Coalition gov’t broke contract with the people on governance reform, Ogunseye looking for every opportunity to excuse it
Dear Editor, ‘My question, now that the PPP/C had strong showings and many victories at the just concluded LGEs is that; is Jeffrey still optimistic that the results of those elections can be the basis for meaningful shared governance (SG) discussions between the two major parties?’ (‘Results of local gov’t polls make likelihood of shared governance talks even more remote:’ SN: 22/11/2018). After more than three years of the APNU+AFC government not making even a reasonable effort to do what it promised to the electorate in 2015 with regard to constitutional change and SG , Jeffrey would be out of his mind to be ‘optimistic’ about its doing anything in this direction now. What Jeffrey is certain of is that it is the duty of the government to try and for supporters of SG such as Mr. Tacuma Ogunseye to stop conjuring up dubious excuses for its inaction, and instead use their interaction with it in a positive manner.
As was to be expected, Mr. Bharrat Jagdeo boasted that his party won some 120,000 votes at the 2018 local elections. This is about 60% of the 202,656 votes it received at the 2015 national elections. As I indicated in last week’s Future Notes, while APNU supporters have a great deal to be angry about, the PPP/C supporters have a great deal to try to protect. They believe (and the Guyana Elections Commission behaving properly at low-level local government elections proves nothing) that APNU+AFC rigged the last national elections and is preparing to do so again in 2020, and as such were motivated to make the local elections a test of their electoral superiority. In that context, the PPP/C did not have a particularly strong showing. As tends to happen at local elections, all the parties suffered from low turnout and so, yes, the results could be the basis for a meaningful discussion on SG for it is again a visible demonstration of the existing political estrangement SG is intended to solve. But Tacuma, you appear determined to seek out and utilise a notion about what the PPP/C wants or does not want to excuse APNU and the WPA for not doing what they promised to do!
We have it here again: ‘I distinctly recall saying that the bad blood which flows between the two forces post elections, the PPP/C‘s insistence that the elections have always been rigged … and the obvious triumphalism among APNU+AFC … coalition make advocacy for shared governance … wishful thinking, since neither side is really interested in that form of governance’ (Ibid). Tacuma, the coalition had to win to be in a position to make the reforms, but instead of condemning its triumphalism, and requiring that it fulfills its commitments, you are utilising
its exuberance to explain your personal inaction!
Furthermore, I am now hearing from a fighter who cooperated for years with the PPP to remove the PNC that we must now wait until the PNC has rid itself of its excitement before we can act? And now that the result of the recent local government elections must have knocked some of its spiritedness out of it, are you suggesting (para. one) that we cannot move forward because of the triumphalism of the PPP? This is too good to be true: Walter Rodney must be spinning in his grave!
On the issue of my not explicitly stating that the president must consult, I pointed out that it is for the president to determine if he needs to and whom is worthy of consultation. It should be commonplace knowledge that modern presidents must consult if they intend to be successful, and the fact that a seasoned commentator such as Mr. Ogunseye did not understand this is sufficiently important to be the subject of the next or a future? Future Notes. That aside, I was alarmed that given his stated commitment to SG, even if he felt that I should have insisted that the president consult specific actors, a fighter like Tacuma did not also use the occasion of my intervention to carry the fight to those who oppose us rather than, based upon very dubious assessments, throwing in the towel!
So for what it’s worth let me restate my position. In ‘Why I support APNU’ just before the general and regional elections in 2011, I stated that a major reason for my support was that it has given priority to ‘the establishment of a Government of National Unity, (and) … Constitutional reforms necessary for the realisation of Shared Governance, … ‘during the first two years of the first term’ (SN: 16/11/2011). One week before the 2015 elections, I stated again ‘Let us hope that they (the PPP/C) are rebuffed, … If for no other reason, APNU+AFC and its manifesto ‘It is Time’, which makes a fundamental commitment to governance changes, hold a greater promise of a better tomorrow’ (SN: 06/05/2015).
Without any proper explanation, the coalition government has unnecessarily broken its contract with Ogunseye, me and all those who think that SG is the only sensible way forward. It did this because Guyana does not have an effective public opinion: an effective way of holding government accountable. Maybe things are changing, but for the time being the vast majority of us believe that to protect ourselves we must voluntarily relinquish our individual political will: the essence of our social being, to the leaders of the ethnic collective. These people could but have repeatedly not utilised the power we bestowed upon them to establish arrangements that will liberate us for their tutelage, and why should they? Given the nature of bureaucratic organisations, for all intents and purposes they have at their beck and call an entire population of ‘ethnic political slaves.’ I, if not Ogunseye, take exception to this. Yours faithfully, Henry Jeffrey