Realpolitik versus “mo fyaah-slow fyaah”
The term “realpolitik” originally had a negative connotation. In the 19th century, it meant a type of political attitude based solely on what the policy-maker sees as serving his/her interest to the exclusion of everything else – moral or ideological etc.
After the Second World War, mostly in the post-colonial period, the term underwent a more modern meaning. It can best be described as a situation in which a government, leader or political player finds itself or himself/herself in an advantageous position in relation to its powerful enemy and for all practical purposes need to make demands that will safeguard its, his/her political longevity.
After the death of Desmond Hoyte, Robert Corbin bowed to powerful interest groups who had no further use for the PNC once “mo fyaah – slow fyaah” was extinguished. Corbin failed to understand the intricate contents of realpolitik and the consequences of this limitation were tragic for both the PNC and the vast constituencies that it serves. The PNC may have turned a corner since then, as many believe, with the formation of APNU but the jury is still out on that.
The new kid on the block, AFC, from 2006 to 2011 showed complete naivety of what realpolitik was. Led by the immature politics of a decent but yet misguided politician, Sheila Holder, the AFC came across to the citizens of Georgetown where a substantial amount of voters live, as either being soft or supportive of the Jagdeo regime. This columnist knows for a fact that Gail Teixeira had undue influence on Mrs. Holder.
Both APNU and the AFC have a chance to redeem themselves in the eyes of the Guyanese population as they watch the PPP drown in the vortex of a budget that cannot swim. The PPP wants to open discussion with APNU and AFC on the opposition scissors. Only during the era of “mo fyaah-slo fyaah,” has the opposition been `presented with a more favourable climate of realpolitik.
The PPP wants to pass its budget. It does not want to see NCN die. Mr. Jagdeo will lose countless sleepless nights if his Marriott project sinks off the Kingston jetty.
The PPP wants to save its budget and it will perform two acrobatic performances to preserve it. One is to concede trimming. So NCN will get far less money among other decapitations that the PPP will do. The PPP will also put more resources into what the opposition demands. But this should not be the nature of the engagement.
What APNU and the AFC should do is drop the label of “mo fyaah- slow fyaah” in its budget confrontation with the regime because it may not go down well with certain sections of the society.
The replacement of “mo fyaah-slow fyaah” has to be realpolitik. Let me issue a personal clarification before I continue. This columnist here has no fundamental or political objection to “mo fyaah-slow fyaah” as a strategic methodology invented by Desmond Hoyte.
I argue for its replacement as a political method at the present time because I feel the AFC would not accept any course of action that resembles “mo fyaah-slo fyaah” or even the name itself.
APNU and AFC should throw away their scissors and borrow Rohee’s water cannon vehicles. If he refuses to loan them then take the things. The intention is to clean the dirty stables that are still around. Wash them away completely. The AFC and APNU should use the opportunity of realpolitik to demand real changes in governance. Even though APNU won the two regional seats in Region 10, the AFC is quite popular in Linden.
Both parties have to demand the immediate implementation of more television signals to Linden before any budget negotiations begin.
Both parties have to insist that as an act of urgency the radio application by the two leading media houses, Kaieteur News and Stabroek News, be granted. The AFC is in a tight position. It hosted a seminar on the budget last Sunday at the Pegasus in which it conceded to former Auditor-General, Anand Goolsarran, that all monies existing outside of the Consolidated Fund (as in the Lotto funds, money from NICIL etc) must now be put into the Fund or the AFC vote down the entire budget.
Against this background, it would be wise for both opposition organizations to get into overdrive and organize town hall meetings to hear what their supporters want – the scissors or Rohee’s water cannot vehicles. Both parties stand to lose their own individual existence if they mess up this phenomenal moment that lies in front of them.