Witnesses under fire as tribunal for NLD’s U Win Htein continues
ON the second day of a tribunal examining the role of National League for Democracy official U Win Htein in ousting members of the party’s Shan State leadership, one of the dismissed said testimony during cross-examination showed inconsistencies. Another criticised U Win Htein’s witnesses as lacking the party allegiance bona fides of those who were given their marching orders last month.
U Win Htein travelled to Taunggyi on September 4 to personally dismiss five members, who were accused of not cooperating with the party’s campaign efforts and in some cases even openly encouraging voters not to support the NLD during last year’s general election.
The accused members opted to appeal their dismissals and, as a result, a three-member tribunal was convened on October 24 in Nay Pyi Taw and continued yesterday.
Five witnesses backing U Win Htein’s version of events were scheduled to speak yesterday, but he said they would now speak on October 28. He told the media that he believed the tribunal would be fair.
“The NLD always operates systematically,” U Win Htein said.
The tribunal consists of Mandalay NLD chair U Tin Htut Oo, lawyer U Kyaw Hoe and CEC member Daw Lae Lae. The next hearing is scheduled for 1pm on October 28.
“Our decision is not being made under pressure,” U Kyaw Hoe said. “The CEC will decide on punishment or amnesty. If our decision is not satisfactory, they can appeal to the NLD’s nationwide conference. The greatest punishment is that they are expelled from the party. The smallest punishment is that they are warned or fined.”
Former NLD Taunggyi district chair U Tin Maung Toe, one of the dismissed members, framed his argument yesterday in terms of tenure. He noted that those accused by U Win Htein of lacking fealty have been members of the party since 1988, the year of the NLD’s founding, while the witnesses being asked to prove their disloyalty joined less than a year ago. “He [U Win Htein] cannot make specific accusations,” said Shan State NLD chair Daw Khin Moe Moe, who was also dismissed. “When we asked him questions, he could not answer in specifics. He made his decision based on hearsay. He cannot show an official complaint. I asked him if [State Counsellor] Daw Aung San Suu Kyi asked him to expel the NLD members ... He said that he would not say yes or no.”
During cross examination, U Win Htein did not respond with anger, she said, a departure from the previous hearing. But his answers did not add up, she said, with the dates in his statement being incorrect.
If the dispute were litigated in a court of law, it would be clear that there were inconsistencies in his statement, she said.
Daw Khin Moe Moe reiterated her claim to innocence, saying she did not betray the NLD and believed the truth would win out.
“Such a case could impact the NLD in the by-election,” she said.
“The time to hold the by-election is drawing near. But we cannot release a statement for the election because we have to settle this intra-party case of U Win Htein’s dismissals. We cannot spend time working on the byelection. These are factors that could impact the NLD.”
U Win Htein.