An interview with Salai Paul, Secretary of Chinland Council about the election of persons who will lead the three branches of Chinland and Chinland Council’s future tasks.
On 1 February 2024, the Chinland Council established the Chinland Government, Chinland Supreme Court and Chinland Parliament in accordance with the Chinland Constitution.
The Khonumthung Media Group (KMG) interviewed Salai Paul, Secretary of the Chinland Council about the Chinland government’s coverage over the entire Chinland, the groups to be included in the Chinland Council and the Chinland Council’s attitude towards the Interim Chin National Consultative Council’s (ICNCC) objection to the formation of the Chinland government, including the election of the persons who will lead three pillars of Chinland, Chinland Council’s future tasks and the possible landscape which may emerge after the formation of Chinland government.
Q: There are reports that the Chinland Council Conference and the formation of the Chinland government was held in Chin Lon town. Please explain the name “Chin Lon” first.
A: The second session of the first term of the Chiland Council Conference was held on 30 and 31 January 2024. The Chiland Council Conference was held in Chin Lon town. Chinland government, the Chinland Parliament and the Chinland Supreme Court are headquartered in Chin Lon. The Chiland Council formed the Chinland government, Chinland Parliament and the Chinland Supreme Court. In fact, it is not an existing town.
Q: The name lists of prime minister and members of Chinland government, chief justice and judges of Chinland, proposed by the nomination committee according to the Chinland Constitution were approved and then selected. How were they selected and the government formed?
A: According to the announcement after the first meeting of the Chinland Council, the council shall form the government, parliament and supreme court within 60 days. At the second meeting of Chinland Council, the selection of chief minister, ministers, parliament and the chief justice proposed by the election committee was based on the three branches stipulated in the constitution. The government was formed through coordination among the three groups. The election committee was entrusted with the major coordination, according to the constitution. Three branches formed by the committee were proposed at the council meeting. Then, the council had to ratify them.
The election committee shall propose three groups in a fair manner and then submit them. For instance, as for the Chinland parliament, only the MPs who won the 2020 election are tasked with all legislative duties as they are elected by the people through the elections. The move aims to ensure the fair share of legislative power among all three branches. Therefore, the MPs are tasked with carrying out necessary legislation during the revolution. The government is formed with township and local clusters, Chin National Front (CNF) and parliament with the aim of ensuring the fair share of legislative power. Since the judiciary is a specialized field, the chief justice and judges who will serve in the Supreme Court are appointed in the form of professionals.
Q: How did the Chinland government select and appoint the prime minister?
A: At the time of the establishment of the Chinland government with Decree No. 1/2024, MP Pu Pa Thang, who won the state parliamentary seat of Matupi Township in the 2020 general election, was appointed as the Prime Minister. He serves as the prime minister from the parliamentary cluster.
Q: Was an external expert appointed as the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court?
A: Pu Thomas Thang Nou, the central judge of the Chin National Front, was appointed as the chief justice. His appointment has nothing to do with the fact that he served in the CNF and the CNF proposed him. He was selected and nominated by all representatives in the committee. For instance, it is true that the CNF submitted proposals for some positions in the government, but this Chief Justice was proposed by all members of our committee.
Q: Chinland parliament is formed with 15 members. Which townships in Chin State are MPs included in the Chinland parliament from?
A: In the past, only the representative of the State parliament worked in the State parliament. However, the representatives of the parliament, who actively participated during this revolutionary period, are integrated into the legislative branch. The representatives of the parliament are from Mindat, Kanpetlet, Paletwa, Matupi, Thantlang and Hakha. Tedim, Falam and Tunzan are not included in it. Six out of nine townships are included.
Q: How was the parliamentary speaker elected?
A: The parliamentary meeting was called. Fifteen members held a meeting after the appointment of the chair at the parliamentary meeting according to the procedures. Pu Hung Naing, who won the state parliamentary seat representing Mindat, was appointed as the speaker of the parliament.
Q: Since the Chinland government has been formed, what will the Chinland Council do next?
A: The Chinland Council continues to operate according to the constitution. Once three major branches are established, the respective branches will start implementing their duties simultaneously. In doing so, we will have a two-tier government. There will be a Chinland government and a local government. The local government shall govern its townships and regions.
From there, they have to connect with the Chinland government. Those in charge of the Chinland government and the local government shall be connected. As for legislation, the drafts to be enacted at the local level will be submitted to the Chinland parliament, and then the necessary legislation will be implemented during the revolution. What I want to say is that collective coordination shall be made in order that there will not be much difference with the methods currently used in the Chin State Parliament and at the local level. For law enforcement, judgement shall be made separately by designating military and civil jurisdiction. Rule of law will also be implemented for the public. The Chinland Council will lay down the necessary policies to guide three branches.
Q: As the Chinland government has been formed, what changes and progress in building Chinland will Chin people see this year?
