The military has ruled Myanmar for over two decades which means anyone wearing a uniform has first choice in just about every aspect of society from jobs to education to good housing. Out of the blue, Senior-General Than Shwe ordered his minister to shed their uniform and adopt civilian dress in anticipation of an election which will be held in the coming months. For the first time in their lives these faceless generals will look just like ordinary people when they stroll in the street or demand special privileges from merchants of the police. An expatriate Burmese website predicts trouble for the men who were bosses yesterday and now are ordinary humans. “Senior-General Than Shwe is facing a mutiny among his subordinates. There are growing signs of discontent among his cabinet ministers who feel betrayed” Military uniforms are associated with power in Burma. Those wearing them get priority.
Under the Constitution written by General Shwe about 25% of parliament seats are reserved for members of the armed forces, but once ministers leave, they are on their own. Shwe is most probably worried that once he leaves office his current ministers will turn against him and what then will happen to the billions he has stacked away in secret bank accounts.