In September 1812, Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte’s triumphant but bloodied army entered Moscow having defeated the Russian forces at the battles of Smolensk and Borodino.
But the city was deserted and Napoleon waited a whole month expecting Tsar Alexander – as the defeated party – to sign a peace agreement as was the convention at the time. The Tsar never appeared.
With winter approaching, Napoleon and his army marched home over scorched earth, which provided no food for his troops or horses, amid bitterly cold weather, all the while being harried by Cossacks and the Russian peasantry. When they finally reached Poland, his 600,000 strong “Grande Armee” – the largest ever assembled – had been reduced to 27,000 soldiers. It was the beginning of the end for Napoleon who within two years was exiled to the island of Elba, his empire in tatters.
Why the history lesson? Let’s just say Bharrat Jagdeo’s victory on December 21 was his Moscow moment. He mistakenly, naively thought that the government having lost the no confidence motion would play by the conventions and meekly submit to elections within 90 days. Instead, it has been Jagdeo who has been in full retreat, enduring endless skirmishes in the courts and most recently losing the key battle within GECOM over the house-to-house registration and the timing of elections.
So as of today, nine months after that triumph, no election date has been announced and Jagdeo and his clique within the PPP/C march in the rain, weak and outflanked by a President who has played a patient long game, even as he was fighting cancer.
Just like Napoleon, Jagdeo will have learnt a hard lesson in overreach. Sadly, it is the people of Guyana who have had to endure his fateful decision to bring that motion which many view has been the most destabilising act in Guyana’s recent memory.
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