July 2016 came and went and maybe not even one Guyanese outside of the APNU circles could recall it was the birth anniversary of the formation called APNU. You tend at first glance to say it was a fictional construct because of the six groups that made up the entity only one had active political space.
At the time, the Working People’s Alliance barely existed. The other parties were virtually one-man things. The PNC was APNU, APNU was the PNC.
You felt it was a caricature at the time it was formed because of the six organisms that made up the outfit only the PNC had biological sustainability. But that was not the true picture of APNU. It was the symbolism it brought that was not only important but priceless, especially the partnership with the PNC and WPA.
People felt that Guyanese could put their differences away and work for the common good. The birth of APNU with the PNC and the WPA coming together brought psychological comfort to African Guyanese who were anguished at the divisions between PNC supporters of Forbes Burnham and African Guyanese who accept Walter Rodney as a national hero. APNU contested the 2011 elections and the five seats the PNC lost under Robert Corbin in 2006 were recaptured.
The story of APNU after May 2015 is a fascinating one. Months after APNU came to power, Tacuma Ogunseye from the WPA published a newspaper letter in which he accused the APNU leadership council of not meeting. That leadership council has met once since May 2015. It is politically unacceptable anywhere in the world for a large, major political party like the PNC to sit around a table with six other parties and five of those six parties do not exist.
It is appalling and repugnant for the PNC to call a leadership council meeting and, outside of about four people from the WPA that will turn up, the rest of the coalition simply does not exist. There are no functioning entities named Justice for All Party, National Front Alliance, Guyana Action Party and National Democratic Alliance. The brutal reality is that there will be no future leadership council meetings and the PNC as the only living organism in the grouping should not call one.
The Guyanese people should accept the realization that APNU is the PNC. And it is the PNC that will determine if it will use the name in the 2020 election or drop it. One suspects that because of the importance of symbolism, the PNC leadership will continue to use the name even after 2020. But here is when the word caricature will not be too harsh a word to use to describe “this thing” named APNU.
So each year, July comes up and there is not mention of APNU’s birth. Last year there was no mention, no celebration, no discussion of the Cummingsburg Accord. It was born on February 14, 2015. February 14 passed by yesterday and there was no full page advertisement lauding the virtues and accomplishments of the Cummingsburg Accord. There was no little get-together to celebrate it at either Congress Place or the AFC head office.
Of course there can be no analogy between the death of APNU and the status of the Cummingsburg Accord. There are two different situations but an infinitesimal similarity does exist with the APNU physiology.
Many in the PNC leadership, and I have heard this said to me and spoken in my presence by top PNC activists, take the position that the 2015 election results proved that the AFC is not a strong electoral party. They point to polling day statistics. In Guyana, after elections, you can find out how many votes you got in each town, village and enclave; GECOM publishes those numbers. This cynical view of the AFC was heightened by the Local Government results where the PPP captured a substantial number of NDCs all over Guyana.
My opinion is that if the AFC did not team up with APNU in 2015, it would have won much more than its seven seats in 2011 and some would have come from both the PPP and APNU. I believe in a three way-race in 2015, the PPP would have returned as a minority government. People in 2015 did not vote for the AFC or APNU; they came out in numbers to vote for a phenomenon called the Coalition. In this sense I would argue that the AFC decision to partner with APNU resulted in the coming to power of the PNC in government. It meant the AFC’s role was larger than the actual votes reflected.
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