After hobbling junta’s ability to govern in Yaw, anti-coup forces form People’s Administration Team

November 12th, 2021  •  Author:   People’s Administration Team (Yaw region of Magway)  •  3 minute read
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An Anti-coup protest in Yangon in February (EPA)

Some 80% of government staff working for the junta have resigned following an ultimatum from resistance fighters 

By Myanmar Now

Politicians and resistance fighters in the Yaw region of Magway say they have formed a People’s Administration Team to govern much of the area after the majority of state employees working under the junta there resigned or defected.

The team is one of several set up across Myanmar after ousted MPs called for locals to govern themselves in a bid to undermine the military’s jurisdiction in the wake of the February 1 coup.

The governing body will be formed with civil servants who have joined the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM) and will have branches in Gangaw, Htilin, and Saw townships, said a local MP who was ousted by the coup.

Lawmakers who won seats in last year’s election will serve as township-level patrons for the teams, which will prioritise healthcare and the safety of the neighbourhoods where they operate, said the MP, who wanted to remain anonymous.

The success of the teams will depend on the ability of local People’s Defence Force (PDF) chapters to defend against attacks from the junta’s forces, he said. “If the PDF manages to successfully protect the townships against the military council, the People’s Administration Teams can operate well.”

He encouraged members of the resistance in other parts of Myanmar to follow suit. “If more districts can follow in Gangaw’s footsteps, we will be able to occupy the whole country,” said the MP.

“The administrators have continued to deal with village matters after cutting off all communication with the cities,” he added. “They have stopped following orders [from the junta] and they have the support of their villages.”

Plans are also underway to appoint local PDF leaders as administrators as the team was struggling to find people with experience in administration, he added. “I don’t think the resistance fighters will be scared to take up administration roles.”

The Yaw Defence Force (YDF) published an announcement on November 1 warning that government staff in the region’s five townships would be targeted if they failed to cut ties with the junta by November 5.

Yaw Lay, a leader of the YDF, said that 80% of government employees resigned within the deadline and that those who defied the ultimatum to continue serving the junta include police officers, soldiers and bank staff.

But the holdouts are not numerous enough for the junta to exert significant control in Yaw, he added: “The YDF is already housing several military and police officers who deserted their duties. The majority of their mechanisms have been stopped now.”

More negotiations between local PDFs and MPs are needed in order to implement the new administration groups, he added.

“The plan to implement people’s administration teams can only be successful after careful and thorough discussions between the MPs, the National Unity Government (NUG) and the local resistance forces,” he added.

Many who tried to establish similar teams elsewhere in the country have been thwarted by raids and arrests by the junta, with some opting instead to travel to rebel-held territory to train as PDF fighters before returning to their townships to fight.

The National Unity Government and a local PDF chapter have been trying to establish a People’s Administration Team in Kayan Township, 20 miles from Yangon, but have struggled to do so in an area dominated by military bases.

Original Post: Myanmar Now