Kaieteur News – The APNU+AFC and its constituent parties, as at 2nd March, 2020, do not have the moral authority to demand a system of broad-based participation in national decision-making. The APNU+AFC set out to benefit from rigged elections – an act which constitutes utter contempt and disregard for the democratic rights of the people.
The APNU+AFC’s objective could not have been broad-based participation in government when it sought to benefit from rigged elections two years ago. The Coalition was interested in itself and not in ensuring any inclusive system of government. The APNU+AFC was seeking to unlawfully hold on to power despite the expressed will of the people.
In seeking to benefit from rigged elections, the APNU+AFC was violating the rights of all Guyanese, including its own supporters. It violated the right of the people to a government of their choice. By seeking to benefit from rigged elections, the APNU+AFC was attempting to impose a government onto the people.
Guyanese must therefore reject any hypocritical notion that the APNU+AFC stands for broad-based political participation. Rigging an election would have returned Guyana to the status of a political dictatorship in which the Coalition would have dictated what happened in the country. The concept of broad-based participation is at odds with a dictatorship.
Had the rigging been successful, there would have been dire consequences for the people of Guyana. The country would have been thrown back to the Stone Ages. Their freedoms would have been curtailed and there would have been nothing they could have done about it.
This is not conjecture. Guyana has been down this road before.
It is hypocritical of the APNU+AFC to now be demanding broad-based participation in decision-making. The APNU+AFC spent five years in government and it did not engage in any broad-based participation. In fact, one of the partners of the APNU complained bitterly about not being consulted.
The Opposition is seeking credibility. But this credibility cannot come by pretending that it is serious about inclusive governance. You cannot pretend to be inclusive when there is an attempt to steal an election.
The international community certified the March 2nd elections as free and fair. Yet, the APNU+AFC continues with its discredited narrative that the elections were marred by gross irregularities which distorted the outcome of the polls.
But this was not the original narrative. The original narrative was that the Coalition’s Statements of Poll showed that it won the elections – statements of polls which it has never made public.
The APNU+AFC will contend that it is the legitimate representative of almost half of the voters who cast their ballots in its favour. But this cannot be the sole source of the Coalition’s legitimacy. That legitimacy springs from its participation in a democratic process and respect for that process.
The APNU+AFC violated that process. It ran afoul of the rules and therefore it cannot claim to be the legitimate representative of anyone. The situation is akin to a boxing match in which one boxer consistently hits below the belt forcing the referee to disqualify that contestant.
The APNU+AFC Coalition by attempting to benefit from rigged election has effectively disqualified itself. It therefore cannot lay claim to be the legitimate representative of those who cast their votes in its favour. Legitimacy, in the final analysis, is based on a democratic outcome.
Being disqualified from the democratic process, the APNU+AFC has no role and should have no expectation of participating in any system of inclusive government or broad-based participation in decision-making. It has forfeited that expectation.
The government would be remiss if it facilitates the APNU+AFC in any role in official decision making, save and except those which are mandated by the law and the Constitution.
The government will be courting danger by seeking to engage with the APNU+AFC in any attempt at shared decision-making or governance. A mother does not allow a child molester to babysit her child. A firm does not employ a burglar as its security consultant. A businessman does not entrust the deposit of his earnings to a pickpocket. So why should the government entertain a party which blatantly tried to benefit from rigged elections?
The APNU+AFC crossed the proverbial red line. It went beyond the pale. It violated the trust that is necessary to be a partner in national development. It should be banned from democratic participation and from any role in Guyana’s politics.
The Preamble of the Constitution does indeed point to the need to forge broad-based participation in national decision-making. But it qualifies that this should be based on democratic values, social justice fundamental human rights and the rule of law. None of which will be respected when elections are rigged.
(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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