Kachin Republic Party to be formed to seek an independent Kachinland

15 January 2016
Kachin Republic Party to be formed to seek an independent Kachinland
Kachin men saluting and holding the Kachin State flag as they follow a convoy of ethnic leaders in Myitkyina, Kachin State, Myanmar, 02 November 2013. Photo: Nyein Chan Naing/EPA

The Kachin Republic Party (KRP) Acting General Secretary Lashi Yawna said that they were preparing to form their KRP in an independent Kachin Republic.
He told Mizzima on 13 January that they have been preparing to form the KRP after the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) decided to attend the National Convention in 2001-2002 to draft the 2008 constitution and also when the Myanmar government was putting pressure on KIO to transform their party into a Border Guard Force (BGF).
“We have been discussing forming the KRP party and its armed force when the KIO attended Nyaunghnapin national convention and when KIO was thinking of transforming their armed forces into a BGF. But then the KIO rejected the BGF idea when war broke out again in 2011 and then we suspended our preparations. And then the KIO talked about establishing a genuine federal union which was contrary to their earlier objective of establishing an independent Kachinland. We have lost our goal. So we announced we will form the KRP with the objective of establishing an independent republic seceded from the current union,” Lashi Yawna said.
In their official statement issued in Kachin language on 12 January, the KRP will be formed with religious leaders from Kachin Baptist Churches, some leaders from the KIO and leaders from Kachin People’s Militias (MHH) and will be under the command of the Kachin Independence Army (KIA).
LashiYawna added that the KRP would be formed in 2016-17 and it would have an armed wing called the Kachin Republic Army (KRA) and would have positions of Chairman and Vice-Chairman in their organizational structure but these names would not be disclosed at the moment for security reasons.
“KIO had talks with the government for the right to self-determination. We have never had talks with the government. This is the difference between us. But the people should not misunderstand us. We don’t have any policy in our party which will divide our people and cause distrust among them. We will not be split from the KIO. We are just assisting them in what they can’t do. We will retake our positions and outposts from where KIO troops were withdrawn by forming our own army the KRA is to fight against the government in the name of an independent Kachinland seceded from the Union,” he added.
KRP offices are to be opened in China and Thailand.
But on 9 January, KIO released a statement in Kachin language which said they are fighting a revolutionary war with the objective of freedom from oppression under the sole command of one government, one leader, and one army in a unified position.
A KIO central committee member who does not wish to be named told Mizzima, “I think this should not be done. Our KIO has released an announcement. Some of this party [KRP] are irresponsible and act insensibly. The people who think seriously and sensibly will not do such things,”
Kachin News Group (KNG) editor Naw Din said that these people might form the KRP in view of the possible scenario that the KIO might sign the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) when the new government headed by Aung San Suu Kyi takes over.
“They took about five years to form this party (KRP). KIO has consistently held talks with the government for the signing of the NCA until today, they have not ruled out signing this agreement. KIO will sign this agreement if they can have a political dialogue with the government. So this KRP will be formed in the interests of Kachin people and then it will be a challenge to KIO and their role of sole government representing the entire Kachin people and Kachinland will be questionable,” Naw Din told Mizzima.
Lashi Yawna once served in All Kachin Students and Youth Union (AKSYU) in Thailand and he was once In-charge of the Students and Youth Congress of Burma (SYCB). He established a Kachin Environment group in 2004 and took part in protest campaigns against the building of the Myitsone dam.