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Zomi National Congress party (ZNC) is one of the political parties registered to military government of Myanmar in 1988, under the multi-party election law. The name Zomi was taken to denote our true identity as we call ourselves “Zomi”. “Zomi” known as Chin in Myanmar, is one of the ethnic groups who signed Panglong Agreement in 1947 to join Union of Burma. The party headquarters was located at Tiddim, Chin State. Zomi people from Tiddim, Tonzang, Kalemyo and Tamu township joined the party to be their national party and it was the strongest ever among its people. The party has been able to educate the people about democracy and human rights during the campaign for election. The main objectives of the party are : To proclaim our national identity, “Zomi”, To establish democratic government and federal union of Myanmar, To implement free market economy in Myanmar, To respect the Panglong Agreement and its democratic rights.
The party was given a chance to campaign on national television in Myanmar in which the President proudly delivered a campaign massage to the public. ZNC was one of the founding member parties of the United Nationalities League for Democracy (UNLD) which comprised of all the ethnic nationality parties in Myanmar. From Chin state, along with Zomi National Congress, Chin National League for Democracy, Mro or Khami National Solidarity Organization and Mara People's Party are working together under the umbrella of UNLD. ZNC played a leading role when UNLD and National League for Democracy (NLD) formed alliance to formulate the policies for the future of Myanmar. During the multi-party general elections in May, 1990, ZNC contended in four constituencies: Tiddim-I, Tiddim-II, Tonzang and Kalemyo-II, and won at two constituencies. The President, Pu Chin Sian Thang, and the General Secretary, Pu Thang Lian Pau were elected from Tiddim-II and Tonzang respectively. In Chin state, the member parties of UNLD won eight of thirteen seats, four seats by NLD, and one by National Unity Party (NUP). In March 1992, the military government abolished ZNC and banned from its political movement. From then on, military intelligence tightened its grip on its movement, followed by detentions and interrogations of its leaders. In 1993, military government of Myanmar convened the so-called National Convention which had never come to a conclusion and which had never passed a single resolution. Government hand-picked some representatives and leaders of Shan National League for Democracy (SNLD) and NLD were invited to attend the National Convention, but only to
walk out later. An elected member from UNLD was the only representative among ethnic political parties besides SNLD. Although the military government did not recognize the result of the national elections, ZNC, along with UNLD members continued the movement for democracy and human rights. Since ZNC was not allowed to attend the National Convention, ZNC submitted some basic principles for the constitution of future Myanmar through UNLD that drafted a proposed constitution. The basic principles of the Constitution proposed by ZNC are: A Federal Democracy system, Limited power to the Federal and residue power to the State, Two Chambers of Parliament, and
- Equal membership of representative from ethnic nationalities to Upper Chamber of Parliament . In 1996, ZNC and three other ethnic parties, SNLD, Mon National Democratic Front (MNDF) and Arakan League for Democracy (ALD) joined together and asked NLD to take initiative for national reconciliation. In 1997, ZNC, SNLD, MNDF, ALD and NLD agreed to work together for democracy and future of Myanmar. Series of discussion were made on rebuilding the nation, formulating the constitution of future Myanmar and the role of ethnic nationalities in the Union. ZNC discussed especially on the role of ethnic nationalities in building the nation during the Panglong Conference and in the rebuilding of the nation in the future. The NLD party and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi were convinced that without ethnic nationalities, the rebuilding of a democratic nation will be impossible. All the participating parties understood the importance of a dialogue and cooperation between the NLD and ethnic parties. It was cleared that the political solution for national reconciliation has to have tripartite dialogue among NLD, the military government, and ethnic nationalities. In 1998, leaders of ZNC, SNLD, MNDF and ALD jointly submitted a petition to the ruling military government. The petition mainly focused on national reconciliation and asked: To recognize the result of 1990 multi-party general elections, To start a tripartite dialogue among the military government, NLD and ethnic nationalities, To convene the people’s parliament as soon as possible, and To respect freedom of the press, political freedom and human rights.
The petition was simply ignored by the military government and rather the leaders were interrogated and detained without any legal charges.
The cooperation and mutual understanding between ZNC, SNLD, MNDF, ALD and NLD gained political strength to stand firm for democracy. In the end of 1998, Committee Representing the People’s Parliament (CRPP) was formed by representatives of abovementioned NLD, ZNC, SNLD, MNDF and ALD. The military government immediately took action by detaining members of the CRPP. CRPP became the target of military intelligence even though it was internationally recognized by foreign governments and institutions. Leaders of ZNC have been actively involved in the movement of CRPP which later increased its members. Later on, ZNC was one of the main sponsors to form United Nationalities Alliance (UNA) comprising of all the ethnic nationality parties which contended in 1990 general elections. UNA has become a political platform for all the ethnic nationalities to stage their rights and demand together.