To assert- as one government backed media did- that “the PPP has grown in its national appeal” is to contend that choosing to vote for the ruling Party, which forces that choice by holding the right to happy, productive living hostage, is actual preference for the hostage taker.
We can take this all the way back to Cheddi’s ‘Politics of Power’ in which he acknowledged the “Anti African Tendency” of his Party which he excused as a reflex for similar tendencies from the “imperialists and PNC”- simultaneously acknowledging that it was an ill, born of the imperialists.
And his conditioning on his Party’s Anti African Tendency was an inheritance from the ‘demigod’ Jung Bahadur Singh whose stated mission of making Guyana a “fantastic New India” was platformed on the racist thrust of ‘Indian Enhancement’…
an enterprise that would barrel through, “as if Afro Guianese were expected to simply disappear from the landscape” Guyana Junction Johannes Gerrit de Kruijf.
It was this chassis that Janet- more than Cheddi- constructed, she being labeled Stalinist by then 1954-1956 British and American Governments, as the stronger Jagan, who “dominated” her husband and transformed him into a Communist”; having grounded her politics as a trained international Communist in Chicago’s Young Communist League.
It is this framework that Janet took over then bequeathed to Jagdeo, along the continuum of ‘Indian Enhancement’ and ‘Anti Africanism’ which manifested in systemic sociopolitical infringement, not limited to the right to free and fair elections; which the Jagans had sought to shut down since the 1950’s, when Dr. Rita Hinden of the Waddington Commission noted, with due concern, that Jagan’s PPP “interpreted democracy as what I can only describe as one-party rule 2162”, even as they sought to lower the voting age because “his people were breeding faster”.
The passage of time and its tumultuous politics perfected the platform’s methods of ‘Anti African Tendency’, mainstreaming it into its operating systems to establish the tribalism that would create a dominant Party that could prop up its government of totalitarian dictatorship.
It is this backdrop that amplifies the state of politics in Guyana and because its not novel we expect the Opposition to have been well aware of it.
The strategy would be to use the Party for the purpose for which it is intended… a machine established to win elections which, therefore, would premise and calibrate its operation on winning elections. And where winning is not outright, gains should be significant enough to make negotiating an element of administration.
Hinting at not running does not only hint at a lack of preparation for robust competition but it sends the message to voters that going to the polls is optional; not the privilege of participating in the electoral outcome or exercising the mandate of democracy.
It questions the Party’s purpose, its ideology and its benefits to those who vote for it.
Amongst the ailments that plague an ambivalent contender is intra party conflict. That is currently and embarrassingly on public display.
And we’ll say again, we stand with every call for a clean voters list but to reduce that down to not voting is counterproductive to protest and securing voter list cures, that are critical to the preservation of democracy.
As far as boycotts go, the rule of thumb is ‘threaten but participate, complain but engage’. It’s the kind of rationale that shows sensible contemplation…and appeal that reaches beyond Party members, voters looking for a less tribal alternative.
To undo, by unilateral decree, what should be normalcy- the act of casting the vote – for some demonstration that is more self massaging than meaningful – only benefits the ruling Party that will vote in your absence and occupy more political and administrative space.
Their goal is to return to power and with a mandate which your non votes would give them.
We’ve long been proponents of the type of political engagement that validates political democracy through the coexistence of the two arms of government… the ruling Party and its Opposition.
Typically, an Opposition keeps its supporters abreast of its engagements with the communities that its responsibility, as 50% of governance, would demand that it engages.
It would have been good to hear of engagement- with structured frequency– with the members of the Foreign Community – Eastern, Western, Latin American, European, ALL– International Republican Institute not excluded.
We’re thinking that the Opposition understands that this Community serves all of Guyana and not just the ruling Party; which would have required their establishment of a relationship to discuss how Community contributions, in coin and kind, would benefit the nation, from the Opposition’s perspective.
Being the arm of grievance more than governance is a show of unpreparedness to lead and an unattractive political characteristic for overall engagement.
None of the Parties has ever operated in a democratic political environment.
So what could be tactically wrong to disclaim that steep racism and ethnic division is the nature of society, step away from the obstacles that impede the transition to democracy, move towards channels of productive activity if the strategy is to become a viable political vehicle
…especially if you’re the political underdog that has run out of political road, nationally and internationally?
Declaring some kind of reverse victory because you didn’t lose as much as the winners had anticipated is a shameless fallacy that should not be sold to voters…especially when there is a net loss and in areas that were traditional wins.
He’s not “all we have”, per the refrain.
If he is then we should stop accusing the leading Party of its atrocities because there is no functional Opposition representation to provide the necessary backstop.
Tongue lashing, rejecting on reflex and holding out for victory you don’t have the power to bring about is the old school recipe that has assured failure.
And if the overall consensus is that the Opposition is doing all that it could and the ruling Party is thwarting its efforts then just go home and leave the country to be a one Party State.
We expect some unrighteous indignation… but moving right along.
The disruptive collision between economic growth from a burgeoning oil economy and the politics of exclusion of several demographics because of the unilateral negotiations of the country’s wealth distribution by the ruling Party, undermines institutional integrity.
We maintain that the problem is not all on the side of the ruling Party.
There is still a Constitution that demands a functional Opposition.
There are still duties enshrined in the Constitutional establishment of the Opposition.
Being the arm of Government that matches proposed action against legality and opportunity benefits for all citizens is a critical element of its existence.
Leveraging the relationship the Opposition would have established with the country’s diplomatic community to show how contrary to democracy the single party decision making is, would be where the Opposition should start by presenting it as a concern rather than complaint.
Two years in and the Opposition remains chronically weak and retroactive.
And it’s cold comfort that its Leader would call his Party’s loss a win.
Commentary has romanticized its Leader in political superlatives; none of which have manifested in making the Party a viable arm of Government.
Not to demand this, at this point, is to underwrite the acceptance of One Party State rule and the end of representative democracy …still driven by that ‘Anti African Tendency’.