The Phnom Penh Municipal Court has allowed Kem Sokha to be free to travel within Cambodia but cannot get involved in politics and travel abroad. This is widely regarded as a positive development.
Kem Sokha has acted responsibly following the court’s earlier decision. In terms of political courage and reputation, he has scored much higher than the populist and cowardly Sam Rainsy.
Kem Sokha’s daughter, Ms. Kem Monovithya, called Sam Rainsy’s return a mere “PR stunt”. Kem Sokha’s faction has not involved itself in Sam Rainsy’s plot to topple a legitimate government through violence.
It is crystal clear that the political divide between Kem Sokha’s faction and that of Sam Rainsy is widening. Kem Sokha has proven to be responsible and a much more mature politician than Sam Rainsy.
For Kem Sokha’s faction to stay politically relevant and to save the future of the opposition party, it needs to stay away from Sam Rainsy’s plot to use violent people’s movement or colour revolution to topple a legitimate government.
More importantly, Kem Sokha must take bold steps to save the future of the opposition party by marginalising Sam Rainsy, especially to prevent Sam Rainsy’s faction from bringing peril to the whole opposition movement.
Experiences from different parts of the world illustrate that undemocratic, violent regime change will cause long-term political and social instability and trigger lingering suffering to the people.
By design and default, multiparty political system in Cambodia is alive and thriving. Of course there are some corrections to be made along the pathway. The ruling elites understand that multiparty political system is one of the core pillars of sustainable peace and development.
Regular elections are the key indicators of a thriving democracy. Yet, the capacity of the ruling party remains a challenge. The Cambodian People’s Party still need to build its institutional and leadership capacity.
The capacity of the opposition party also needs to be further strengthened so that the quality of democracy can be enhanced. Kem Soka should look for a long-term political solution and gradually build the capacity of the opposition party for the local election in 2022 and general election in 2023.
Irresponsible, extreme, populist attitude and behaviour like Sam Rainsy only causes damage to the party and the country. Learning from Sam Rainsy’s experiences, Kem Sokha should take a different path, a peaceful and democratic path.
Time is on Kem Sokha’s side. He needs to maintain his good health and pursue a non-violent, dialogue and a democratic path to save the future of the opposition party.
Kem Sokha must be realistic and visionary. He needs to build his own political identity based on his belief and value. If he stays with Sam Rainsy, he would not have any future.
Violent regime change, colour revolution, coup d’état, and other forms of violence must be avoided. Democracy and human rights can only thrive under the pre-condition of peace, stability and development.