A Democracy Under Threat LONG Before the Elections

A Democracy Under Threat LONG Before the Elections

Dear Editor,

By now the whole world knows what the APNU-AFC and PPP/C knew by the evening of March 3, 2020. That is, the winner of the general elections held on March 2, 2020. The voting was deemed free, fair, and peaceful by GECOM, the contesting political parties, and the observer groups. Yet, the APNU-AFC with the help of GECOM is still not prepared to accept the results and gracefully vacate office some three weeks later and counting. Honestly, the time to gracefully accept defeat and leave office has long passed but there is still time for them to leave and allow for normalcy to be restored in Guyana. However, we are way past who won and who lost and who should go and who should stay. The fight is now focused on protecting and preserving our fledgling democracy which was under threat long before March 2nd.

If I may dare say, the attempt to illegally influence the outcome of these elections began with the unconstitutional appointment of Patterson as GECOM’s chair and the subsequent highly questionable hiring of the Deputy Chief Elections Officer. The notable but failed efforts to appoint the Chancellor of the Judiciary and Chief Justice would have rounded things off if not for the constitutional requirement that the leader of the opposition must agree with both appointments. Then came the successful no-confidence motion and the infamous 33 is not the majority of 65 argument. If these were not clear signs of things to come, then the actions in recent weeks ought to leave no one in the dark.

The series of sloppy and dastardly attempts to subvert the will of the Guyanese electorate with the international community in full view appears to be just the tip of the iceberg. Starting with the abrupt ending of the Region 4 tabulation to the most recent court case by an APNU candidate challenging the recount, it seems that the APNU-AFC will stop at nothing to illegally occupy public office. Are they afraid they will be held accountable for their past and ongoing actions? Are they hoping to be rewarded for bad behaviour by brokering a deal with the collective opposition in the form of some shared governance?

While some may be more reserved on pronouncing on what should become of these cowards, let me answer both questions with great alacrity. All those who willingly participated and facilitated subverting the right of Guyanese to elect a government of their choice should be prosecuted to the fullest extent possible. They should be held accountable for their atrocious actions and should not be rewarded in any way, shape, or form. While I fully support far-reaching constitutional reform (actually a new constitution would be better) and a shared governance model (whatever that would look like in the Guyana context), such conversations should not be entertained until and unless democracy and the will of the people are fully restored. To accept any other arrangement is tantamount to rewarding and encouraging further bad behaviour.

In closing, I join the many commentators and letter writers both near and far in calling on David Granger to act presidential and let the recount proceed. Alternatively, you do not need to wait on an infiltrated GECOM to confirm what everybody including you already know; concede defeat and allow Guyana to move forward. Either way, time is running out.

Yours faithfully,
Omchand Mahdu

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