A: After the formation of the Chinland government, what we have to do is what kind of remedy can be given to the people of Chin who suffered during the revolution. At a time when the revolution is in full swing, we aim to minimize the harm to the people as much as possible. During the three years of the revolution, we implemented our administration at the township and local levels. In other sectors such as education and health, we will try to consolidate the steps implemented in our own township at the Chinland level and then form a more powerful government. Our main priority is to fulfill the basic needs of the people. The people also need to warmly welcome and themselves cooperate in the activities of the Chinland government. We need to be able to gradually go through a system that can govern the people the public wants.
Q: Are there any additional members in the Chinland Council? If so, how many groups joined it?
A: The purpose of forming the Chinland Council is to build a Chinland where the Chin people have the right to self-determination and root out the military dictatorship and all dictators. We will pay attention to bringing together any organizations and individuals which have the same strategic goal as us, in Chinland. We have laid down the policies. The group which wants to become a member of Chinland Council, can apply for membership in two ways. First, there may be groups that will apply from the township level. Secondly, as a region, there may be some kind of application, so we have drawn up standards. The Chinland Council will accept it if the applicant meets these criteria. We warmly welcome you to cooperate in the Chinland Council. We welcome organizations and people that share the same goals as us. We welcome organizations that abide by the constitution and continue to do according to the constitution. Now, there are groups that have applied until the second Chinland Council meeting. We will consistently try to accept them as members of the Chiland Council by carefully scrutinizing the applications.
Q: Currently how many clusters are there in the council?
A: There are five clusters in the council.
Q: How many clusters at the township and region levels and which clusters are included in the current Chinland Council?
A: They are included in the township and region cluster which is one of three clusters in the Chinland Council either in terms of township or region. Those included in the council are : (1) Kalay, Kabaw, Gangaw (KKG), (2) CDF- CDM-Siyin , (3) CDF- Hualngoram (4) CDF- Hakha (5) CDF- Thantlang (6) CDF – Zophei , (7) CDF – Lautu, (8) CDF -Zotung (9) CDF – Mara (10) CDF – Daai, (11) CDF – Paletwa, (12) CDF – Tonzang (13) CDF – Kanpetlet and (14) CDF – Matupi.
Q: Can you tell me how the current government structure covers the entire Chin?
A: The Chinland government formed by the Chinland Council is to manage the affairs of the people of Chin during the revolution. Taking a look at the coverage area, members, townships and regions are included in the Chinland Council. We will make efforts to reach out to other groups that support the Chinland and have not yet been able to include in Chinland. Finally, the Chinland government will try to represent all Chin people. In order for everyone to be able to participate, the government will work for the benefit of all the Chin people without discrimination.
Q: When two councils emerged, the Chin Civil Movement organized campaigns to urge them in order to meet and coordinate before the formation of a government. But now, how would you like to comment on the formation of the government?
A: Chin is also a very weak state. In terms of nation building, we are also in a position where we have to take the initiative compared to other ethnic groups. In such a situation, the formation of two or three groups shouldn’t happen. I would like to add that the formation of the government by the Chinland Council doesn’t aim to compete with the existing government or the government that is expected to be formed in Chin. According to the Chinland Constitution, all the groups involved in the Chinland Council are working to provide services to the public. On the other hand, the Chinland Council can’t accept the fact that the ICNCC is encouraged to compete with us, and the two councils are forced to compete. The formation of Chinland Council is not aimed for competition. It was just the formation of the Chinland Council. I would like to say that the formation of the Chinland government doesn’t aim to compete with another government that will emerge. The formation of the Chinland government is only for the public. If necessary, our council has a plan to meet and coordinate with organizations that have not yet joined the Chinland Council within Chinland, in accordance with the constitution and the policies adopted by the council. We will continue to make coordination. I would like to say that Chinland Council accepts neither the parallel government nor the parallel council.
Q: It was announced yesterday that the affairs of the Chin people would be managed by three branches established by the Chinland Council. There are criticisms that the council is above the judiciary cluster. What do you want to comment on that?
A: As per the constitution, three branches must be accountable to the Chinland Council. However, having a look at the Constitution, you have to ask to what extent they have powers and duties in the judiciary. We have to act just to be accountable. Not only the judiciary, but the government and legislative bodies are also accountable to the council. Taking a look at the tasks, duties and powers enshrined in the Constitution, the judiciary sector’s decision is final and conclusive. Just by looking at this, you can see how much authority is given to them in the constitution.
Q: The ICNCC has objected to the formation of the Chinland government by the Chinland Council. Let me know your comment on that.
A: Even if they have said they don’t recognize it, the organizations which stand with the public will be in oneness with the Chin people on the ground in a certain period of time.
Q: Is there anything else you would like to add?
A: Since the formation of the Chinland government, parliament and the Supreme Court by the Chinland Council, relevant branches shall cooperate in the operation of mechanism in townships included in the Chinland Council, at Chinland level in addition to local and township levels. We will have to continue to perform the existing tasks at the Chinland level. I would like to urge the public to warmly welcome three branches formed by the Chinland Council and cooperate in it. I would like to urge everyone to join hands and cooperate with us bearing in mind the fact that the autonomous system will be implemented from now on after drafting the constitution within Chinland.
Sent by KMG.