In analyzing why the APNU+AFC lost the 2020 election, the methodology used will be important because a wrong perspective will yield vast misconceptions. The argument here cannot be compressed into a newspaper column so what follows are brief notes.
Given the fascistization process under the Jagdeoite hegemony, it was virtually impossible for the APNU+AFC to have lost the 2020 poll. Fascitization implies extensive autocracy and state abuse. How do you explain then a loss by three seats and almost 17, 000 votes by APNU+AFC?
I refer to the methodology above. My paradigm uses the bifurcation of governance from 2015-2019 into the PNC performance and AFC output. It would be a flawed analysis if you take the perspective of dissecting the general power output of APNU+AFC as a unit.
First, APNU+AFC could not have won the 2020 poll because the AFC literally destroyed Guyana’s faith in the post 2015 dispensation. Trotman and Ramjattan invoked memories of the magical twins in the fifties – Burnham and Jagan. The colonial subjects of British Guiana saw these two charismatic and emotionally driven fighters as people who would bring the ‘whiteman rule’ to an end.
In 2010, Guyanese wanted a change. Indians felt that whereas Walter Rodney could have been trusted as a Blackman, they could also trust Trotman. Indians felt that Ramjattan was a better leader than any the PPP had. In Linden, Black people rooted for the AFC. Among Black Guyanese, the AFC was an alternative to the PNC even if Granger was a fresh face.
The AFC came to power and Guyanese found out that the AFC leadership was not only devoid of democratic instincts but wanted power for power sake. In office, there weren’t even an infinitesimal link between the pre 2011 AFC and the post 2015 AFC. The honeymoon with the Guyanese people ended in disaster. The PPP, with a fox-like Jagdeo at its helm, knew that the demise of the post 2015 AFC was a goldmine for the PPP. The 2020 election results proved that.
In analyzing the horror show the AFC turned out to be, the historical record should be nice to Nigel Hughes. Hughes is essentially a Rodneyite influenced by the politics of the seventies and the role of his Jesuit teachers at St Stanislaus. One of the strong Rodneyite instincts of Hughes was on display when he argued that central powers should leave the 2016 local election to local players. Against this background, he supported an alternative to APNU+AFC in Bartica. Hughes saw the power intoxication and the tsunamic mis-directions of the AFC after 2015 and took his exit.
The PNC was not as Draculean as the AFC, reason being they were longer around and were not fascinated by the trapping of ministerial power. But the PNC made two fatal mistakes that cost them the 2020 election. One was David Granger. Guyanese wanted a top-notch thinker and a visionary, democratic leader to take them into the future. They thought Granger fitted the bill. He never did and never will.
Granger is instinctively an autocratic person. He has no persuasive powers like Burnham and Jagan. He is not an innovative gambler like Desmond Hoyte. He is not a charismatic game changer like Walter Rodney. Unlike West Indian politicians, he doesn’t know how to ground, he does know how to practice grassroot politics. Even Manning in Trinidad could have outdone Granger in these compartments.
Granger has no leadership qualities, lacks vision and has no intellectual cutting-edge. In office, he was a huge disappointment. African Guyanese were turned off. They wanted the PNC in power alright, but they wished they had someone better than Granger. Granger became the PNC leader and president because the PNC’s barrel was empty.
The PNC in 2015 was not the PNC under Burnham and Hoyte. The mediocrity was overwhelming. African Guyanese knew it, but they were tolerant because the PNC spoke for Black people, so they had no alternative. If you examine the SOPs for all areas in Guyana, where PNC has support, the turnout was not massive. In Region 10, the PPP collected 3,000 votes. I suspect a contributory factor to the PNC’s loss was an unacceptable level of abstention by Black people on March 2.
The PNC and AFC had one thing in common from 2015 onwards – they lacked democratic instincts and were not interested in carving a future for Guyana that Guyanese anticipated in 2014 and 2015. Guyanese saw the APNU+AFC in 2019 as shades of difference with the PPP. The chagrin was so powerful that it lacerated the nation’s psyche. The PPP did not deserve to win in 2020, but neither did the APNU+AFC. Let’s accept the election result and move on to inclusive governance.
(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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