Kaieteur News – There isn’t one past or present WPA mandarin from 1974 when Rodney was refused a UG appointment by the demonic autocracy of Forbes Burnham (really, how could David Granger and Vincent Alexander see this dictator as a Guyanese hero?) to April 2021 that have penned a reflection on the March 2020 rigged election.
Surely, even a few paragraphs depicting the two sides of the coin – rigged election means denial of the right to have your vote counted – would have been appreciated by the burdened people of Guyana. Two great WPA figures are not alive – Walter Rodney and Andaiye – and there is the curious, tantalising question of what or how they would have shaped their attitude to the March 2020 rigged election.
I know both individuals. I think I am familiar with their philosophical minds, their epistemological adumbrations and deconstruction methodologies. Andaiye remains, as of April 2021, the only WPA person who lived under the APNU+AFC government and publicly voiced her disagreement with its politics. But she was cautious. She never wrote about her feelings but gave me permission to quote her as saying she didn’t want anything to do with what the WPA had become as part of the government.
She was a great activist. I think the organisers (people like Dr. Alissa Trotz, Karen De Sousa, and Joyceyn Dow, the main organisers of the day of appreciation when she died) hurt her legacy at how they arranged the event. It was a disgusting show of middle class elitism and racial one-sidedness.
There was not one featured presentation from an East Indian while the daughters of Forbes Burnham and Burnham’s protégé, Rashleigh Jackson, took centre stage. Trotz, De Souza and Dow couldn’t find a teacher, labourer, sugar worker to a give a brief eulogy of Andaiye? Dow in her presentation told the audience that in the final moments on her hospital bed, Andaiye was mistaking other people for Rupert Roopnaraine shouting; “Look, Rupert, look Rupert!” That was the part of Andaiye I found esoteric. In government, Roopnaraine turned out to be the most power-drunk, arrogant Minister in the history of this country, a story that people like Trotz and David Hinds witnessed first-hand but refuse to tell the Guyanese people.
Trotz, De Souza and Dow also selected Tacuma Ogunseye to speak on behalf of the WPA. She developed a certain kind of dislike for the politics of Tacuma Ogunseye over his attitude to the Buxton mayhem as explained by Moses Bhagwan in a letter in the newspapers.
What would Andaiye have said about the March election rigging? Andaiye was in court to greet me, among others, when Mark Benschop and I were released on bail after three days in the Brickdam lockup for two minor traffic offences that were in fact trumped by the then government in 2010. So Andaiye knew that the PPP government was oppressive and autocratic. She was not a supporter of the PPP presidencies of Bharrat Jagdeo and Donald Ramotar. Her rejection of the PPP’s bad governance would not have led her to accept rigged election.
Before I describe the shape of her reaction to the election rigging, a little bit more digression; two in fact. People expanded their respect for Andaiye after the Mash 2002 jail-breakers took up residency in Buxton and targeted East Indian people for death.
One of the killers, Andrew Douglas, produced a video in which he represented himself as a freedom fighter for the liberation of African Guyanese. Andaiye wrote a letter in the newspapers rejecting Douglas’ fight for the liberation of African Guyanese. As an African Guyanese, she intoned, “not in my name.”
The second digression is sensitive and from his response, we will know what character David Hinds has. David told me during the election campaign in 2020, the APNU leadership asked him to be active. He said he sought advice from Andaiye in a four-hour discussion. He said she did not reject his involvement in the campaign but advised him to stay clear from election rigging. I cannot imagine for a fraction of a moment David would deny that like he denied telling me that President Granger got angry with Clive Thomas and raised his voice at him.
So the answer finally. This is how Andaiye would have approached the tampering with the polls. She would have contextualised it in two ways. One would have been her philosophical position that you cannot deny people the right to vote and that was what was happening. Secondly, she would have warned the people that victory does not mean the winner takes call. Space has run out for a discussion on how Walter would have reacted.
(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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