Villagers forced to help prepare for visit of commander's wife

Sep 1, 2008 (DVB), Villagers in Muse township in northern Shan State have been ordered to contribute money and labour to preparations for the upcoming visit of the wife of the northeastern commander, a local told DVB.

Daw Cherry, the wife of the new local commander, brigadier general Aung Than Htut of Northeast Command, will be in Muse in early September to inspect the Maternal and Child Healthcare Association there.

A local resident said that representatives from villages in the Mutaunglon village tract had been summoned to a monastery in Mutaunglon for a special meeting on 26 August by Muse district Peace and Development Council chairperson U Kyi Win and township Peace and Development Council chairperson U Nyunt Han to talk about Daw Cherry's visit.

The villager, who attended the meeting, said locals had been told they would have to help with the preparations for her visit.

"So since 28 August we have had to paint the monastery hall, clean, cut the grass and so on to prepare the place to receive her visit," said the villager.

"We were also told that each village had to provide 10 bamboo poles to raise flags during her trip," he said.

"Moreover, U Kyi Win said each family in Mutaunglon village tract had to contribute 1500 kyat to spend on welcoming and dinning costs for her. We don't have any choice but to provide both labour and money."

There are over 600 houses in Mutaunglon village tract, which comprises ten villages including Mutaunglon, Mutaungkut, Mahtnyu, Khopane and Khokay.

The villager told DVB that locals were very disappointed with the additional workload they had to shoulder for the commander's wife's visit since they were already busy clearing their farms and they also had to provide voluntary labour on castor oil plant fields every week.

Reporting by Htet Aung Kyaw

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