Kaieteur News – Referring to the attempts to rig the 2020 elections and the five-month electoral impasse, President Irfaan Ali said that the nation was at a crossroad of its history. But all he could say in relation to this is that those responsible for attempting to thwart democracy would be held accountable.
Not many Guyanese are certain about the nation being at a crossroad when it comes to democracy. The facts do not support the view of the President that the nation was at a democratic crossroad.
There were predictions, even before the elections, that the APNU+AFC, once it got in, it would not surrender political power. It was felt in many circles that the APNU+AFC always had a Plan B should the elections not go in its favour.
APNU leaders were at the PNC/R’s Command Centre on election’s night when the statements of polls began to trickle in. They had to know by daybreak that they had lost the elections. They did not need Mingo to tell them that.
One supporter of the APNU+AFC appeared on social media the morning after the elections. She was teary-eyed and emotional and was saying, “Dem say that the PPP win de elections.” And then she burst into hysterical bawling, which then morphed into a vicious attack on Granger.
She instructed him “If yuh gat to rig it, rig it.” And then she went on a vicious rant threatening violence against the PPP/C supporters and even against its presidential candidate, now President Irfaan Ali.
But the APNU+AFC did not need her to tell it to rig the elections. That plan was most likely already in motion.
It did not succeed because of a combination of both external and internal forces. The PPP/C was not standing for it; the Guyanese people were not standing for it; and the international community, including Caricom, was not going to condone it.
The PPP was not the same PPP as in the past. Under Ali, it had changed. The younger generation of PPP/C leaders, led by Ali, decided that they were not accepting any rigged elections. They exposed what was taking place at the Ashmin’s Headquarters. And because of social media, this was being streamed and otherwise relayed live to the rest of the world and the country. The evidence was unchallengeable.
The new guard in the PPP/C was not going to allow a return to dictatorship. They came out and protested, including blocking roads. But they also came out and defended democracy by guarding the ballot boxes. A number of individuals in civil society, including Bryan Max, who said that he was prepared to defend the country from electoral banditry, even if he had to stand alone, joined them.
That sort of defiance has never deterred the PNC/R. But this time around, even the majority of the APNU+AFC supporters were not interested in trying to steal the elections. An overwhelming majority of the APNU+AFC supporters preferred to win, but to do so fairly and squarely. And so unlike in the past, the APNU+AFC found that they could not muster the support to take to the streets in the massive numbers they had done in the past. And so it resorted to legal challenges to attempt a constitutional putsch.
The international community would have none of it. The representatives of the western nations and the international observers saw with their own eyes the most transparent attempt ever to steal an election. They made it clear that the BINGO numbers were not credible. After the recount established electoral fabrication by GECOM, no less a person than the United States Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo called on Granger to step aside. Any possibility of the pro-PNC military attempting a coup was blocked, when the diplomats met with the high command of the army.
The Guyanese people learnt an important lesson during the five months when it was held to ransom by the would-be-riggers. The lesson was that were it not for this combination of factors, the APNU+AFC would have returned Guyana to the dark ages of political dictatorship and, with it, economic destitution.
President Ali promised on Thursday that the country would hold accountable those responsible for attempting to thwart democracy. If he is serious, he should take immediate steps to institute a commission of inquiry into the elections, for experts to investigate and prosecute electoral fraud but, more importantly, the PPP should sustain its lobby to ensure that the visa bans imposed on those responsible for undermining democracy are never restored.
Those guilty of undermining democracy must never again be able to set foot in the United States. Never ever! Nor must they be allowed to have anything to do with elections in Guyana. Their rightful place is at Sibley Hall.
(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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