You need 5000 votes to get a parliamentary seat in the national election. Neither of the two leviathans (PPP, PNC) would have a good showing in the national count if they lose 5000 ballots to other parties.
For the purpose of this commentary, we will look at the so-called haemorrhage of votes from the PNC if the AFC and WPA decide to contest the election on their own. Both parties have made silicone commitment to the PNC to continue the marriage but in politics the unthinkable happens.
Theoretically, can the haemorrhage occur? Or it is a case of the haemorrhaging of wasted imagination in both the AFC and WPA?
Let us dispense with the WPA first. It says it will demand that cash transfer from oil revenue be put in the APNU+AFC manifesto. This will not happen. There is no one in the PNC leadership, even in the women and youth arm, that has endorsed the proposal.
What will the WPA do? First, it has no infrastructural fulcrums (money, leaders, members, other resources) to contest an election on its own. If by some magic, it did, it cannot get even a hundred votes. From where?
Sentiments for the WPA come essentially from aging African villagers who remember Eusi Kwayana and Walter Rodney. The younger Africans will not leave the PNC and vote for WPA. The PPP will get more young African votes than the WPA in any part of this country.
In the next election, the PNC will keep the WPA alive by continuing with its paper presence in APNU. Now and after the election, the PNC leadership will not give the WPA any attention. The WPA needs APNU, not the other way around.
The AFC will not get the prime ministerial slot in the next election. That is a done deal in the PNC. If the AFC leaves the coalition, will the PNC lose thousands of votes? The answer is a gargantuan no. Why not? In electoral politics, politicians have enclaves that fanatically embrace them. Boris Johnson is quite popular in certain places in the UK where people will never vote for the Labour Party. In certain “red-neck” states in America, Trump is king.
Which part in Guyana is the AFC king? Where are the enclaves in Guyana in which people love the AFC and will vote for them in the thousands? Guyana has ten demographic regions. In which of the ten, can the AFC claim electoral strength? The answer is none? Is that a fact? The GECOM polling station report for every building that housed a place of poll in the whole of Guyana showed the shocking revelation that the AFC lost in almost all of the areas it received embrace in 2011.
The two princes in the AFC – Nagamootoo and Ramjattan – lost in their home village in the local government polls of 2016 and 2018 and the general contest in 2015. If people cannot vote for their own, home grown boys, why would other villagers that do know them that much give them their ballots?
The AFC’s Ministry of Public Infrastructure opposed the increase in the Berbice Bridge toll. In every NDC the AFC contested in Regions 5 and 6 in the 2018 local government election, it failed to win even one NDC. The same ministry put lights in Wakenaam and Leguan, and reconstructed the Leguan stelling, yet the AFC was so afraid of being rejected, it did not contest any NDC in those two islands.
An unidentified AFC leader, in reference to AFC’s demand that the AFC must have the PM slot because that it a seminal requirement in the Cummingsburg Accord, is quoted in the Stabroek News as saying the PNC could not have won without the AFC in 2015, and will not win in 2020 without the AFC.
That leader left out the word, “barely.” The APNU+AFC Coalition barely won the 2015 poll and won Region 8 by a single ballot. If those words are uttered by any AFC leader during the renegotiation of the Cummingsburg Accord in a closed room in Congress Place, a lot of nasty expletives, coming from some aggressive PNC leaders, would fill up the atmosphere.
The AFC’s bargaining capacity is dead. Nagamootoo and Ramjattan live in mortal fear of the AFC contesting the election on its own and being rejected. The thought of such an embarrassment is a nightmare for these two men, because they know and fear that the PPP will never let them live it down. The PNC leadership knows that the AFC cannot bring anything to the table, so they will tell their leaders to shut up.
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper)
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