Free, fair and regular elections are the cornerstone of democracy. But elections cannot be free and fair when one public official in the election body meddles with the rules or unfairly tilts the playing field in favour of one political party. In the recent elections, there have been alarming incidents of public officials exercising improper influence in the elections process.
This abuse of power threatens the integrity of our electoral process and strikes at the heart of Guyana’s democracy. Protecting democracy is a commitment to prevent election manipulation by public officials that would take concrete action to preserve free and fair elections. Even if it is not possible to influence the outcome of an election, attempts at manipulation will at least cause frustration and uncertainty.
Since the assumption of the presidency in 2015, David Granger has failed in numerous ways to be the leader Guyana demands to charter us into the future. Many loyalists of Granger may want to differ from the fact that he has failed Guyanese, but it is evident that the majority of Guyanese have spoken through their ballots in the just concluded General and Regional Elections on March 2, 2020, leaving David Granger and the APNU/AFC cabal shocked with defeat.
David Granger’s APNU/AFC is facilitating the refusal process not to allow a recount of the ballots, deliberately leaving it to the judicial system to ratify a decision that is preconceived. Careful attention must be given to the emphasis and relevance David Granger is giving the court’s decision that would illegally facilitate him to be a “constitutional dictator”, that would ensure Guyana is being sanctioned by the international partners. David Granger’s weak and fragile leadership is the main reason why the APNU/AFC has failed Guyanese. People might consider Granger as a decent person but he is the mastermind in every corruption, scandal, bad deal, elections rigging etc.
If Granger was a man of strong leadership capabilities, he would not have allowed a candidate of his party APNU/AFC to stop a commitment he made with the Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo and the other Caricom leaders. Despite Granger’s public disassociation of not interfering with the elections process and GECOM, it is a known fact that APNU/AFC’s political operatives are in GECOM. These facts are poisonous for any democracy, as they erode the foundations of our political system — namely the need for basic confidence in the legality of electoral decisions and respect for the wishes of the majority.
They can raise questions about democracy itself — and that in a time when it faces powerful adversaries, including autocrats, populists or other opponents of pluralism.
If we allow cheating in our democratic process, and we allow this now, what about next time and the time after that? This is a breach of the law. The actual manipulation of elections results is “criminal”, and must never be allowed in Guyana’s future elections again.
Guyana must urge that Irfaan Ali and the PPP/C set up a CoI into GECOM and ensure all those who are responsible for what is happening in the country pertaining to the elections results are given the maximum penalties.