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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Governor hits out against CPP control

Governor hits out against CPP control

K OMPONG SOM - This province's FUNCINPEC governor Thoam Bun Sron has hit out

against the effective stranglehold the opposition CPP enjoy over rural

Cambodia.

Bun Sron, one of FUNCINPEC's leading lights in the run-up to the elections,

says he "can't even get letter singed" without CPP approval in his province.

He claims that local CPP civil servants actively ignore his orders in

deference to their former CPP leaders who have, in practice, retained all

power.

He said most FUNCINPEC-led provinces suffer similarly.

His criticisms appear to agree with the unease felt by some political

analysts in Phnom Penh about the effectiveness and success of the UN-brokered

elections, especially in the provinces. Bun Sron's comments paint a picture of

FUNCINPEC being hamstrung in those areas.

All Bun Sron's decision have to be agreed by the former long standing CPP

governor-now Bun Sron's first deputy-Kim Bo.

Bun Sron said Kim Bo was vetoing most of his decisions "and so if we can't

agree on anything nothing is done."

The provincial workers still work under "patronage" to their former CPP

leaders and they refuse to implement FUNCINPEC decisions-Bun Sron described this

as "passive sabotage."

However, Kim Bo said that he did not think that political reasons were the

problem.

"The important thing is that we abide by the principles of the Ministry of

Interior. We don't take any sides of the political parties," Kim Bo told the

Post in a telephone interview.

When asked why Sihanoukville municipality staff were not cooperating with Bun

Sron, Kim Bo said: "Because they were (being) entrusted with duties which are

different from (those of) the Ministry of Interior."

"Some work (ordered by Bun Sron ) was not appropriate and was difficult to

implement," he said .

"If we implement these principles, especially the idea of consensus, there

won't be any problems.

There are many cases, especially concerning administrative work, which are

not in compliance with the ministry," Kim Bo said.

Bun Sron maintained that the former provincial "socialist" setup was never

dismantled after the elections.

"The whole administration belongs to them (the CPP), it is their people and

their system... the structure has not been changed."

"Public servants in general have lived here many years under CPP leadership.

They are still owed respect... but not as we know it in the west, this is

respect as in fear,"

Bun Sron used to be the head of the FUNCINPEC party in Australia, a position

from which he resigned some time before the elections in favour of Ung Huot, the

present Foreign Minister.

Bun Sron said he couldn't make any decisions for the good of his province; "I

can write a letter but have to submit it to Kim Bo. If he doesn't consent its

too bad for me."

"They can veto me at any time on any thing... its absolutely crazy."

"He used to be the King of the Castle, but he is still in his castle," Sron

said of Kim Bo

Bun Sron said he had complained to Interior Minister You Hockry who told him

nothing could be done and that "this was the reality, this was the deal they

made between themselves (after the elections.)"

The "deal" involved splitting provincial governments between CPP and

FUNCINPEC, with each party sharing the top two spots in local administration and

each agreeing on decisions.

"(You Hockry) said 'try your best to do whatever you can'. But even trying to

get a street cleaned here is a big problem."

Bun Sron said the provincial CPP leaders "consider themselves the de facto

government ... the FUNCINPEC government is a nominal one. So in fact we do not

control. It is impossible. Sometimes I think I just want to run away back to

Australia."

In CPP-governed provinces the FUNCINPEC deputies could not practice that

power of veto, he said.

"If it pleases (the CPP governor) to let their

FUNCINPEC deputies to know something its good, but it is luck."

Bun Sron said he realized that as governor he would be blamed for any lack of

progress and "that FUNCINPEC will be accused of not doing any thing."

But he

said: "There are many good people here, no CPP or FUNCINPEC but just Cambodians

who want to help."

Bun Sron said that for the people of Kompong Som "it is their town, their

home, their lives. They have to improve, it is not for me or any political

party, it's for themselves."

"He said he wanted to make people aware that it

was contradictory to "keep playing these (political) games."

"If public servants get caught up in this campaign who will lose in the long

run? It will be themselves."

Provincial civil servants should do their work

as asked. "They are trying to sabotage me."

"They go to the extreme of trying to defend the interest of the clan. The

interest of the clan is against the interest of nation. This is the danger

Cambodian society is facing," he said.

"Nobody can support me There is no

trust, no confidence, no support," he said.

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