Is the AFC permanently trapped in the Coalition?
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ONE interesting character¬istic of Coalition politics is that it is much easier to get in than to get out.

The reason is that the entrance, a courting process, pales in comparison to when in the Coalition because much is invested in trust, networking, collaboration, compromise, creditability, and so on and so forth. It is therefore difficult to simply step out of a Coalition when things are not going in the desired direction for a spe¬cific party. The politics of Coalition, at the foundational level, is simply a marriage that starts out with courtship discussions, develops into partnerships, promises and plans, and blooms. When a Coalition loses power, the seams and cracks are more exposed, leading to the final stage of breaking up. These trends were noticeable be¬tween 2015 and 2020 in the APNU+AFC Government. The only stage missing in the political marriage of the Coa¬lition is the outright breakup, and hence, the reason for my aforementioned title.

To illustrate, the PNC and the AFC plus a slew of small and insignificant po¬litical backwater clubs, not parties, came together and announced their political marriage. There was more to this event than met the eye in that the declaration was masquerading a courtship laced with private insecurity but full of public euphoria. We heard statements such as we are a rainbow party. We represent all ethnicities in Guyana. We will work together which will make us stronger as leaders. When in government we witnessed the blooming aspects of the good life for the parochial amour-propre of those who were at the wheels of power. We also observed a lack of clear objectives coupled with power struggles as power was centred on a gang of eight reactionaries. The con¬sequences were that power was unevenly distributed and compromised, leading to low morale, resentment, internal squabbling, hidden sectionalism and a slow de¬cision-making process. Uni¬fying principles based on trust were limited. Progress was sluggish. The Coalition was not people-centred. Sec¬tional chieftains rather than statesmen/women reigned supreme. The rose in the po¬litical marriage was fading, heading towards divorce but held on by fake promises.

After the APN+AFC Coalition was booted out of power in August 2020, much was said of how the AFC caused the Coalition to lose the general election. The AFC failed to bring the necessary votes for the Co¬alition to hold on to power. Thus, the general consensus was that the AFC was “dead meat”, an insignificant party making a lot of noise. Its main role, after March 2020, of supporting the rigging fiasco failed, plunging that party into further insignifi-cance. I believe that it would take two general elections to dismiss the AFC as dead meat because we will have a better sense of its perfor¬mance at the upcoming local elections in attracting votes. The latter is its main role; ev-erything else is secondary to it. Currently, we do not have numbers to play around with, and this might be the caveat we will continue to face since there is no indication that the AFC would participate as a single entity in local elec¬tions. That possibility will open a can of worms.

Furthermore, at this stage, the PNC needs the AFC, as opposed to the other way around, going into the August 2025 general elections even for decorative purposes. The PNC will not win a general election by itself. It would need, therefore, another part¬ner to cover up the stains of rigging. Implicitly then, if the AFC chooses to leave the Coalition, the PNC would encourage the AFC to stick with the above programme. Is the AFC then trapped in the cobweb of the Coalition because of previous commit¬ments cum a fixity of pur¬pose? I predict that the Coa¬lition will break up soon after the 2025 general election. If not, we will have a classic fake political marriage in Guyana with its members wallowing and waltzing in the opposition.

If I am allowed to ap¬ply the sociological saying “seeing the strange in the fa¬miliar” then the Coalition’s antics is a prime sample. In any political marriage, one would expect the various political parties to spend more time together, pri¬vately and publicly, such as holding regular meetings, answering to the press, and its supporters, etc. Appear¬ing publicly together and presenting a wide repertoire of suggestions and strategies to advance ideas on how leadership would pan out are some hallmarks of political parties. The thought that the favourability ratings are pro¬gressing to an all-time low and collateral damage rising does not seem to bother these political mandarins of the APNU+AFC. Many of them have chosen separate ways to vent their views on social media without an element of concern that they are exacerbating sectarian tensions in an already frag¬ile state, threatening future unity.

They are feeding on the vulnerability of their sup¬porters, who are trapped doubly by propaganda and the pandemic.

Even if these individuals “succeeded” in their fused and colluded mission, they will have to confront who they are, or what they have done; politics is noted for cir¬cular tendencies. May I ask: is this the way people who once had a taste of power habituate themselves when trapped in a Coalition cell? What is more is that the AFC does not have anywhere else to go, not even an exit from the Coalition. It will settle for trapped soft power in the Coalition.

Regrettably, the AFC is in the Coalition not for justice or development for Guyana, but for predatory material gains (lomarsh. roopnarine@jsums.edu).

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