Together or apart, same difference
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WITH everything pointing to Local Government Elections (LGEs) likely before the end of 2022, Guyanese voters are still very much in the dark as to whether A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) and the Alliance For Change (AFC) will contest together, or apart.

Evading a related public-interest a question from the Guyana Chronicle, AFC Leader Khemraj Ramjattan expressed interest in another topic instead and totally declined to answer the question posed.

The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) has since extended the claims and objections period but Opposition voters are still left in doubt as to whether their parties will again choose to swim apart and drown together.

But from the evidence in black and white on paper, either way, things just don’t look good for either APNU or AFC.

In 2018, the AFC rejected the alliance and contested Local Government Elections alone, securing only a mere four per cent of the total number of votes cast, while its presidential elections coalition partner (APNU) scored 31 per cent. But even together, their sum totals were still not near enough to beat the People’s Progressive Party/Civic securing 61 per cent.

The clear message here is that together or apart, the Opposition doesn’t stand a chance as Guyanese have grown tired of political parties entering— into marriages of electoral convenience only to behave like divorcees legally separated immediately after only family members turned up for the wedding reception.

The AFC, like the post-Rodney Working People’s Alliance (WPA), has learned the hard way – and more than once – that the People’s National Congress (PNC), by or under any other name (PNC/R or APNU) is simply neither a trustworthy partner, nor a reliable alliance leader.

The AFC learned that when the APNU appointed Moses Nagamootoo as Prime Minister over the head and behind the back of the AFC Leader, leading to Nagamootoo going his own separate way, in bed in government with the PNC, leaving the AFC abandoned in isolation like a rejected KFC wing.

The WPA learned a similar lesson with Rupert Roopnaraine accepting a Cabinet post alongside majority members of the party that caused its birth and was always popularly blamed for Walter Rodney’s death.

Over the decades, the PNC – wearing new clothes or not – has moved from holding the world record for accusations of rigging elections, when the maximum party leader’s theme as that “any party that loses an election is right to lose” and there were official “Overseas”, “Postal” and “Proxy” Votes, in addition to those cast in ballot boxes (seen and unseen) to today accusing the PPP/Civic of stealing elections and manufacturing ballots while in opposition and in control of the national elections machinery.

Besides, the PNC and AFC, never mind their talk, aren’t that interested in local government elections for the simple reason that their mutual, real objective is state power – and all the goodies that come with being in charge of the national treasury and deciding who gets what – and who doesn’t.

For the same reasons, local government isn’t even being regarded (by the opposition parties and their leaders) as a sort of mid-term test or measurement of parties’ electoral currency.

But the PPP/C has historically seen and treated local government elections as not just a test of its popularity, but a sure means of gaining access to an important layer of government (and perhaps the most important) of serving people in their communities at regional and community levels – and whether in office or not.

The PPP has the most experience in having election victories stolen when the PNC is in office, from as far back as 1974, when Guyana Defence Force (GDF) soldiers were photographed by the international press ferrying ballot boxes out of a polling station.

With the nation’s elections laws gaining maximum international scrutiny and the APNU+AFC’s clear efforts to steal the poll and change the people’s votes in 2020 having attracted global attention and demands for the defence of democracy, the only party that formed a Patriotic Coalition for Democracy (PCD) against PNC rigging and other forms of elections rigmarole, was again the only one, with its CIVIC partners leading and eventually winning the fight to defend voters’ rights to vote and have their votes counted, fairly and squarely.

Again, as always, the PPP/C is not just ready for free and fair elections, but also ready to win, whether the APNU and AFC run together or separately. Together or apart, it can be described as “the same difference” because they still simply have no chance of winning free and fair elections in Guyana. And as things stand with Guyanese right now, no chance whatsoever!

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