THE PEOPLE OF 2004
covering burma and southeast asia
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THE PEOPLE OF 2004


By The Irrawaddy DECEMBER, 2004 - VOLUME 12 NO.11


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(Page 22 of 25)

Than Shwe, who has ruled Burma since 1992, is apparently in an impregnable position, surrounded by loyalists who are widely regarded as hard-liners.

 

The Office of the Chief of Military Intelligence, or OCMI, is firmly under his control following the appointment of Maj-Gen Myint Swe, Rangoon Division commander, to head it. Myint Swe is said to be a nephew of Than Shwe’s wife, Kyaing Kyaing.

 

Than Shwe’s new team announced that it would continue with the seven-point “road map” that former PM Khin Nyunt proposed in 2003.

 

In reality, it was not Khin Nyunt’s own road map, A day after Than Shwe took over as head of state on April 23, 1992, the then State Law and Order Restoration Council, or SLORC, announced that it would convene a National Convention with opposition parties.

 

The first stage of the “road map” is the convening of the National Convention and the drafting of a new constitution.

 

Than Shwe and his team appear determined to proceed with or without the main opposition party, the National League for Democracy, or NLD. He has anyway ruled out the early release of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, telling visiting Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra in December that his government was not prepared to free her because when she had been released from house arrest on three previous occasions “difficulties” had resulted.

 

They say that behind every successful man stands a woman, and perhaps Than Shwe is no exception. He apparently dotes on his wife Kyaing Kyaing, an ethnic Pa-O, who is said to exercise great influence over Burmese politics.

 

Deputy Sr-Gen Maung Aye

 

Deputy Sr-Gen Maung Aye, army chief and vice chairman of the junta, is the man who ordered Prime Minister Khin Nyunt’s arrest and dismissal from office on October 18.

 

Deputy Sr-Gen Maung AyeKhin Nyunt was detained in Mandalay, where he was on an official visit, then flown to Rangoon where he was met and escorted to the Office of the Chief of Military Intelligence, or OCMI, headquarters. He was told he was no longer prime minister.



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