Hundreds of ex-CNRP commune councillors jump ship as their last chance looms today. Meanwhile the CPP denies similarities with the Mugabe regime in Zimbabwe.
CPP spokesman Sok Eysan has refuted the comparison made by former opposition leader Sam Rainsy between the situation in Zimbabwe and Cambodia.
Mr Rainsy, who has been living in self-imposed exile since 2005, posted on social media on Tuesday that “the population in Zimbabwe joyfully celebrates the fall of dictator Robert Mugabe, who had been in power for more than 30 years.”
“In 2018, the Cambodian people will similarly celebrate the fall of dictator Hun Sen who has also been in power for more than 30 years. Like in Zimbabwe, the armed forces in Cambodia should side with the people and stop obeying orders from the dictator. He is finished!”
Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s leader for nearly four decades, resigned on Tuesday after being sidelined by the military and cast out by his own political party.
Lawmakers from across the political spectrum called on Mr Mugabe to quit after the military seized power and tens of thousands of citizens took to the streets to demand the 93-year-old’s resignation.
Mr Eysan said every country in the world is different, and that one cannot take the situation one country and compare it with that of another.
He said Mr Mugabe was 93, making him unfit to effectively serve his country.
“Cambodia has its own specific characteristics. Only Cambodian citizens have the right to decide its destiny,” Mr Eysan said.
“So they cannot take the situation in Zimbabwe and compare it with that of Cambodia, which is wholly different,” he said. Mr Eysan said Mr Hun Sen is only 60, is very fit, in great health, and serves both the nation and its people effectively.
“Cambodian people do not think he has been holding power for too long. The country enjoys peace, political stability, good livelihoods for its citizens, and is in constant development,” Mr Eysan said.
“They also cannot compare Mr Mugabe with Mr Hun Sen because he only holds power through the people’s will. No one has the right to decide but Cambodian people.”
However, political analyst Lao Mong Hay said people have the right to freedom of expression, and can make any comparison they want and criticise policy they don’t approve of.
“It might be because there are some elements similar with today’s Cambodia,” Mr Mong Hay alleged when asked why government officials are reacting strongly with the comparison.
“This comparison is a sensitive issue,” he said.
Mr Mong Hay thought this situation was akin to Mr Hun Sen’s strong reaction to comparison made between the Tunisian government and Cambodia during the Jasmine revolution of 2011.
Phay Siphan, spokesman for the government, said people cannot compare the two countries because of the difference in regimes.
He said the comparison between Zimbabwe and Cambodia was alike to that of earth and the sky, adding Cambodia has a majority willing to work together.
Mr Siphan also said that people making these kind of comparisons, or spreading “intoxicating information,” should be punished by the law.