Monday, March 2, 2009

A Tale of "A Strongman in a Weak State"

A Tale of "A Strongman in a Weak State"

Cambodia has been worldwide recognized as a country led by a "strongman". This word tells us many things about the ongoing political issues in Cambodia.

To be fair in judgment, strongman is good for any state when the strongman fully implements his task through legal system, the rule of law, and democratic principles. Strongman can enable state not being chaotic or anarchic. Peace and stability with sound public goods and legal justice are in need for Cambodia.

But how strongman could be categorized in Cambodia? It is hard to define this term of strongman in Cambodia as many poor and the weak have been frequently inhumanized and violated by the governed. For instance, the destitute families living in Dey Krohorm, recently have been abused by the elites. The weak farmers whose lands were grabbed by authority, they were arrested to put in jail or shot to death in few of them. There are many judicial cases of Cambodian people whose cases brought to court, and court settled the cases by arresting the poor to imprison or fined them.

How strongman could be when the minor group, the weak or the less opportunate citizens cannot be cared and protected. This case happen only in a "weak state with a strongman". Cambodia currently is in this case.

Not mentioning the internal arena, Cambodia's internal political administration is still very weak. The structure of the government is comparing like a man with "a giant head, but have small legs and small body". How can they stabilize themselves to walk properly?

There are several unusable positions for their patrons in the government to interact with their clients (people) without having proper duties and tasks to carry out. Those officials are just the patron who support their leader, particularly to support Hun Sen in order to weaken Hun Sen's rivals in the same party. Not only CPP's members, many opposition's members have been lured to fulfill positions that can bring leverage to Hun Sen to confront with his internal competitors.

The effectiveness of the government task is so slack and weak. Recently, the implementation of legality to tackle with gambling cannot be dealt through their bureaucrats; that why Hun Sen has to come out and quickly ranted to shut all those gambling parlors without having proper policy designing.

This is just the evidence of a country with its "weak state of a strongman".

There will be more narrative on this issue to deal with complex, disadvantageous political practice in Cambodia.


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