I wish to remind the Guyana President, his APNU party and AFC partner (the government), parties’ functionaries, and supporters it is not the end of political life in losing an election. In democracies, as those of us who study political science learned, a candidates and parties have an obligation to accept defeat and allow the victor to swear in and govern. It is called “a concession”. This is a self-cleansing tradition that gives the political system its legitimacy and permanency.In democratic countries like the US, Canada, UK, etc., and even in other Caricom nations, parties lose honorably. A concession speech is normally expected. Since more Guyanese live in the ABC countries than in Guyana, a losing party should embrace this democratic political value. It gains respect and admiration in so doing.A concession of defeat has been an enduring political custom, which value goes beyond morality and graciousness to congratulate the winner and making offers of cooperation. A concession helps to ensure the continuity of government, and it also plays a legitimizing role of the successor as well as strengthens democracy in the country. Also, a concession speech signals to the public that the transition is going to happen smoothly telling its supporters to accept the outcome and begin organizing for the next election. Intransigence signals trouble like what is happening now.
Failure to accept political defeat in a transparent electoral process damages the political system as well as the credibility of a party that refuses to yield. People and the international community lose respect for the leader and his party that refuses to concede. Parties and their supporters are reminded that in an election, only one side can win. People know ab-initio that only one person will be elected as President. No one likes to lose. But by accepting defeat, the Presidential candidate acknowledges that the people have spoken. The loser must inform supporters that the process was fair and affirm that he lost. Thus, I appeal to the coalition APNU+AFC to re-examine its recalcitrant position (using courts and various shenanigans) and allow the process of public verification of the SOPs to go forward and the winner to be declared.
The coalition is behaving like losing the election is an end to political life. It fails to recognize that a losing party made successful comebacks in Guyana. And even in losing an election, a party wins by graciously accepting defeat – people admire and praise a leader who concedes he lost. And when the loser concedes the election, the act validates democracy and provides an opportunity for that party to return to government next election. Guyanese would respect the leader and party that concede defeat and consider that party again for governance five years hence.
Failure of the incumbent President Granger to concede to a recount of SOPs has damaged democratic stability and public security. It has also hurt the public image of the President as an honest and decent person.
The President and the coalition are reminded that if the public and the world community don’t believe that a declared result is a true reflection of the will of the people, the outcome and the President will lose legitimacy. Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe learned the hard way with his persistent frauds. The world rejected that fraudster.
President Granger is reminded that losing an election is not shameful. Great candidates lost elections. Desmond Hoyte lost democratic elections. Hillary Clinton lost the Presidency. When a candidate loses, he and his party learn a lot to take corrective actions to come back stronger next time and win.
An incumbent must move beyond personal ambition. He has to do what is best for the country and not just his party and himself. President Granger needs to pay heed to how history will judge him. He had a fairly good term. He had a good legacy. He would not want to destroy that image created of him. The President is also reminded that the political reality in Guyana and the world have changed. Fraud in the western world would not be accepted. His government would become radioactive within Caricom, OAS, UNASUR, ACP, UN, and other world groupings. This is not how Granger wants to be treated and remembered. The President does not have to worry about APNU’s future; it is re-assured. There are outstanding successors in Joe Harmon, Volda Lawrence, Basil Williams, Amna Ally, Ronald Bulkan, Rafael Trottman, among others, who will carry on the President’s mantle. Off course, he can keep on fighting for his ideals. He can use his reputation and credibility to help transform the country and shape ethnic relations.
Granger knows the true outcome of the election from the SOPs. Why would he want to continue supporting that farce of Gecom to manufacture a victory? Instead of supporting (through his silence) Gecom’s act of overturning a democratic verdict through fraud, the President must call off the court case and instruct Gecom to properly count Region 4 authentic SOPs in full view of the public.
In accepting a real count, Granger will long be remembered as an honorable man. In addition, as a church going person who believes in truth and honesty, the nation will view him as a hero for making a concession and saving the country from its pains at this critical juncture of history.