Myanmar military may extend emergency rule by up to two years
Since launching their February 1 military coup, Myanmar’s generals have largely stayed out of the limelight, secluded in the country’s ghost town capital of Naypyidaw.
In both a figurative and literal echo chamber that are the cavernous halls of the now-emptied parliament, aided by a surplus of yes-men, the generals have shut out the rest of the country as they justify deadly crackdowns suppressing anti-coup protests.
Until now, reporters from outside Myanmar have also been strictly kept out. But in an unexpected move apparently intended to showcase the military’s control of an increasingly desperate situation, a Southeast Asia Globe journalist, reporting on behalf of Al Jazeera, was invited along with CNN on a weeklong tour of Yangon and Naypyidaw that ended on April 6.
The tour, organised by controversial military PR man Ari Ben-Menashe, provided insight into the outlook and workings of a military government disconnected from the majority of people across the country. During an hour-long conversation with the Globe on April 4, Brigadier General Zaw Min Tun never wavered from the military’s message of righteousness – in overthrowing the country’s civilian government and in using violence to consolidate power in the two months since.
He refused to give an exact estimate of when the military, also known as the Tatmadaw, would allow Myanmar to return to some form of civilian rule. He walked back the initial timeline of one year, suggesting the military could extend its ongoing state of emergency order for as long as two years.
“Within one year we are trying to stabilise the country, but if we can’t we will have to extend it six more months. And after that, another six months but that is it,” Zaw Min Tun said, referencing the maximum extension permitted by the military-drafted 2008 constitution.
“So two years maximum and after that, we will invite international actors to monitor a free and fair election.”…..read more
Source: Al Jazeera