If the PPP loses the 2020 general elections, it literally means that Jagdeo lost three successive elections and the defeats have to be laid squarely at his feet. With single-handed inflexibility, he shaped all three election campaigns in every dimension, including selection of presidential candidates.
The PPP lost the 2011 majority because as president, Jagdeo had full control of the PPP and dictated the preference of Ramotar over Ralph Ramkarran. The thinking was that given the demographics the PPP will win anyway without Ramkarran.
Jagdeo was not intellectually equipped enough to analyze Guyanese politics in holistic ways. Ramotar did not have the personality to compete with a crusading AFC. The PPP lost.
Again in 2015, Jagdeo was the face of the campaign. Given the lackluster performance and miserable ambience of President Ramotar, the thinking was that the voters who went with the AFC in 2011 will return. But with a self-effacing president in Ramotar, it was a huge risk.
The PPP narrowly lost the 2015 poll and if you had a more dynamic candidate, maybe that crucial difference of 4,500 would have gone to the PPP.
Having lost two elections, the PPP was still in surrender mood to Jagdeo. Though there is nothing wrong with an Irfaan Ali candidacy (what makes him more ineligible that his competitors in other parties?), his competitors for the PPP’s lead role had more going for them, especially Anil Nandlall.
Guyana generally believed that Nandlall would have clinched the spot. This columnist has reliable information that Jagdeo shaped the final moment.
Can the Ali candidacy cause the PPP to lose? I do not believe that. Both Ali and Granger are no exciting prospects. Both major parties should have chosen a more dynamic, charismatic, visionary, intellectually powered leader for the 2020 battle. It is unfair to keep knocking Ali’s suitability in the face of Granger’s miserable record as president.
Granger’s epistemology, his semantics, philosophical outlook and political banalities in 2019 put him in serious contention with Donald Ramotar of Guyana, Bernard St. John of Barbados, George Chambers of Trinidad and George Walter of Antigua for the title of most lackluster head of government the British West Indies has produced.
If Ali fails to resuscitate the PPP’s possession of the presidency in March, it could spell the end of the political career of Jagdeo. The older Jagdeoites (Rohee, Teixeira, Chand, Chandarpal, Sukhai, Luncheon, Ramotar etc) are getting older and will not have the energy to fight Jagdeo’s battle against a plethora of young Turks.
Jagdeo himself will be a few months past 60 when the 2025 contest beings. In a leadership confrontation the young Turks will cite age as a factor. Why should talented young men and women in their forties remain with a leader who lost three successive national elections, is getting on in age, and who had his time as both president and party leader?
This question they will put on the front burner.
The question is; will Jagdeo want to remain as leader of the PPP if Ali loses? It is not wise to answer in the affirmative because humans are such complex things that no phenomenal artificial intelligence will ever replace humans at anytime in the future.
Jagdeo may very well say that from 1999 to 2020 was 21 years of contribution to his country and will settle down to write his autobiography.
It is difficult to see why he would want to stay on. Jagdeo was born in an era where the magic of Cheddi Jagan and his wife dominated Guyana and the PPP.
He was president of a Guyana that will hardly have much in common with a Guyana in 2025 where oil revenues will give the 2025 incumbent a distinct and formidable advantage over the PPP’s candidate. Not to mention that by 2025, the population will keep getting younger and the teenagers at that time will hardly know of him.
The intriguing question is, can he survive competition for his place if the PPP loses in March? He was president in 2011 so that made him the patriarch for the PPP and their point man for the election.
In 2015, he was still powerful and still in control of humongous sums that financed the 2015 campaign. Those colossal sums are thinning with huge amounts spent on three court cases- presidential term limits, GECOM chairman litigation and the no-confidence vote.
Now all the money will be thrown into the 2020 campaign. By the time 2025 comes around, there may be no more cash, no more energy, and no more optimism.
If Ali loses in March, then the 2020 campaign would have been Jagdeo’s last fling.
(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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