MP, Mu Sochua and her team of locally elected councilors were surrounded, harassed and threatened by deputy village chiefs and youth members from the ruling party, CPP while making door to door visits in Battambang town.
The harsh words and accusation of incitement made by the CPP representatives were made to be heard and to demonstrate their total control of the villages. Their presence during the MP visit in the village spread fear.
The CPP deputy village chiefs openly accused MP, Mu Sochua of inciting villages against the government when villages were informed of their rights to free public health care and education. The youth members directly threatened a villager who complained of loss of land when she was sick.
“You, Mu Sochua can not enter my village. I warn you“, said a male commune councilor who was clearly intoxicated but encouraged by the other CPP representatives to abuse the opposition team.
The opposition team filed its complaint to the governor the following day.
A report of the threat will be sent to the Ministry of Interior next week by MP, Mu Sochua.
Similar to the Khmer Rouges regime, the level of control of the people is maintained by the village chiefs and other local authorites who represent the current government.
Fear is a legacy of the Khmer Rouges and a true barrier to the democratic process.
Breaking the silence can be achieved by standing firm on the principle of rights to information, freedom of speech and by challenging status quo.
The decentralization program supported by the international community must be measured in terms of the people’s exercise of their freedoms and rights and not only on the number of roads and schools built.