Since the derailing of the March 2 election count process at the Ashmin Building, Hadfield Street, there has been one mantra coming out of the People’s Progressive Party, its recruited gang of small parties and some very overly engaged international observers for transparent, credible elections.
Almost as if they had received some revelation from God himself, these merry folks set out to hang the governing party out to dry with blatant accusations of electoral fraud and irregularities. The PPP itself wasted no time putting its acquired assets to work spewing lies through its wide reaching television station, online news sites and other mediums acquired during their reign. This tyrant of a party who Guyana had just one election earlier washed its hands upon, sought to baptize itself to reborn in a cloak of morality and cleanliness to now champion the cause for transparent and credible elections.
Transparent and credible elections was also be charged by the governing party. There was no time when the A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC) failed to champion the cause for credible elections. In fact, the Coalition’s support for a national recount was rooted in the desire for credible elections and even more so, an opportunity to recheck the entire count process.
It is very satisfying at this point to see real transparency at work. With all the Commission has endured this last three months, it owes it to Guyana and itself to take all necessary steps to deliver transparent, credible elections and ensure that repair is done to its name. And if it hasn’t been said before, it is becoming very clear now that this may very well be the first time that GECOM will need to perhaps give the most in-depth and critical review of general elections ever held in this country.
With that said, and all that has been done since March 2, why would the PPP now object to investigating instances of dead voters, migrated voters, unidentified voters and missing books among other irregularities when this investigation goes to the heart of transparency and credibility.
Although GECOM has clarified that spread sheets have been used in past elections and were even used for other regions in this very period, the PPP insists on invoking a “Mingo, Mingo rigging” theme song. The PPP has based their arguments of electoral fraud on accusations of this GECOM agent using a wrong document and was able to get GECOM to commence a recount process.
We, the Coalition are now saying this recount has proved more than “wrong documents” being used. We found that the dead voted in the 2020 elections, that the foreign based voted, that unidentified persons with no oaths voted, that poll books and OLEs are missing, among other anomalies. Mingo as we say is “chicken feed” to this mess. These issues are real causes for investigation. We are saying some 1,937 numerical irregularities were unearthed so far, thereby affecting 90,707 votes.
The national recount is just over 50 percent complete; there is no telling what more would be found. One thing is for sure however, is that we can now appreciate why the PPP refused the House to House exercise, why they only wanted Region 4 to be recounted and why now, they are threaten to take GECOM to court should they investigate the many irregularities unearthed.
Taking the body responsible for free and fair elections to court for doing its job is laughable.
As GECOM Commissioner Vincent Alexander said, the view that is held by virtue of what’s in the Order that was agreed to by the GECOM Commission is that, “… we are not doing a mere numerical recount; that we in fact are going to have observation beyond the numbers…” Unless it were the PPP Commissioners who misunderstood what it meant to “go beyond the numbers” and failed to take the correct narrative back to Freedom House, one could only understand “beyond the numbers” meaning that the process and its legality would be observed; that the numbers actually came about using the processes GECOM said should be used. In the mind of the Coalition and all right thinking Guyanese, ensuring GECOM’s numbers are acquired based on the regulations set out by the Commission is the key to ensuring free, fair, transparent, credible elections.
The PPP must remember that the Representation of the People Act alone did not allow for the recount being conducted by GECOM, but the very Constitution, by virtue of Article 162 which speaks to the power of GECOM in the registration of electors and the holding of elections. If the PPP agrees that GECOM could conduct a recount without an election petition as the body responsible for elections, they should also agree that GECOM is within its remit to investigate the authenticity of electors who claimed to have voted in the 2020 elections since they are the body responsible for the registration of electors and holding credible elections.
(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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