Some PNC or APNU supporters are of the view that a vote for the AFC is a vote for the PPP, contending that the AFC and the PPP is one and the same entity. Now, I can understand why one can be easily misguided with this perception, given that the AFC is now dominated by former PPP-ites. These former PPP-ites represent the courageous, decent, non-corrupt and righteous-minded of the PPP who could no longer tolerate the disgusting levels of corruption, nepotism, cronyism, incompetence, power drunkenness, wrongdoing and pillaging of the PPP they once served. These were men who fought to change the PPP for the better and were exiled and bulldozed for it. There is no courage left in the PPP. All of its valour is now in the AFC in legendary lions like Nagamootoo.
They are now the lions in the AFC while the sheep bleat in the PPP, a party of sycophants, cronies and yes men. Donald Ramotar’s silence in Jagdeo’s shadows is the latest confirmation of this tragedy. I have stated that the AFC with men like Nagamootoo has the better, brighter, cleaner, younger, more decent and accountable slate of PPP leaders than the PPP itself. The PPP supporters intimately know this truth. PPP supporters and Indians in particular can actually freely vote for a party other than the PPP for the first time in 20 years knowing that they are voting for the best and most principled group of ex-PPP leaders around who happen to be in the AFC. It would be like voting for the PPP but only a better version of the PPP. PPP supporters know that an AFC dominated by former PPP leaders led by a stalwart like Nagamootoo would never form any alliance with APNU/PNC.
All of these facts and realities have caused some APNU/PNC supporters to claim that the AFC and the PPP ‘ah wan’ and that a vote for the AFC is a vote for the PPP. This thinking clearly misses the fundamental differences between the AFC and the PPP. The AFC is not a corrupt and failed party like the PPP has become. It is clean and lean in its philosophy. By any measure, the AFC personnel are bright, non-corrupt, competent, skilled and believe in fairness, justice, economic development and equality. The AFC’s former PPP leaders outmatch the PPP’s current leaders on these measures by a country mile. The AFC has managed to pull the cream of the crop of the PPP’s young thinkers and achievers and its most independent-minded and fearless.
The PPP-ites in the AFC’s leadership left the PPP because they were disgusted and appalled with the corruption and skulduggery in the PPP and were bulldozed for speaking out against it and for speaking up for the small man, the working class people and the poor and the powerless. They were harassed but of their own party because they wanted justice, fairness, integrity, equality and internal democracy within the PPP. The AFC is filled with those who had no allegiance to any political party before joining the AFC. The AFC has no record of destroying this country. The PPP has a proven 19 year record of destruction and the PNC has a 28-year record of ignominy. To claim that the AFC and the PPP is one and the same is to claim that democracy and dictatorship is the same and that robbing the poor and the powerless to give to the rich and powerful is indistinguishable and that filling one’s pocket from the taxes paid by the working class is the same as service to the nation.
It is not only simplistic but foolish to just look at the leadership of two parties and claim that they are the same because of their ethnic makeup. The AFC’s dominant Indian leadership cannot be utilized by some APNU/PNC supporters to claim that the AFC and the PPP are one and the same and that a vote for the AFC is a vote for the PPP. It is not just hare-brained but also engaging in a simplistic racial binary connection. Such a shallow argument brings an unrelenting focus on the race of the individual or of the group rather than to explore and delve into the ethics, values, beliefs, issues and motivations of the individual or the group.
One has to be utterly ignorant and baldly heinous to associate as one and the same, a group of fearless, uncorrupt, valiant, decent-minded, brilliant, highly qualified, moralistic, fair-minded and grounded individuals with a burning zeal of patriotism and a quest for multiracial unity and the erasure of racialized fear from our society in the AFC, with another group of corrupt, disparaging, disrespectful, power-drunk, incompetent and immoral individuals in the PPP who treat wrongdoing as virtue and this nation as personal property.
We know that the former PPP leaders in the AFC will fix Guyana because they wanted to fix the PPP when they were members, knowing that fixing the PPP was necessary to fixing Guyana. They have everything to prove. The current PPP leaders will fix up the rich and the powerful and their friends and cronies while the ordinary Guyanese is crippled by crime, poverty, cost of living, joblessness and corruption. APNU/PNC supporters with this nonsensical thinking of equating the AFC to the PPP must know that many PPP supporters will vote for the AFC not because of Nagamootoo or Ramjattan or Singh or Bissessar but because they want genuine change, they want hope, they want jobs and they want a society free of crime and despair and they recognize the AFC’s ability to deliver it. APNU/PNC supporters must know that APNU/PNC cannot ever win a free and fair election again in Guyana.
No matter how you twist it, turn it, put lipstick on it and dress it up, it cannot and will not happen. That on November 29, the AFC, not APNU/PNC, will hold the balance of power whether APNU/PNC supporters vote for it or not. That PPP voters will decide the chance for a future of hope in this country on November 28, not APNU/PNC traditional supporters. That if this mindset that the AFC and the PPP are one becomes a persistent and damaging one, APNU/PNC will be left out completely in the cold. These are the facts. They are good for PPP supporters and better for the AFC. They aren’t pretty for those APNU/PNC supporters who hold onto this false notion that they cannot vote for the AFC because a vote for the AFC is a vote for the PPP.
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I have been doing columns since 1988. I have been a major columnist with the Catholic Standard, Stabroek News, Kaieteur... more