THIS past week, GECOM’s secretariat advised the full commission that credible elections could not be held before March 2020. This assessment was made after taking into consideration the logistical work that needs to be done following the decision to halt house-to-house registration. If that timetable is followed, elections would be held two months before the coalition’s five-year term ends. This publication has already pushed back against the nonsensical contention by the political opposition that the delay in holding elections is due to the coalition’s refusal to adhere to the constitution.
Both the PPP and the coalition have met with GECOM since reports surfaced about the secretariat’s timeline. According to reports, the PPP went into the meeting with the same non-cooperative attitude and offered nothing to advance consensus on an election date. It instead sought to instruct GECOM on what date it wants the elections to be held. The coalition’s delegation on the other hand took an opposite position. It reportedly sought to hear from GECOM rather than forcing a timeline on the commission. It came out of the meeting pledging to stick by GECOM’s timeline.
At some point the PPP has to take responsibility for the uncertainty that now surrounds the date for elections. That party has steadfastly refused to cooperate with GECOM and with the President and his coalition in the interest of the country, even when this was expressly suggested by the CCJ. Following the CCJ’s ruling in June, some members of the coalition publicly suggested December as a compromise date for holding elections and urged the PPP to agree to an extension of parliament. But the PPP arrogantly refused to go to the table. It kept insisting that it would never facilitate such an extension. Further, it erroneously contended that the elections date must be set by the court in accordance with the constitution and not by GECOM, the duly constituted body.
In other words, it is ironic that the PPP now champions a November-December date when it was that very party which a few months ago scuttled that suggested date. The PPP is playing political games. It first sought to get the CCJ to facilitate those games and now it is trying to do the same with GECOM. These is something cynical about such political behaviour. Where is the political morality? Where is commitment to country? Where is the respect for the institutions? Where is the concern for political stability?
So, it is the PPP which through its varying tactics but pointed strategy of non-cooperation which has brought the process to this point. After frustrating the process all these months, the PPP seeks to give the impression that the coalition is bent on delaying the elections. Nothing could be further from the truth. The coalition and the President have always said that they would be guided by GECOM, which is the only body that can determine readiness for elections.
This publication has already drawn attention to the PPP’s defining motive which has to do with having an election with an unfit list. We repeat that accusation today. In the final analysis, it is not the elections date that ultimately matters to the PPP. It wants a date that would facilitate elections without a credible list. That party would not give up on that big agenda. It may have already hoodwinked a few civil society forces and its own supporters. It is for that reason that the plan must be exposed.
We believe that GECOM should not be overly pressured by political forces, especially those with ulterior motives. The PPP could advance its cause and protect its interests without dragging our institutions into the proverbial mud. Let GECOM be guided by the need for credible elections and not by the whims and fancies of one party. We have come too far as a nation to be shoved around by uncaring politicians and their political machinations. Elections are vital to democratic outcomes and as such, they should not be fiddled with. Because our elections in the past have been political flashpoints, special care must be taken to ensure all bases are covered. To begin, there must be a credible voters list that enfranchises citizens; then arrangements for the elections must be properly executed to the satisfaction of all participants—they must not be rushed. We cannot sacrifice the integrity of the process and the outcomes at the discredited altar of partisan political expediency. That’s why we call on the PPP to stop playing games with the electoral process.
LINK ORIGINAL: Guyana Chronicle