Is there going to be a snap poll this year?
Will there be snap polls this year? No! Here are my reasons. A word on the local government thing before. If the PPP agrees to local government reform legislation, then there will not be a general election before 2016. They will not concede to such restructuring.
If municipals and councils are given autonomy under the reform, then they become independent of central authority. The local PPP chieftains then lose their power of patronage and control over money they can distribute during the campaign of a general election. Go into the NDC office in Lusignan and you will see on the walls of the office PPP election posters still hanging from the 2011 campaign
Afraid of losing more votes in an upcoming general election, the PPP will consider it suicidal to hold municipal polls and see defeat all over the place. What those losses will do is to send a nation-wide signal that the PPP days are over.
I posit, therefore, that there will not be local government elections this year. It is naïve for Guyanese to think that the statement by the ABC countries on the exigency of local elections will deter the PPP. My theory of political behaviour is that over a long period of time, authoritarian regimes lose rationality and become oblivious to their weakness and encroaching reality.
Back to the reasons. First, there are nightmares rocking the collective psyche of the PPP as to the gamble of a snap poll. The content of the pressure cooker is the defeat of 2011. With billions of dollars and six media houses at its disposal the PPP couldn’t win a majority. It must ask itself if it can happen again. The media did not help because PPP supporters do not read the Guyana Times and the Chronicle; few Guyanese do. NCN, and Channels 65 and 69 are not good at influencing people.
Money didn’t work either because like the Obama campaign, nuff dollars were spent. Obama won both the Electoral College and the popular vote. The PPP lost the latter. Not to mention that Jagdeo’s Day of Appreciation did not create an aura for the former president. On the contrary, sugar workers didn’t want to hear his name.
Personnel are a formidable challenge for the PPP’s snap poll. It just hasn’t got a quota of young, bright stars that have charisma, intellectual bite, can talk persuasively and hold their own against their young opponents in APNU and the AFC.
An analyst can hardly point to the definitive factor that caused an organization to lose an election even though some weaknesses were more conspicuous than others. We can point to some definite factors that took away the PPP’s majority in 2011 but other stupidities were important.
For example, why in a country overflowing with young people, a party would want to go into five consecutive elections over a twenty year period with the same Prime Ministerial candidate? That is sickeningly unrealistic.
Equally stupid would be to enter a snap poll with the likes of Texieira, Luncheon, Rohee, Ramotar, Chandarpal, Bibi Shadick etc. The simple truth is that the era of these people has ended. The PPP has to bring fresh faces to the table and they must not have baggage. This is like finding a needle in the Atlantic Ocean. The new faces have some serious baggage like expensive swimming pools and palatial residencies.
Did corruption play a part in the defeat? Yes it did. If there is a 2013 general election it will play a negative role again because the PPP psychologically cannot move against its corrupt officials. Their exposure by the opposition will devastate the PPP again.
So what has the PPP got going for it if it tries another election? Two things. One is to democratize. This is a catch 22. Once the PPP tames its lust for power, the opposition will steal its thunder by claiming that if it wasn’t for opposition vigilance, exposure and confrontation Guyana would not have had democracy after 2012.
The other factor is the race card. This is the PPP’s raison d’etre throughout its post 1955 life and which it exploited with deadly consequences in the sixties. It seems to be accepted by Freedom House as the only game in town. It started as early as December 2011 when Ramotar exclaimed that PPP supporters were physically prevented by opposition people from voting. Read that to mean Africans stopped Indians.
Next came the Chronicle editorial in June 2012 that was more vicious than anything we saw in the sixties. Then it tried to milk the Agricola unrest. Will the race bait work in a snap poll? I doubt it.