Letter to the Editor: Politics in Cambodia Still Suffering From Lack of Civility

Recently, disagreements between senior members of the CNRP were showcased on social media, “Letters Rebuking Sokha’s Daughter Are Fake, CNRP Says” (October 28). Such discontent appears to have been brewing for quite some time. The issues at hand are leadership, a generational gap and a failure to address grievances. Let’s peel back the onion, layer by layer, and look at some key points.

—Letter to the Editor—

First and foremost, the leader bears the ultimate responsibility for the well-being of the party. The most important job of a leader is nurturing a new generation of leaders who will grow up to be brighter than he is. A leader is not made by the media and camera flashes. A real leader inspires with courage and fortitude in the face of adversity.

Currently, the wedge driving the party apart is a generational gap. Traditionally, Khmers are taught from an early age to respect and follow the command of their elders without question, to a fault. Dissenting voices are almost always met with backlash because they are seen as being disrespectful.

This is a real problem. Having differences in opinion ought to be embraced, not reprimanded. The knee-jerk reactions from party members in light of Kem Monovithya airing her grievances against Sam Rainsy on social media are disturbing. Those who came to the defense of Mr. Rainsy hurled personal insults at Ms. Monovithya, many of which were sexist. The behavior and language used are not only unacceptable; they are appalling. They are appalling because the behaviors exhibited are the same as those of the oppressor—the ruling party.

No organization grows without making mistakes. Part of this process is dealing with grievances from members. A proper channel must be established to allow grievances to be aired and protect members from retribution. A grievance that affects morale and the effectiveness of an organization does not age well with time. Ignore it long enough and it will spill out into the public, as it did in this case.

The challenges within the CNRP are not a secret. In fact, they have become quite clear. By pointing this out, the Cambodia-America Alliance hopes the party will come to terms with those challenges and take appropriate action to strengthen the foundation of the coalition. Only then can the party progress.

Vibol Touch
Cambodia-America Alliance

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