Once more, the generals hit in Myanmar, sending the National League for Democracy packing Aung San Suu Kyi’s elected government. Reports emanating from the nation also said that both Ms Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s de facto chief, and the president are in custody, while the armed forces have proclaimed a state of emergency for a year.
Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, emerged in 2011 from decades of military rule and was governed under a hybrid regime where public affairs were controlled by the generals and minimal political participation was tolerated. For starters, around a quarter of parliamentary seats were reserved for uniformed legislators nominated by the top brass of the military, granting them effective ‘power’ over civilian MPs. Despite manipulating the levers of state, however, it appeared that the generals were dissatisfied with rising civilian influence, as the NLD performed well in the November elections. The top general of the country said that in the polls there were “huge irregularities,” while the Myanmar election commission said that there was no.
Unfortunately, for many emerging nations, including Pakistan, where democratic experiments are too frequently disrupted by authoritarian interference, slowing the political development of states, the situation Myanmar faces is a common one. Ms Suu Kyi was not the best king. For instance, although she had been fighting for years to build democracy and fight for human rights in her homeland, she neglected the plight of the Muslim Rohingya, who were systemically butchered in the state of Rakhine, upon acquiring power. There is, however, no reason for the military takeover and the people must be handed power back.
Myanmar is suffering from racial and religious struggles, and the best way to end these multiple disputes is through the political process to ensure equal rights are granted to people of all religious views and ethnic backgrounds. Under the watch of the generals, things may deteriorate further, as the military is regarded as promoting a xenophobic radical Buddhist nationalist narrative. Both right-thinking countries around the world have denounced it, and the matter is set to be taken up at the UN.
It must be made clear by the international community that the overthrow is illegal and will have repercussions until power is transferred over to the legitimate government. The democracy of Myanmar was anything but ideal. But it is better to encourage an incomplete government to expand and adapt to allow unelected explorers to play with the future of a country.