Rudderless Leadership
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THE daily deluge of ramblings from the APNU+AFC opposition reveal tragic and farcical elements of a rudderless leadership designed to hoodwink the citizenry. This is rather unfortunate since the citizenry is still reeling from the effects of the failed attempts by unscrupulous individuals to alter the results of the general elections to favour the now opposition.

I am referring to the opposition’s continuous claim of winning the March 2, 2020, general elections; of being pushed out of power by powerful foreign elements; of being a victim of an “atrocious decision of the High Court” on its election petitions, and of not being informed about the process of electoral reform in GECOM, among a dose of highfalutin statements.

To its credit, the opposition has the right to call out the sitting government for misdemeanours and infractions. However, this responsible position must be guided by a balanced approach rather than cherry-picking. To wit, the opposition’s position on the removal of mangrove swamps for development does not square up with the handing over of Guyana’s oil and gas resources to multinational corporations. This position has lampooned the opposition into a state of contradiction. One cannot be a destroyer and protector of the environment at the same time.

This conundrum happens to political parties when they fail to deliver to the people. The confluence of factors — rhetoric and rigmarole — that allowed them to survive in power will continue when out of power. A vicious rather than a virtuous cycle of grasping for any “manufactured” image will predominate, with the hope of returning to the reins of power. This is not a product of good thinking but a false sense of expectation, lurching the opposition into a state of anomie.

The dénouement of the APNU+AFC leadership, through contrivances, has become a pappy show engendering a situation in which the mere practise of checks and balances goes practically unchecked. The APNU+AFC opposition has become, unfortunately, a loose cannon, much to the chagrin of its own rank and file, not to mention its supporters. Invocation and motivation to return to power is heading in the opposite direction for the opposition, pushed back by its own infelicities. If good governance did not happen when governing, why should we expect any different when in the opposition? This is the exact position in which the opposition finds itself , notably, locked in a labyrinth of destructive tendencies.

Moreover, the opposition believes that the citizenry does not have a full understanding of its concealed weaknesses. This belief explains why the opposition has been falsely enriching itself by spurting reckless statements to distract attention from its ineptitude of sound oppositional leadership. The pathway towards an effective opposition, even in elementary forms, is contingent upon being well-informed and well-prepared when meeting the press and public.

This is a troubled area for the opposition, which is most recognisable when the opposition comes out of its cobwebbed world appearing in public, on TV, on social media, and in zoom. Some of their leaders would like us to believe that they are leading some charge, but on the contrary, they appear like mad bulls on the loose. Wild and unsubstantiated statements are common occurrences. We witnessed some of this behaviour when the opposition was in power, but it has now become full-blown.

Arguably, the opposition has woken up from a comatose state. This is great for politics because whenever the top brass speaks, they provide us with the opportunity to analyse and compare them.

The above analyses of the opposition are just parts of a broader challenge within the PNC, since the AFC has become an appendage to the opposition. The PNC has rarely relied on democratic elements to enter the realm of leadership. The 20 years of dictatorship by Forbes Burnham denied the PNC the experience to develop according to the basic expectations of fair governance.

There was never a culture cultivated to respect the will of the electorate, or inclusive governance. The polity of the PNC never felt the free will of most of the citizenry, brought about by its own defunct design. Burnham single-handedly denied them that, although his followers, when given power, grabbed it with eyes wide open.

The tragic side of the opposition is the continuation of Burnhamism. The farce is that everything that occurs when the PNC is out of power is not good for Guyana. These two elements have been fused to form what we know now as a permanently wounded nest, collapsing under the weight of a rudderless leadership (lomarsh.roopnarine@jsums.edu).

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