Kem Sokha Warns Against Putting Trust In Leaders

CNRP Vice President Kem Sokha has called on the public to become more actively involved in politics to prevent political leaders from growing too self-important and abandoning their causes.

Speaking to opposition supporters in France on Monday, Mr. Sokha said Cambodian political leaders are often unreliable and that the only way for the people to ensure social change is to take matters into their own hands.

“Our country is not poor in natural resources but is poor in people who respect policies, and has a shortage of leaders who respect policies,” Mr. Sokha said. “Today, they say this, tomorrow they say that, and the next day say this.”

“People say, ‘It’s because he understands, and he’s smart, and this is his trick, so wait and see his actions’—wait and see, until everything is lost,” he said.

“This is a problem. I cannot wait and see, so I ask everyone to join together and not think one person is better than another person,” he added.

“If you rely only on Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha or Hun Sen, and take these two or three people to be better [than regular people], we will be destroyed,” he said.

CNRP President Sam Rainsy has in recent months promoted the notion there is a new and special relationship between himself and Prime Minister Hun Sen—the pair even dined together with their families on Sunday.

Mr. Sokha said he focused his politics on suffering and rejected self-indulgences.

“I’m the son of rural people and never had the decadence of leaders and politicians,” he said.

“The situation in Cambodia has changed a lot. Our people now understand, especially the youth, who have decided to stand up. The youth want change, and that was the force that the CNRP received in 2013,” Mr. Sokha said.

“It did not come from Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha, it was the force of the people, who awakened and now understand the reality of the risks facing the country.”

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