For an event this historic, so momentous, the last lap into Local Government Elections seems oddly spirited, almost like a limp.
It’s as if the nation was more interested in the wait, in demanding the right to vote and when they got what they wanted satiation threw everyone into premature content.
The post Prorogation atmosphere was ripe enough to garnish the APNU/AFC Coalition its victory but there was that very ominous signal in its loss of Regions 1, 2, 3,5,6, 8,and 9 to the PPP, a party that had all but shredded the fabric of the country’s normalcy and decency, making its appearance at world gatherings an occasion of constant embarrassment, unceasing apologies..
This was not just a loss to a recalcitrant minority but a signal that there was a mutation of political well being within a large portion of the electorate; the kind that comes when people resign themselves to life under a political mandate and accept bad as the better alternative to worse.
Jagdeo’s symposium at Red House last October 28th was a call to retool; hardly one to repair. He bellowed for more party membership and more youth for the youth arm of his movement. He threw in a few mentions of Cheddi Jagan and used stock phrases like ‘fire in our bellies’ and ‘free and fair elections’. It was a frenetic one man show of him reminding his party how to line up behind him. But the subtext was never lost. The message remained that of PPP ascension to office to lead and take care of the country’s Indian population – racism not nationalism.
This was the message that had resonated with so many to the extent that they voted en mass for a plan that was devoid of inclusiveness and nation building.
These were regions that would need extra campaign efforts from the Coalition and every other Independent Candidate for these Local Government Elections.
With Local Government Elections a mere three weeks away and people still saying that they are voting for Mayor, we are wondering what level of campaigning was held, if people understand the local government voting process, that they elect their councilors who in turn elect a Mayor. Then those who have sat in their council seats hunched like gargoyles since 1994 , citing every obstacle but obsolescence and incompetence to explain their decades of ineffectuality would know that they don’t belong on the ballot because it’s no longer politics as usual and sitting in position doing nothing does not exactly count as experience.
Those who voted so overwhelmingly in those regions that gave the PPP regional dominance in May 2015 may not have known that they voted for a party that unquestionably pawned the country’s good graces, that boasts a leader who has been linked, inexorably, to extra judicial killings and organized murder. They may not know how this vote impacts future elections, local and national.
Lest they do it again, they should have been told, over and over again in the months leading up to Local Government Elections, what the PPP represents and why a vote cast for this party would be a vote cast for political stagnation.
It’s three weeks to Local Government Elections and we’re not sure what is being said. With the exception of one Mayoral candidate, we have heard very little campaigning, except for some sporadic bouts of tepid politicizing which fails to pin point an actual message.
Targeting the younger voter is vital to this election. They are aware of the political ideology they have inherited but their exposure to social media equips them to think on a broader plane, to be brave enough to analyze messages, to be smart enough to understand that a nationalist agenda should always supersede one that is confined to very narrow elements.
The Vote Like A Boss campaign kicked off a few days ago with its sights set on youth, with talks of voter hubs to explain the election process but there is no talk about the history of these elections how they were started to empower the villager and why the election of a person with a vested interest in the community is better than voting party or race.
The electorate is thus heading to the polls with same misinformation they had forty six years ago under the PNC old guard that allowed local government elections in 1970 and twenty years under the PPP which de-gendered Hamilton Green and willfully neglected Georgetown as retaliation for being gven the Mayoral chair.
The history of these elections is an important foundation for voters.to
Reading LOCAL GOVERNMENT ELECTIONS IS NOT FOR POLITICIANS this history of Guyana’s Local Government Elections will offer some very critical perspective: