Kaieteur News – Are you telling the world that a coalition of parties won the government and soon after mediocrity, incompetence, power-play and failures began to emerge and all of these are put down to the leadership of one man in the coalition – the prime minister or the president?
This never happened in the real world and will never take place in the brutal, self-serving world of politicians. The PNC would not have reclaimed the five seats it lost in the 2006 election if the PNC was not seen as a changing party that had, as its partner, the WPA.
The PNC would not have won the government in 2021 if it had run as the PNC and not under the banner of APNU. The PNC would not have regained elected office it lost in 1992 if Indians did not vote for the AFC in a coalition with the PNC. What happened then is that after victory, the coalition stood on a fulcrum on which its engineering soundness did not depend on the PNC alone.
Politicians from the WPA and AFC bolstered by biased academics – Dr. Arif Bulkan – AFC; Dr. Alissa Trotz – WPA; Karen De Souza – WPA; and Dr. Omar Shahabudin McDoom – wrote articles in the newspapers last year that assigned blame for Guyana’s prolonged ethnic and political strife to the intense traditional rivalry between the Indianised PPP and the Africanised PNC.
For my reply to Trotz and Bulkan, see my column of Tuesday July 14, 2020, “In the diaspora, in Plato’s cave.” For my reaction to McDoom, see my column of Wednesday July 22, 2020, “Dr. McDoom’s pair of red underwear has lost its brightness and shape.” For my response to De Souza, see my column of Tuesday July 28, 2020, “Trotz, De Souza and rigging: The imprisoned Freudian mind.”
Both the AFC and WPA speak to people privately in which they lay blame on the loss of power to the style, personality, inflexibility and domineering attitude of President Granger. The AFC has not made its feelings public but the WPA has. It is relevant to quote the WPA, “Granger mismanaged the partnership throughout the coalition’s tenure in office…Granger may want to reflect how his un-fraternal attitude to partners helped to facilitate the ousting of the coalition from office.”
There has been a paradigmatic shift in understanding class, race and politics in Guyana. This occurred after 2015 when the WPA and the AFC acquired state power. Mr. Granger’s totalitarian imprisonment of the government was not an imposition but a process of political and cultural encouragement by both the WPA and the AFC for their own selfish reasons. What follows are brief analytical notes since space would not allow for a polemical elongation.
When the AFC came to power, it was Nigel Hughes, as chairman of the AFC that attempted to implement a dispute mechanism to iron out grievances that would arise in a coalition of disparate elements. In a discussion on the topic, I even suggested names of persons who would head the committee which had to be peopled by non-PNC and non-AFC individuals.
The gang of five in the AFC scuttled Hughes’ efforts. Khemraj Ramjattan at a press conference belittled the need for a compromise committee saying that when AFC and APNU leaders have differences they should talk to each other.
As Hughes and a number of second-tier leaders in the AFC pressured the AFC’s leadership to curtail the hogging of power by the PNC, the AFC held a retreat at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre with a one-item agenda – chopping the monopoly of power wielded by the Ministry of the Presidency. There was an implosion and on that very day, Hughes resigned as secretary.
The AFC was not interested in arresting Granger’s hegemony because it was intoxicated with the power it possessed after defeating the PPP in 2015. The PNC was aware of the AFC’s fear of breaking up the coalition so each day it sought more power to which the AFC could not have been bothered.
Briefly now, the role of the WPA. While the AFC was essentially driven by the temptation of power, the WPA’s role in nurturing Granger’s ambitions was ideological. All the African leaders in the WPA saw the 2015 dispensation as African entitlement. They supported Granger’s role. The two Indians, Rupert Roopnaraine and Moses Bhagwan, had different motives. Roopnaraine was traditionally close to the PNC preserving the loyalty his mother had for Forbes Burnham. Bhagwan was glad that the PPP was defeated and supported the post-2015 outfit because of hatred for the PPP. Granger’s hegemony then was not a play for power. It grew out of the depraved culture of the AFC and WPA.
(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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