The Union Peace Conference— 21st Century Panglong has entered its third day with high ranking officials, ethnic armed group leaders, political parties and others mingling closely as they composed the final words to bury their almost 70-year feud. The historic event, the first of its kind since independence, is broadcast live on all the country’s television and radio stations in real time, drawing the interest of a large number of people in the country and beyond.
Although the peace conference is an initial step for the eternal peace to be brought about, all the stakeholders have been able to make their voice heard in the political process with some showing much interest in reaching any compromise, and there is a chance in their luck or in how successful they are. As the gathering has offered euphoria and high expectations in many quarters, those responsible should favour consensus over confrontation, conviviality over candour and process over substance to steer a real peace in the country.
Towards this end, those worthy of participating in the meeting have been inclusive and equal in seeking a solution of the federal problem which is still proving elusive, and the one wielding enormous power should take every possible step toward power-sharing that needs to be decided by a plebiscite, or otherwise we can’t win and make change we are longing for, as the time and cost are worthwhile.
Frankly speaking, if the government is seen as favouring one side over the other, then some could see the situation spiral and deteriorate. If the government is seen as even-handed, they could actually see the situation improving. In this juncture, the stakeholders are bearing a heavy burden.
For the historic peace conference to actually shape the future, we firmly believe that all the stakeholders will be able to hold discussions in putting an end to the on-off internal conflict that has plagued many regions of the country since independence in 1948 and hand the people the transformative power without any racism, localism or dogmatism.