Of course, a tactical, organized, meticulously planned election boycott, with real goals to be realized at the national level, would be political strategy.
It may even cause the Western community that encourages the practice of democracy –through grants, loans and access to economic opportunity– to consider the inherent value in a declared election boycott, now that Guyana has elevated geopolitical relevance in the region; evidenced by the considerable tri-Guiana military and its proximity to neighboring nations, in which America has protracted anxieties when their politics are considered as “the breeding of communism” in its backyard.
They may be embarrassed enough by the paradox of ‘boycotting elections’ – that singular right to political voice occurring in a democracy that they finance – to invite the contending parties to a sit down to negotiate concessions being sought by the dissenting Party.
Generally, this is contemplated in the context of the willingness and approachability of the dissenting Party to participate in any brokering by the potential mediators. And a couple of other things go into a foreign community’s decision to “get involved in domestic politics” even when it’s bankrolling ‘democracy’.
The electoral boycott is the first line of offense by political oppositions across all continents but amounts to a self-imposed political harness that constricts political movement and stands at odds with the democracy that voting is supposed to underscore.
And that stigmatizes leaders and parties alike. Political Leaders have a responsibility to steer their voters to actions that would yield political outcomes that improve the citizens’ opportunities to participate in all political activities, be beneficiary of all the positive yields that result from political Administration.
Not voting is not that action.
By staying away from the political process, the Opposition/Party is staying away from its role as an elected arm of government with the duty to negotiate with the ruling party for the national good.
The self-centeredness of politicians refusing to take the electorate to the polls after they are elected and ascend to the seat of power is anathema to the democratic process itself and amounts to a self-massaging exercise in political malpractice.
So, in the interest of preserving its record of successful intervention, the resident foreign community would consider the participating history of the boycotting group just to make sure it’s proferance of democracy would be a conversation worth having.
The Opposition has long been waffling on participating in Local Government Elections. We support every boisterous call for a clean voter’s list but that should never translate to staying away from the polls. The late declaration of contesting in strongholds is brinksmanship that will yield even further conflict. The strongholds need government input to survive. Roads, running water, broad band, functional school houses require continuous oversight and negotiation from the Opposition.
The politics of party grievance is not a national strategy. Winning strongholds is not an end onto itself.
And this is the portfolio that makes up the participating history of the boycotting group that Madam Lynch and her community will scrutinize to determine any kind of intervention.
As conscientious observers of the conduct of the nation’s daily politics, we’ll submit that the fractured Opposition – its inter and intra unit rifts- questions its contesting viability, at all.
The existence of racial hostility and political animosity remain the hub of national politics but we still know, without collegiality, nothing will get better.
To the people who say that the Opposition is doing all that it could to combat the imposition of a one Party state and can do no more, we ask, why then, is it still a Political entity canvassing for votes, when it cannot provide the patronage people vote for.
The roots of the problem remain firmly embedded in a political structure that has passed its era but remains the zombie politics of those who are more partisan than patriot and would rather invoke dead ideas to retain power because the electorate has not been prepped to anticipate and demand more.
So the politics is a train of sweet repeats….the taunting and the finger pointing and the theatric performances all political -substance free… earning nothing for the raggedy democracy that’s enveloping the nation, as the lesser arm of governance absconds from its duty, clearing the way for its ruling counterpart to stomp with greater ease, towards one Party rule.
This democracy won’t survive on under informing/advising the electorate and distilling national issues to race and Party-the cheaper parts of easy politics. It won’t survive on the bombast of politicians and the daily pot shots that continue to disintegrate the tattered fabric of political civility. It won’t survive on picking and choosing which elections deserve participation and the extent to which the democratic process will be engaged especially when a resident foreign community cosigns with its support for the ruling Party that’s engaging the democratic process that’s the service the voters elected them for.
You can debate it all you want. But elections are on the table per constitutional dictate.
As we’ve said, there is collective utility in the boycott. There’s none, however, in its disparate application to select areas in a nationwide election.
It is the kind of political impotence that gives countries with a geopolitical stake in the region a thousand reasons to support a ruling Party, led by politicians on whom they have burgeoning dossiers of public corruption because they’re doing that Western Democracy thing…allowing the vote to be cast.
The calculus has got to be different.
We don’t believe that the Opposition is boycotting because it knows it will lose…the alleged ‘analysis’ of the ruling Party.
We believe that it is boycotting because there is disunity as a coalition, that the requisite early campaign planning never got off the ground and that the bravado substituted for real work was erroneously received as politicking by voters, who are not kept abreast of best practices.
It’s hard, as a journalist, not to note that, even as we wrap this up, evidence in the form of a flyer advertising the Opposition Leader’s visit to Scarborough Ontario Canada, to a Town Hall Meeting, is top billing on his to-do list.
It’s harder not to note that his visit to Canada is June 4th 2023, one week before his commitment to “holding strongholds” in the nation’s Local Government Elections…through a boycott that is short on collective utility.
We, conscientious observers, will stay abreast of the Opposition’s politics that’s slowly ceding the power of a two-party democracy to one Party because it’s not willing to overhaul its cultural and political infrastructure that’s still running on the partisan chassis of the past.
We’re not smitten by the performative alternative.