Most of us remember the reason for Coalition.
It crafted the near- perfect intersection between getting an ideologically diverse government that would work for the people and the dictatorial incumbent PPP that infamous mostly for its unique corruption and vulgar bigotry.
The terms were amenable.
AFC, the larger of the smaller parties coalescing, agreed to a 60/40 allocation of Parliamentary Seats with an assurance of 12. The PNCR would carry the Presidency and AFC would carry the Prime Minister ship. Both President and Prime Minister portfolios were executive ones with measurable duties to be executed by both heads under the Coalition’s agenda.
Candidate Granger’s interview in which he underscored the formation of the 6 Party Coalition as a launch pad to eliminate winner takes all politics gave many comfort, as did his commitment on to power sharing and founding the Coalition on the basis of the nation’s Constitution.
We will submit that we were taken aback when the President suggested that the Cummingsburg Accord was “on collision” with the Constitution within a month of Coalition victory and were equally as curious when the President took to Chairing the National Assembly in direct contravention of the Accord, shutting out PM Nagamootoo— in spite of his, Nagamootoo’s, charitable efforts to dismiss as insignificant, what was an obvious ravel in the harness of the Accord. Having to say that he was not a “ceremonial Prime Minister” brought doubts on the reason for Coalition.
It’s a cocky kind of quip we hear from politicians who like to say “that’s why we were elected”.
Our civic duty is to remind them that their election is an employment position based on specific terms which, when violated after employment, speaks not only to disrespect for the voter but to the Politician’s integrity.
And the walk back doesn’t really cut it.
Now there’s talk that the Accord may have been void because the date signed by then leader of APNU was February 14th 2014 when the year was 2015 – inadvertently.
Then, there was fear that the crafted tenets of an Accord extracted from competing political ideologies after extensive man hours of forging were being discarded for claims of their Constitutional variance.
And all this, all this, was happening well before the Sunset Clause – just 30 days into a 36 -60 months of agreed existence causing many to question what was the true reason for Coalition.
Maybe god is a Guyanese. The “no weapon formed against” thing is evidence.
In spite of the preceding calamities, the Coalition survived the worst; particularly the Jagdeo induced No Confidence Coup.
Thereafter, it was able to use the strands of what’s left of the shredded Constitution to steer the nation into an election cycle that is consistent with normalcy and with the added bonus of cleaning up the GECOM hatchery of ‘just in case’ Voter ID’s that had spawned since 2008.
So, now that the Political Combination voted most favored moves in to its next election cycle, we’re wonder why President Granger seems so intent on smudging the image of Coalition unity by insisting that he selects the Prime Ministerial candidate, which the Accord, yet to be revised, makes the domain of the Alliance For Change, AFC.
This was the key feature that attracted so many to the reason for the Coalition – an amalgam of political ideologies casting a politics for national benefit, unlike the Party whose 23 year run can be singularly described as mayhem.
And just when there should be celebration that thousands of dead voters are being exhumed from the voter list to ensure that the 2020 General Elections comply with rules, laws and guidelines the Coalition is at its most combustible and the President seems to be enjoying playing with matches.
“I cannot allow people to preempt or usurp my authority to select the best people for the Guyanese…is so strangely reminiscent of language once condemned by then Opposition when used by the PPP …
“I am a prudent and wise leader…is hardly reassurance of that declaration… and let’s remind President Granger that Modesty never speaks of herself…
But let’s make this clear.
This is in no way a lack of support for the Coalition.
Like all Guyanese who longed for a change from dictatorship, we are grateful that the Electorate turned out in May 2015 and voted for a chance at life, for its right to patrimony, for its basic right to a happy, creative and productive life, free from hunger, disease, ignorance and want.
Point here is that elected officials need remember why they’re in office and it is not to showcase their personal virtues.
Prudence and wisdom was the expectation and we need only hear of it if you feel you’ve run out of it.
Guyana is again on the brink of a democratic crisis. The need for State and collective action hasn’t diminished, but the public belief in it has gone.
The upside here is that a large portion of that public belief doesn’t want victim status. They are survivors who want their government to work for them on the shared governing platform on which the Coalition was mounted, with the agreed autonomy given to the parties from which the Presidential and Prime Ministerial picks would be made- PNCR picking the President and AFC the PM -without the “new rules” that have fortuitously been “found”
This election is about something; actually it’s about everything.
It offers Voters the chance to cast their votes, for the first time in a quarter century, without fear of a spare vote waiting to match theirs in the form of an ‘unused ID card’.
And let’s add, for those who like to say Jagdeo Called in Jimmy Carter, for all the observations President Carter made over the years that the PPP was receiving his stamp of approval, the Carter Commission was never able to detect the 35,000 warehoused ID cards…..because they only watched the polls…..
Secondly, this election gives the Voters the chance to select the political Party that they would like to take them into the age of oil …patrimony to which they are entitled in terms of socioeconomic development which was never passed on when the the PPP pawned patrimony to China through Bai Shan Lin, India through Vaitarna, Russia through the bauxite mines and all the small exploratory contracts wantonly issued to small investors in the nation’s gold and diamond fields.
Might we say too, that the politics of division that has survived since 1963, has the best chance of being euthanized come 2020 and beyond, given the number of non traditional Parties that will be vying for part of political leadership.
Stoking hostility and raising rancor remains the single offer of the Party that has the word ‘progressive ‘ in it… having already demonstrated what it does with national revenues and nation building, for as long as many of these voters have been alive.
There’s no doubt that the Coalition has an electoral mountain to climb.
But given the alternative– the red clad cult– there is confidence it can do so in this election of generational and patrimonial significance.
The country cannot afford and should not expect anything less.