Now that we are possibly rested after the labours of our Mashramani gyrations in celebrating our Republic’s 42nd Anniversary, perchance we can spare a thought or two about the Republic itself. After the euphoria of the elections of November 28th (actually after December 2nd when the votes were finally counted and the results announced) most citizens were actually happy that finally, “the politicians have to talk to each other.”
Even supporters of the PPP who had lost their monolithic control over the government, felt that we may have been delivered the best of both worlds.
Today, three months on, doubts are already creeping in. The logjam that typified our political system seems to have gotten worse, if that is possible. At least when one side or the other was in charge on their own, they could go ahead with their programs for the country. Now, we have grounded to a complete standstill. We cannot even have an agreement on monies already spent; what are we to expect when the budget on spending for the rest of the year is tabled in Parliament? The trouble, of course, is that the politicians still insist on talking at each other and not to each other.
The lack of collaboration among the political elite has led to fears that a ‘snap election” might be on the cards. While this is normally within the prerogative of the President, he recently denied that he was contemplating this move and was rather still hopeful that the Opposition would act in a more ‘mature’ fashion in Parliament. But ‘snap elections’ might yet be in our future, since if the budget is not passed, by the workings of the constitution, this can be construed as a vote of no confidence in the Government. In this event, the President would be forced, within three months, to call elections. It would thus appear that we are back to square one.
The Opposition parties appear to be gearing up for elections and this is significant since, as outlined, their stance in the next month can precipitate elections. Their flurry of activities might signal that they will continue to play ‘hardball’ in Parliament over the budget. Over the last weekend, the women’s arm of the PNC – now part of APNU – met to “chart the way forward for a National Congress of Women (NCW).” Traditionally, its core of women activists has proven to be the backbone of the PNC. In tandem with the cadre of ex-army officers that APNU leader David Granger has been able to attract into the PNC’s mobilisation ranks, they will constitute a formidable electoral machinery. Mr. Granger has explicitly affirmed that his coalition is ready for elections.
The smaller parties have also set the ball rolling for their early elections prospects. The AFC had a two-day retreat where the question of “snap elections’ was explicitly addressed. The TUF, out of Parliament after fifty years, pledged to reverse that happenstance. We are sure there are many out there who would plead that our country cannot afford another divisive election, and more importantly, we are squandering a golden opportunity at more inclusive governance.
But we also believe that the point is moot: it is the politicians who will decide whether they will plunge us into new elections and it is for the electorate to then judge as to who was “mature” or “immature.” We have to deal with the “what is” and not with the “what might have been”. What we do know is that our country cannot afford a prolonged period of simply marking time while the politicians jockey for advantage.
And this is so for the simple reason that even while we mark time, the rest of the world is marching on. Even more sadly, revelations of possible malfeasances concerning the national patrimony keep popping up with no one willing to take responsibility for calling a spade a spade. Maybe it is time that the people exercise their democratic power once again to select leaders that will place country ahead of partisan interests.
Feb 17, 2019It was a quiet afternoon at the Georgetown club on yesterday afternoon as quarter-finals for the plates were played. First up were Ian Mekdeci (5) and Lydia Fraser (10). Fraser started off in good...
I didn’t use “reason” in the plural deliberately. There is one fundamental cultural, sociological and psychological... more
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