Kaieteur News – It was the leading light of the 1918 Russian revolution, Vladimir Lenin, who observed that power is more easily acquired than maintained. This saying does not apply to Dr. Irfaan Ali, the UWI graduate who became Guyana’s 9th executive president.
Today is one year since he secured the presidency. What type of pathways has he walked since then and how has power been maintained for the 365 days? To understand the survival of the Ali presidency, it is best to do the analysis within the comparative context. Space constraint will not allow for a detailed assessment.
Be that as it may, three presidents had a rough landing in the early stages in their presidency. When one makes the comparison, Ali’s acquisition of power was far more difficult than the other two and his survival within the first year was far more onerous and exhaustive than his two predecessors.
With Desmond Hoyte, he faced two daunting tasks. One was how to revive an economy that was not static but literally moribund. The other was how to bypass those in the party and state who were conditioned to accept the ideology and methodology of Forbes Burnham that they lived with for over 15 years.
In the first situation, there were inviting circumstances. The western world, the opposition parties, the business class and other sectors of the Guyanese society supported Hoyte’s de-Burnhamisation. It was the second road – dissolving the Burnhamite ramparts in the ruling party – that was frightening. Hoyte succeeded because those ramparts did not have any constituency in the entire country to strengthen their conspiratorial manoeuvres.
With Bharrat Jagdeo, the environment was pregnant with threats and instabilities. The PNC had decided that elections would perennially favour the PPP and had definitively concluded that the methodology of “mo fyaah/slo fyaah” would be used to topple Jagdeo. It didn’t because mo fyaah/slo fyaah was not energised by the holistic passions of African Guyanese, but by PNC leaders manipulating the lumpen proletariat of south Georgetown.
The failure of mo fyaah/slo fyaah led to the Buxton operation. Convinced that street protest would not result in Jagdeo’s overthrow or shared government, anti-PPP forces resorted to the Buxton operation. That too failed because it only devastated parts of Region Four while Regions One, Two, Three, Five, Six, Seven, Eight, Nine and 10 were not affected. In those Regions the people and the economy carried on as normal.
Ali’s rise to power was far more troubling than years gone by. His initiation into office must be seen against the backdrop of the near collapse of Guyana’s society and economy, a process that lasted 17 months beginning with the December 2018 no-confidence vote (NCV) and five months of frenetic, cruel, crude, sickening and debased expressions of election rigging.
As the months dragged on from December 2018 with a ruling party not prepared to recognise the NCV, the society was literally in limbo. But it was the five months of moral collapse of Guyana that made the possibility of an Ali presidency remote. Here now is the crucial distinction between the seminal problem Ali faced as compared to Hoyte and Jagdeo.
The totality of Guyana was not undermined by the maneuverability of the detractors of Hoyte and Jagdeo. The attempts to deny Ali the presidency almost brought about the collapse of the society. Guyana was not only split along racial and party lines but the spirit of the society, the collective soul of the society was lacerated.
Along with local stakeholders who out rightly rejected efforts at election rigging, the crucial intervention of CARICOM and the ABC/EU countries made an Ali presidency a reality.
Opposition forces and anti-PPP sections of Guyana joined forces to destabilise Ali’s presidency, the turning point of which was the mayhem created by PNC leaders in Region Five last September. I would say that was the first attempt to remove the Ali presidency. His one year has to be seen within the context of these nightmares unleashed by the opposition and certain civil society actors.
His survival was made possible by his lack of arrogance, his people’s approach to politics and his penchant of trying to put out bush fires by his direct presence. His first year has seen a little bit of the Cheddi Jagan touch where the ordinary Guyanese feel that they do not have a big business government that neglects them.
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.)
Sep 23, 2021South American Junior C/Ship set for October 16 & 17 Kaieteur News – Athletics Guyana (AG) has confirmed that the National Youth & Junior Championship will run off as scheduled this...
By Sir Ronald Sanders The public health and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has rightly focused the attention and... more
Freedom of speech is our core value at Kaieteur News. If the letter/e-mail you sent was not published, and you believe that its contents were not libellous, let us know, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]