Kaieteur News – I didn’t know about something I should have known, though it is my work. I analyse political developments in Guyana yet I did not know the AFC has a Facebook programme named, “AFC on the Move.” I knew that was the title of its television show when it was in its prime. However, I thought with the demise of the AFC that was dead too.
Upon hearing about the show, I wondered ‘out loud’ – moving where? Where is the AFC on the move to and moving in which direction? It could only be moving south along Vlissengen Road to Cemetery Road to rest its body in the Le Repentir graveyard.
By the time we reach 2025 for the next general election, Guyana’s demographic shift would have gone further down the road to youthfulness. The remnants of the AFC, if they are still on the move, will have to move out of Guyana. Voters would not know them or want to know them.
Guyana’s young population has changed the electoral configurations of Guyana forever. The young people of the world are of a different breed from older folks who belonged to a zeitgeist that is also long gone. The new generation is no longer buying the doctrinaire outpourings of their parents and the older generation.
Graphic proof of this is showcased by what happened to Chancellor Merkel in the general election recently. Merkel decided to retire after 16 years as chancellor. You would think her constituency would be a safe one for her party – the Christian Democratic Union (CDU). Merkel held the seat for 30 years. Surely, just her mere symbol would guarantee her designated successor in that constituency a clear victory. This was not to be. Merkel’s opposing party – the Social Democrats – won the seat. The victor is 27-year-old, Anna Kassautzki. She wasn’t even born when Merkel first won the seat in 1990.
Merkel was not defeated because she didn’t run. Her defeat denotes a rejection of her legacy in her own constituency. The person who won Merkel’s constituency is merely 27 years old with no experience in politics.
If you think that the Kassautzki victory has no relevance for Guyana, think again. We are talking about the globe’s young folks and how they see older politicians who belong to the previous generation. The Kassautzki phenomenon should be studied by the PNC which is in the throes of a bruising battle.
If David Granger retains the PNC’s leader position, he will be 81 in the next national contest. Joe Harmon and Richard Van West Charles are in their seventies and Aubrey Norton will be 70 in 2025. Could they inspire young Guyanese who see a future in politics with the PNC?
The answer to that question is not easy because in many electoral battles around the world, older candidates in their late sixties and early seventies have won. There is President Biden at 79 in the US. Former President Lula of Brazil is in his seventies and running again.
In Guyana though, the other political parties consist of very young leaders. The oldest is Mr. Ralph Ramkarran who merely acts as an advisor in his party (ANUG). The party will either be led by Timothy Jonas or Kian Jabour in 2025. Both are young politicians. In 2025, President Ali will still be in his forties.
The age factor and the kind of leader the PNC put forward in 2025 will determine if it can survive to be around in another round in 2030 when most likely the PPP will host a powerful candidate in Anil Nandlall. I believe the disaster of the five-month election drama has completely changed the game for the PNC and it has to recognise this sooner than later.
Forget about the AFC. There is absolutely no way the AFC could survive to 2025 and if it has any remnants, they will be footnotes by the time 2025 comes around. If there wasn’t the five-month-old election fiasco, I don’t think age and the type of leader the PNC chooses would have been so decisive. March 2020 to July 2020 has put formidable obstacles on the roadways the PNC has to travel.
One of the major issues is trust. Even though African Guyanese will vote for the PNC in 2025, the amount of votes it will secure depends on who will be its presidential candidate. The factor of trust will be crucial.
African Guyanese know their party lost the 2020 election; they know their party lied to them. More importantly, they know that the lies were comical and brutal. For example, proof of the election victory is in the Statements of Poll (SOPs). The PNC leaders are still hiding them.
(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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