Shared governance is necessary but conceding defeat must come first

Shared governance is necessary but conceding defeat must come first

Dear Editor,

The coalition has been sending out feelers for ‘power sharing’ or ‘shared governance’ as a solution to the political crisis. But this idea only comes after the coalition has recognized that there is no avenue left to make a claim for an electoral victory. The highest court has ruled against the regime – only the recount can be used to declare the outcome and it shows that the incumbent coalition lost. It was prepared all along to govern alone and even claimed victory. But now against the wall, it says there should be shared governance.

In general, I support power sharing. It has been a long held position that in a plural society like ours, one race-based party should not rule a country to the exclusion of other parties that represent other races. It is a recipe for instability and even ethnic disturbances. But in Guyana, the 2020 election campaign was not over shared governance.

Preceding the campaign, I appealed to the parties to embrace shared governance. I lamented the fact that the political parties failed to come up with a plan for shared governance inclusive of all parties. There were no takers to the idea except for ANUG and other small parties. The PPP spoke about inclusive governance during the campaign and now also says that after the swearing in there would be inclusion of other parties in government formation. In opposition, the APNU+AFC coalition spoke of inclusive and shared governance in 2015 but abandoned the idea when in government; it hogged everything and even alienated those who championed their cause and helped them to victory.

Since shared governance was not a campaign issue, it would be unprincipled to bring it up now after defeat as an opportunity to grab a bite of the mango. A country cannot reward a party that tried rigging its way into office. It would set a bad precedent for the future of democracy and good governance.

Shared governance over time is inevitable. It would happen and must happen by law. It is a positive development that the PPP has committed to the language of ‘inclusion’ and that the coalition now wants a piece of the mango instead of all of it. The PNC’s supporters should get a share of the mango. But first, the PNC must concede defeat, end judicial abuse, allow the declaration of results, and swearing in of Irfaan Ali as the President who has already been so deemed President as per the recount numbers announced by GECOM. After that, there can be discussions on inclusive governance.

There is no reason why the PPP would not want to work with the other parties under a big tent to advance the development of the nation. The PNC should take note that all of the opposition parties have been united on ‘the coalition must concede before any other discussions take place’. The PPP also said it would consider the idea of shared governance with the coalition providing it ends its court shenanigans. The coalition should heed that response from the minor parties and the PPP!
Guyanese are frustrated and want an urgent resolution to the political crisis. The country is suffering with the economy shrinking and thousands losing their jobs since the election. The coalition should bring the election to closure. And the court must reject further appeals and filings on frivolous issue.

Yours truly,
Vishnu Bisram

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