After many months of a failed campaign against the interests of Cambodia and the Khmer people, led by Kem Sokha’s daughter Kem Monovichya, groomed and cultivated by the United States as a potential “heir apparent”, Sam Rainsy announced the establishment of the Cambodia National Rescue Movement (CNRM) last week with the objective of succeeding and if not, trying to revive the now defunct CNRP and pushing for the release of Kem Sokha from prison.
In addition, he has also blatantly announced the intention to form an illegal armed force to infiltrate the border areas surrounding Thailand and provoke students, workers, farmers and the army to rise up against the government.
This clearly gives credence to the government’s assertion of the plan to have a colour revolution to topple the legally elected government of Cambodia.
Interestingly, Yem Ponharith, who is said to be close to Kem Sokha, appealed to this new movement to take off the words “National Rescue”, saying that these words could make Kem Sokha take responsibility for any illegal acts that may be committed by the CNRM.
There is however, no explanation or justification as to how Kem Sokha would be responsible for the acts for this movement as he is in prison.
The divisions among former opposition members is another issue, but the question is whether the CNRM is legal or illegal. It will be illegal for sure in Cambodia, but outside Cambodian jurisdiction how is it illegal and more importantly, would any government sanction such an action by a movement which is virtually, by default, announcing its intention to have an undeclared war on the sovereign state of Cambodia.
Why did Mr Rainsy launch this new movement while others associated with him and Kem Sokha claim that the CNRP is still alive?
Certainly this movement is illegal because the members of the CNRM like Mr Rainsy, and its other members like Eng Chhai Eang, Mu Sochua and Tioulong Saumura, were banned by law from politics for five years, according to a decision made by the Supreme Court on November 16, 2017, which led to the dissolution of the CNRP. Why does Mr Rainsy need this new political movement when he already knows it is illegal in Cambodia irrespective of its legality abroad?
One reason could be because Sam Rainsy’s team has lost confidence in Kem Sokha’s daughter Kem Monovichya and her group to act on behalf of the opposition because of her young age and a lack of experience in politics.
She is viewed to be very proud of herself and made Cambodian people feel disappointed and lose confidence because of the alleged treasonous act of her father as well as her own activities to destroy the interest of Cambodia in favour of their foreign bosses such as calling for sanctions against the country, calling for the expulsion of Cambodia from the United Nations and so forth.
It could also be because of the possibility that the Cambodian people are very angry with the opposition party for asking some countries to put political pressure and economic sanctions against the Cambodian people.
Faced with the loss of confidence, Sam Rainsy’s followers could not be quiet and need to take action quickly to restore the damaged situation and save their political career.
Sam Rainsy is also reportedly very frustrated to see his sacrifice of resigning as the head of the CRNP last February to save the party from dissolution which amounted to nothing as the then opposition party was still dissolved due to its violation of the Political Party Law.
The officials and members who are now facing an early end to their ambitious political career may have also realised that if they depend on the inexperienced Kem Monovichya, they would just be waiting for a certain death to their political career.
As such, even if Mr Rainsy realises that this movement may probably be unable to do anything beyond propaganda and stirring up emotions, he is still nevertheless trying to get his name heard by the people and stay relevant to Cambodian politics.
This movement is a mechanism which is a playbook of a person who does not legally belong to a Cambodian political party and by default, concede that they are recognising the dissolution of the CNRP and that it did not exist any longer in Cambodia as a legal entity.
All the efforts of Mr Rainsy and Monovichya has failed thus far. Their first failure was when they have yet to convince foreign governments that they agree with Monovichya’s call to apply more pressure against Cambodia because they have realised that the people they have met represent only a minority voice calling for help for Khmers but have realised that the reality is that all efforts by Monovichya and her group is in their own interest.
The second failure was when CNRM was born, the effort to resuscitate CNRP and keep the promise of contesting the July 2018 election, has also failed by default as one is tied to the other by Mr Rainsy.
The establishment of the CNRM without using the existing party’s mechanism doesn’t mean that it is creating another avenue to keep the attention of the Cambodian people for the dissolved CNRP, but, on the contrary, it is just to find a new mechanism to recreate others like Chhun Yasith had tried to do, that is to create an armed resistance.
This movement is their latest effort of many to try and resuscitate political activities and excitement in an attempt to try and save their political lives.
The establishment of the CNRM only gives more opportunities to Sam Rainsy and his team to move forward to create a new position for Sam Rainsy in the opposition forces and draw attention away from Kem Sokha.
Sam Rainsy also used Kem Sokha, who is currently in prison charged with treason, to save his political life and to retake control of the opposition.
In conclusion, the ambitions of Sam Rainsy is to become the president of an opposition party again and control all their members and supporters. As such, don’t be surprised to see Sam Rainsy use Kem Sokha as a political tool to achieve this by sacrificing him and letting him stay in prison.
Thus, the divisions in the opposition are unavoidable as they have set themselves to auto self- destruct.
The strategy and political opportunity for Sam Rainsy to regain his importance and relevance is quite good, but even God may not be able to tolerate Sam Rainsy’s political life because he is a coward and is facing more than 10 complaints due to his irresponsible acts and statements.
Independent political analyst,
Siem Reap Angkor.