Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Re: East Timor's Future Without Gusmao

(First published at: http://timorhauniandoben.blogspot.com.au/2012/04/re-east-timors-future-without-gusmao.html)

Josh Trindade

Dear Tim Anderson,
I read your article (http://newmatilda.com/2012/04/02/east-timors-future-without-gusmao) with great interest. However, you opinions is biased and misleading when you make comments on TMR, XG,CNRT or AMP Govt. I want to counter your arguments in the following:

1. On TMR's Military Uniform:
Fidelis Magalhaes already explained this, but I would like to inform you that the uniform TMR is wearing in his official campaign photograph has been gone through legal process and verified by both Electoral Commission (CNE) and Supreme Court. Means that TMR's uniform is legally accepted. For those who use this matter to attack TMR, meaning that, if they are at war, they are already run out of ammunitions to fire and there is nothing more they can use to attack TMR. Also, it is clear that this a FALINTIL uniform, not the current F-FDTL uniform. Thirdly, you only mention Ramos Horta who criticize this uniform and did not mention the fact that it is Mr. Mari Alkatiri (if I am not wrong) who started this and is still doing it (read here: http://timorhauniandoben.blogspot.com/2012/04/fidelis-nee-politika-provokativu-mari.html). You failed to note that, at the end, Mr. Horta declared neutral in the second round presidential election.

2. On Your Prediction on parliamentary election result:
You said that, "the most likely parliamentary outcome seems a Fretilin-led coalition. Fretilin has always been the largest party. The only reason they were excluded from government in 2007 was that Mr Gusmao managed to unify other groups against them". I found this very interesting and bias. Why? You did not mention the fact that FRETILIN won majority seats in Constituent Assembly and made themselves as parliament. They are single ruling party with majority seats during that time. Which also means that, running a government with majority seats (single party) is a lot easier compare to running a coalition government like AMP, the one XG is doing now. I am not trying to come up with an excuse, but this is what it is. Secondly, if FRETILIN failed to run a FRETILIN Government in the past and survive only four out of five years, how they will manage a coalition Government with other different political parties in the coming election? Managing a coalition I think already a challenge for FRETILIN, how they will run the country? I hope you understand the difference and the dynamics between running a coalition and a single party Government. You also forgot to mention that, if we look at the experience of both FRETILIN and CNRT, the later already running the country for five years and the former only have four years experience. You also failed to point out that, even though a coalition government like AMP is not easy, but XG manage to run the country until the new election. Don't you think this is an achievement in Timor-Leste? XG survived for the whole period and it was a difficult one because he has to pleases all the parties in the coalition, to ensure the Government from collapsing. You also pointed out some failure in AMP Gov in the last five years, but can you compare the list with the four years FRETILIN Government? However, you also mention that, " Mr Gusmao managed to unify other groups against them [FRETILIN]". I am so disappointed with this 'short' statement. I was expecting you to expand this statement and add that, if XG manage to pull a coalition together in 2007 where he only just established CNRT for two months, it is a great achievement in Timorese political arena. In summary, CNRT has survived longer (5 years) with a complex coalition Government (AMP) while FRETILIN survived (4 years) only, with absolute majority Government. Which one is more qualified?

If you want to understand about the capacity and the ability of CNRT, it is very easy. Look at it this way, "almost all FRETILIN weaknesses are CNRT strengths". Why? FRETILIN created CNRT, their own enemy/rival and it is a tough one. CNRT will never exist, if FRETILIN can run the first Government smoothly and it seems their dream to rule for 50 years was very realistic, but.... Furthermore, FRETILIN members declared themselves as the liberator of the country and publicly exclude those they called "otonomista/pro-indonesia", while CNRT members include all those "otonomista/pro-indonesia", as long as they did not commit any crime in '99. CNRT did the right thing, because as a party, they need members/voters who can vote for them to run the government, as long as they can vote. In comparison, FRETILIN did the opposite, they define themselves 'exclusively' and exclude and put as far away as possible those they consider as "otonomista/pro-indonesia" and they got about 30% voters left in their hands.

Also, why is that FRETILIN voters declined rapidly from 2001 to 2007 as TMR mention in Bucoli? Why?

3. On XG's Government Legacy:
I am not convinced in this section at all and was very surprised by the way you misunderstood XG's capacity and ability. You pointed out AMP Govt weaknesses but also did not compare it to what FRETILIN did before. I would like to see the differences.

4. On Challenges for a new government:
I fully agree with this section of your article, but I can come up with something completely different than yours (as Timorese) if I want.