Daw Aung San Suu Kyi attends a ceremony at the presidential residence in Naypyitaw in March 2016 marking the official transfer of power to the National League for Democracy government. From left Lt-Gen Ye Aung, who would be appointed minister of border affairs, Lt-Gen Sein Win, the defense minister, and Lt-Gen Kyaw Swe, who would run the Ministry of Home Affairs. / The Irrawaddy
Myanmar’s military reportedly forced into retirement two generals who served as ministers with the ousted democratic government.
Lieutenant General Sein Win and Lieutenant General Ye Aung were the military-appointed defense and border affair ministers respectively under the ousted National League for Democracy government from April 2015 to January 2021.
Both were forced to retire during the Feb. 1 coup and moved to the junta’s National Solidarity and Peacemaking Negotiation Committee.
Senior General Min Aung Hlaing formed a new governing body after the coup and General Mya Tun Oo and General Tun Tun Naung were appointed as defense and border affairs ministers respectively on Feb. 1.
Lt-Gen Sein Win and Lt-Gen Ye Aung were appointed as the chairman and vice chairman of the Myanmar Veterans’ Association this month, according to Naypyitaw sources.
Lt-Gen Sein Win was tipped to be appointed as vice president by the military after the 2020 general election.
Under the 2008 Constitution, the defense, home affairs and border affairs ministries are controlled by the military and the ministers were generals nominated by the commander-in-chief with a parliamentary and presidential rubber stamp.
Myanmar’s military had 25 percent of all parliamentary seats and could nominate one of the two vice presidents.
An officer who defected from the military to join the civil disobedience movement known as “Captain Zero” told The Irrawaddy: “They were somewhat well-respected within the military and did not have bad relations with the people. In a way, they were good at civilian-military relations.”
Echoing other observers who believe the regime is looking to silence its moderates, the former officer said the junta “keeps those who support the military dictators and lackeys”.
In February 2020, former home affairs minister Lt-Gen Kyaw Swe, who was seen as close to State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, was replaced by Lt-Gen Soe Htut, who still holds the position.
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been in detention since the February coup, said during a visit to Singapore in 2018 that her relationship with the military was “not that bad” and the generals in her cabinet were “rather sweet”.
Colonel Khun Okkar, patron of the Pa-O National Liberation Organisation, who held peace talks with the ousted generals, said, if true, it was sad news because the two generals built mutual trust during the negotiations.
“It shows the disagreements among the military leadership,” he said. “Some generals might oppose the ongoing atrocities. They might have parted company.”
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Source: The Irrawaddy