution and believe that this will strengthen the revolution. Our goal is to overthrow the coup military council”.

The representatives from the 5th and 2nd Brigades attended the 17th KNU Congress, but they boycotted the election without voting, according to officials from Brigade 5.

KNU Brigade 5 (Hpapun District) has requested the KNU central committee to take action against all those, including some leaders, who are involved in illegal activities during the KNU Congress, and the central committee also replied to the 5th Brigade that it will take action against five people, including the KNU Defense Minister.

U Than Soe Naing, a military and political analyst, opined that the change in the KNU leadership will allow the KNU to become more active in the Spring Revolution and foster more unity within the organization.

He added, “Pado Saw Kwe Htoo Win is not a person who wants to support the NCA contract compared to Saw Mutu Sae Po. That is also a good point. Since Pado Saw Kwe Htoo Win is especially influential on its Brigades and is a person who stands up for the Spring Revolution, becoming the chairman of such a person will make KNU’s action stronger than before in the Spring Revolution. I hope that there will be more unity within the organization”.

The KUN Congress continued to be held on May 4, and Padoh Saw Hsel Gay, who was elected as the vice chairman, was also appointed as the head of the Defense Department.

Despite the fact that Padoh Saw Tony was re-elected as the head of the KNU’s Foreign Affairs Department, KNU sources claimed that the majority of the departmental heads had been replaced.

An official from PDF Battalion 1 in Tanintharyi Region’s Palaw Township said that the strengthening of the Spring Revolution depends mainly on whether there are changes in the four policies adopted by the KNU.

Regarding the KNU Central Conference, KNU Spokesperson Padoh Saw Toney, who is the head of the Foreign Affairs Department, was contacted by Than Lwin Times but did not receive a response, and the KNU will make an official announcement only after the congress is over, said the source.

While the KNU Congress was being held, fighting continued between the junta army and the KNLA revolutionary forces in some KNU-controlled areas, with regime forces firing heavy weapons at villages and carrying out airstrikes.

More than 8,000 battles broke out between the junta troops and the KNLA/KNDO forces in KNU-controlled areas in the two years since the military coup, which has forced more than 500,000 residents to flee.

News – Than Lwin Times

Photo: Lay Kay Kaw Page

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