Sunday, January 15, 2012

Nepotism in Cambodia

Dictator Hun Xen (L) standing next to Mini-me (aka 2-moon general Hun Manet)
15 January 2012
By Yun Samean
Radio Free Asia
Translated from Khmer by Oss Srok

Political observers in Cambodia are concerned that high ranking government officials are transferring important government positions to their relatives and cronies.

On Saturday 14 January, the ministry of Defense nominated Hun Manit, Hun Xen’s second son, to the position of deputy intelligence director of the ministry and he was also promoted from lieutenant colonel to colonel rank as well. The ministry also nominated Chea Dara, the deputy chief of staff, to the position of army intelligence director, replacing general Mol Roeup who croaked last week at the age of 60.

The nomination of Hun Manit is the second nomination of another one of Hun Xen’s sons to an important position in the army rank. In 2011, the ministry nominated Hun Manet, Hun Xen’s oldest son to the position of deputy chief of staff, in addition to his duty as director of the terrorism department and deputy commander of Hun Xen’s bodyguard unit.

Pol Saroeun, the chief of staff, was quoted by the Chinese news media as saying that this nomination was based on the army achievement and experience of the nominees. He added that the intelligence department had many successes during the border dispute conflict between Cambodia and Thailand.

Nevertheless, Dr. Lao Mong Hay, a Cambodian commentator, saw in this latest nomination an intention to promote Hun Xen’s son to take over his father’s position in the future.

He warned that, in the past, power in Cambodia used to be conferred to the leaders’ children or cronies, however, under the current situation, Cambodians may no longer accept this situation: “Due to changes, the people are more knowledgeable and they understand much more about freedom. [Therefore] this new generation of leaders and this new group of leaders could face difficulties.”

On 07 January, Chea Xim, the CPP president, announced that Hun Xen will be the CPP candidate to premiership in 2013, as well as in subsequent mandates. Analysts believed that Hun Xen is paving the way for Hun Manet to take over his position in the future. Hun Xen, who is currently 59, led Cambodia for the past 26 years and he plans on keeping his leadership role well into the future.

Human rights officials claimed that Hun Xen’s leadership is turning Cambodia into a dictatorship led only by his CPP party.

On Saturday, Phay Siphan, mouthpiece of the Council of Sinisters, rejected these accusations

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