UNC spells out criteria for Naga candidates
Source: The Sangai Express / Newmai News Network

Imphal, December 05: The United Naga Council (UNC) while making public today its stance with regard to the forthcoming Assembly election of Manipur, has appealed to all the Nagas to choose and elect only those candidates who have no party affiliation whatsoever, and who enjoys the confidence of the people in their respective constituencies and added that such candidates must also be God fearing.

The UNC further said that those candidates should also be the ones who subscribe to the Naga Peoples' Convention (NPC) declaration.

The stance of the UNC in written form christened, "Call For Democratic Expression of Our Birthright-Position Paper on the 9th General Election, 2007 Manipur" and which was made available to Newmai News Network today lambasted the sitting Naga MLAs/Ministers in the State Legislative Assembly saying, "it is a tragedy that some of the most strident critics who function against the aspiration of the Nagas are themselves Naga representatives (MLAs/Ministers) in the Manipur Legislative Assembly.

They have manipulated the political equations in their respective constituencies in such a way that they can return to power in the next election.

Such representatives cannot be mandated again as they have failed to responsibly act before this great opportunity of strengthening the Indo-Naga peace process and have wilfully refused to be factors in securing the aspirations of the Naga people for unified Naga homeland".

The position paper of the UNC further stated that as the peace process continues, the typical dynamics of electoral politics operated in parallelthe politicians have executed the politics of tribalism, money power, political party tickets, vested interests etc, adding, "leaving the Naga vision in the backburner, they have utilised the years of their tenure to consolidate their space in the politicking drama".

It recalled that on February 7, 2002 , 47 prospective Naga candidates to the 8th General Assembly Election, Manipur most enthusiastically and willingly gave their undertaking to the Nagas people to the effect that they would support the peace process and protect the inherent rights of the Nagas if elected to the state Assembly.

Eleven Naga candidates were thus elected from amongst those who gave the undertaking and now their time of reckoning has come before the Naga people.

From mere lip service to half hearted signatures in support of the peace process and volte-face in the next moment, the Nagas have been betrayed by the very people in whom we placed our trust, rued the UNC paper.

It also stated that with the 9th General Assembly election at hand, the UNC, its constituent tribe councils/hohos and the Naga civil societies have decided to define the objectives with which the Naga people must approach the same for securing representatives through whom the voice of the Naga people can be articulated loud, clear and consistently such as to fulfil the inherent and democratic aspiration of the Naga people for unification of all Naga homeland; to mobilize the peoples' fullest support to the ongoing Indo-Naga political dialogue for an honourable solution; to provide leadership to society in nation building and to promote the common interest of all the ethnic communities in the state.

It also said that the candidates should also subscribe to the above four objectives to work unitedly with his/her other fellow Naga representatives elected in the same manner.

"As a democratic people, we have matured over the years because our practice of democracy is rooted in our culture and tradition.

The compulsions which have determined political participation in the past, that have been defined by personal, economic and tribal considerations in the geopolitical dynamics of what is the present state of Manipur are no longer relevant to the march of the Nagas to their destiny", declared the UNC.

The position paper further mentioned that the UNC mandated by the Naga people through the NPC declaration of August 2001 to carry forward the declared objectives of the declaration take this opportune moment to uphold and exercise the principles of the NPC declaration, so that every tribe through its villages while reiterating the NPC resolution from the grass-root level, develops the Naga perspective through which we will as a people negotiate the forthcoming 9th General Assembly Election.

"The UNC therefore appeals to the Naga people and all the tribal councils/hohos to value our inherent democratic tradition where people are empowered to make decision based on ' consensus' which has always been for the larger interest.

This election must reflect the wish of the Naga people to live together with their Naga brethren and not fall victim to propagandists, party politics or forces inimical to the Naga aspiration which is embodied in the NPC declaration.

The UNC further appeals to th Naga people of Manipur through their respective tribal council/hohos, churches; intelligentsias, professionals, women; youth and students' organizations to rally behind the call to mutually strengthen our struggle for the unification of the Nagas.

"This is possible through empowerment of the people, where our people free themselves from the clutches of power mongering politicians, who has been always guided by their self centered agenda", said the paper.

The UNC also directed that the Nagas of Manipur have to go beyond the immediate compulsions of personal gains; family, clan, village and tribal interests and political opportunism.

We must ensure the return of responsible candidates with clear visions who will represent the Nagas aspirations and carry forward our struggle for peace, justice and freedom.

It is an uphill task but we must do it because we know what awaits us if we don't."We must therefore, proceed with conviction and clear-headedness, undeterred by machinations and negative views projected by vested interest, for our future and that of our children," announced the UNC position paper.