Soon after it became apparent, following the No-Confidence Vote (NCV) in December 2018, that Guyana was headed to the polls, albeit not on the timeline demanded by the architects and supporters of the NCV, the PPP/C began to intensify its well-practised and hitherto very successful formula for reclaiming and holding on to political power, one which is largely two-pronged.
The first, or institutional, strategy targets the elections machinery and is aimed at dominating the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) by influencing senior appointments and policy-making. The second strategy is based on a comprehensive and diversionary public relations and political influence campaign which seeks to discredit and isolate, domestically and internationally, its main adversary by alleging widespread electoral malpractice (with or without international support) while pursuing the exact objectives clandestinely.
The first strategy was put in motion from the moment the PPP/C demitted office in 2015 when it ruthlessly hounded the Chairman of GECOM (who had overseen PPP/C victories in 2 previous elections) out of office and advanced nominees for his replacement which the President was compelled to reject repeatedly. The current Chairperson, who was the consensus nominee of both President and Opposition Leader, has consistently been vilified and threatened for her independence as have the leaders of the GECOM Secretariat as well as government-nominated Commissioners. The PPP/C, however, secured one obvious, and very significant, victory when it succeeded in frustrating every attempt to cleanse the Official List of Electors.
Long before a date for elections had been announced, former President Ramotar had declared that “without doubt, the PNC has put its rigging machinery in full swing” and Freddie Kissoon was trumpeting that he saw a “tampered election coming up” based on his diagnosis of APNU+AFC possessing “a temperament of not wanting to give up power” evidenced by its refusal to resign following the passage of the NCV. He also claimed, in May 2019, to “believe the upcoming poll in Guyana will be tampered with by APNU+AFC” and that he foresaw “an improper general election where the West gets involved to bring about an APNU+AFC majority or APNU+AFC by itself rigs the poll”. Now a year later, Kissoon admits that his speculative analysis then has proven to be completely inaccurate and that he now sees “that the PPP rigged the election through the instrumentality of the American firm, Mercury and the Russians”. He also details “the great fraud that the PPP saturated the March 2020 elections with” and this is supported by the avalanche of daily revelations of irregularities and illegalities, which suggest an obvious and indisputable conspiracy to steal an election and to overthrow the will of the people.
The 2018 NCV was an initial attempt at the same objective, which brought no negative consequences and, perhaps, the support it received emboldened the PPP/C, and the minor parties which continue to support it, to embark on this worst form of political adventurism which demand the most serious consequences.
Editor’s Note. Mr. Kissoon’s column of Tuesday, May 19 – referred to by Mr. Dolphin – was satirical.
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