Ravi was going to a wedding in Berbice. He asked his cousin for a ride in the cousin’s BMW. “Sorry I’m filled up” was the answer. He went to his uncle to pinch a space in his uncle’s SUV. “Sorry, I haven’t got space even for a baby” came his uncle response.” Ravi in desperation headed for the Berbice car park at Stabroek Square.
The only available transport is a packed minibus. He took a seat. After the wedding, Ravi posted on social media that he went the mini-bus route because he wanted to mix with the common folks and stop along the way to see the villages. Ravi lied. The minibus way was forced upon him. This is the identical situation with the AFC’s decision to enter the November local government elections (LGE).
Against this background, it is utterly bewildering why the AFC leadership as a group and in their individual capacities, are making pronouncements that make them look terrible in the eyes of people that they will ask to vote for them. They continue to say that going into the LGE as the AFC is necessary, so as to show the nation that they are a strong party with support. In fact, the word “necessary” was emphasized. But that is not truthful and factual.
That is pure deception. The AFC failed in its negotiations with APNU for a LGE accommodation. The direction was forced upon the AFC. Having admitted that the dialogue for an LGE arrangement broke down, why then tell the nation it is necessary to contest the LGE to prove your strength.
The AFC went into directions that were extremely weird and excessively morbid after it got into power in May 2015. I had promised readers to cite the number of columns I did on the pitfalls of the AFC since it settled into power. They were so many that I stopped counting after I reached eleven. Since the announcement that it will participate in the November LGE, the commentators and letters have been travelling on a broad consensus road – the AFC electoral existence is threatened.
How did the AFC arrive at its present predicament? I need not repeat those columns which have exhausted the subject. But some new notes are in order. What the AFC decided on as a matter of policy is that it would no longer continue as a separate electoral entity. The policy was wrapped in cement – there would be an electoral entity named APNU+AFC. In both local and general elections, there would be a contestant named APNU+AFC.
How that pathway was arrived at is extremely enigmatic. How can a supporter say I like the AFC, I am glad it is a third force, I will vote for it, when the AFC will not advance its ideology, worldview and agenda, as a distinct and separate political party competing for votes within that kind of existence. The AFC has not explained even to its highest body – the national executive – why it shaped its future to become an integral part of election machinery with APNU. I know definitely that there has never been an official analytical explanation by the leadership of the AFC why it chose such an electoral future.
Now that is behind the AFC, it would be more than intriguing to find out from its bigwigs why it felt comfortable with such a change in status. I honestly don’t think that my columns in the past three years on the AFC have left out any dimensions of its biology and physiology, so I doubt whether I will pursue any further analysis.
I honestly believe it will do so poorly in the LGE that the PPP will laugh at it and the PNC will not accept the AFC’s 2020 overtures with any substantial concessions. The war room of the PNC will demand to know what crucial role the AFC will play if the 2020 elections are to be won. There are powerful actors in the PNC who will frenetically argue that if the AFC comes on board in 2020, then it must not be treated even as a small brother, but simply be seen in symbolic terms. Out of that configuration, PNC leaders will say that the best the AFC should be offered is patronage.
My prediction for the relationship in 2020 is one of two things. There will be an APNU+AFC ticket, but with no written covenant as we had with the Cummingsburg Accord. The PNC will argue that there cannot be any guarantees. Alternatively, if the AFC rejects this, it will contest alone and fail.
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