In May 2015, many young independent-minded Guyanese across the ethnic divide went to the polls not knowing any other Government than the PPP/C. For many, it was an opportunity to institute change while for others it was a chance to exercise their franchise and vote like a boss. Yet, for others, it was an opportunity to send a strong and pellucid message to the political leaders of the country: if you govern poorly, we will vote you out.
Despite the many warnings by their parents and those who would have lived through the dark days of rigged elections in Guyana under the previous incarnation of the APNU, these young people were determined to charter their way and make their own choice. And rightly so. Many argued that rigged elections were a thing of the past and quickly dismissed the notion. No one could blame them, after all, they grew up in a different era, laden with advanced technology, shopping malls, supermarkets, and fast-food joints. They were tech-savvy, more educated, and better informed than the generations before them and cared very little about the electoral transgressions of the past.
Despite efforts to rebrand itself over the years, the PNC, the major partner in the APNU/AFC configuration had done little to convince non-supporters that they had changed. However, the passage of time coupled with the fact that they had not been in office for 23 years helped to shake off the riggers tag so much so that young Guyanese could not be bothered about rigged elections that occurred long before they were born.
And so, many of them voted for and rewarded the APNU/AFC coalition with a slim victory. With one misstep after another by the coalition over the last 5 years, these young people quickly realised their trust was misplaced and swiftly voiced their concerns and outrage in different ways. Some took to social media, while others used the two Local Government Elections to voice their disapproval. Yet, some took the laudable decision to form political parties to contest the March 2, 2020, general elections.
Amidst rising fear of authoritarianism, many of these young independent-minded Guyanese reversed their support for the incumbent on March 2. Once again, they sent a strong message to the political leaders of Guyana: shape up or ship out. Then came the disgraceful events of the last three weeks and counting. In one comedy of errors after another, the APNU/AFC’s blatant attempts to rig the elections in broad daylight were repeatedly exposed for all and sundry to see.
Whether their latest attempt succeeds or not, these reprehensible acts by the APNU/AFC should serve as a potent reminder to all Guyanese, young and old, that elections rigging may no longer be a thing of the past. More importantly, these blatant attempts to rig the election have left an indelible impression on the psyche of young independent-minded Guyanese, many of whom would have nonchalantly dismissed such notions in the past. If there is one good thing to come out of all of this, it is that the APNU/AFC has unintentionally managed to unite and strengthen the resolve of young independent-minded Guyanese who are prepared to stand up for what is right and just and fight all attempts to undermine the will of the people. One can only imagine how the APNU/AFC hopes to attract young independent-minded Guyanese in the foreseeable future.