Suggestions for power-sharing usually emerge when the PPP wins an election. And the idea is usually to appease the PNC or else there will be trouble, instability, fear, panic, and gridlock.
During 1964-1992, when the PPP realised the PNC would never give up power as Burnham and his PNC routinely rigged elections, Dr Cheddi Jagan, father of the nation, had suggested a National Front Government. The PNC was never interested; Burnham wanted absolute power and even gave himself a two-thirds majority of the votes at one “election.”
In 2015, the PNC promised constitutional reform but did zero to move that forward once they got in. In 2016, the PNC lost the Local Government Election (LGE) by 25,000 votes. In 2018, it lost the LGE by 45,000 votes. In December 2018, the PNC was defeated in a No-Confidence Motion. In none of these defeats did the PNC and its cohorts call for power-sharing with the PPP. The PNC with a one-seat and one vote win (in Region Eight it won by one vote and no recount was allowed), governed in a triumphalist manner. With no sensitivity to diversity, it fired many supporters of the PPP, hired its own supporters and stacked all the State Boards and Commissions with its own people, largely locking out the PPP and allowing it token representation. In the regions that the PPP won, the PNC appointed its own REOs who created gridlock and stymied efforts at regional development, especially in Region Five.
So, while it’s a good idea, any calls for power-sharing is premature as the pre-conditions and foundations for such an advanced political structure simply do not exist. The PNC did not keep its promise to its main partner, the AFC, which caused them to win the 2015 election. Apart from many sirens and outriders, PM Moses got larwah. In the 2020 election, the distrust for the AFC was so bad that the PM running mate had to sign that he cannot become the President. That led to an agreement that was so bad, it was kept a secret. The PNC also did not keep its promise with its first coalition partner, the UF (United Force).
There is nothing in the PNC’s history and current behaviour that shows it is interested in power-sharing. The PNC has always been interested in “power” not “sharing.” Mr Granger at a meeting said they were “born to rule.” The PNC thinks that because it dominates and controls all the State agencies, including the coercive arms of the State – the Guyana Police Force, the Army and various military forces, and GECOM, that it does not have to win, that it can simply seize power, knowing that its control of the State apparatus will guarantee that they stay in power. That worked before for 28 years, and in 2020 the PNC is hoping to pull that same stunt again.
Any attempts to have power-sharing is tantamount to a “shotgun marriage” that is doomed to failure. The PNC is not amenable to sharing; they want complete domination. We should not support power-sharing simply to avoid the PNC’s propensity for “mo fiah, slo fiah” strategies. Power-sharing should flow from proper Constitutional frameworks and a national discourse with all stakeholders and parties.
In the current fiasco created by the PNC and PNC alone, the only solution is for the GECOM Chair to do her job and ensure the laws are followed in finishing the Region Four count using the Statements of Poll, as they were doing. All parties have copies of the SoPs given to them by GECOM, and those show the PPP winning 53 per cent of the votes.
The task is to urgently swear in the PPP as the new Government. The PNC has done well too and should work harder to win the next time. We are now in the era of “vote them in, vote them out.”