Much commentary has been written on the need for power sharing (however it is defined) in Guyana as a solution to the current voter fraud impasse. The PPP claims victory in the elections on March 2 by about two seats or some 18,000 votes providing statements of polls (SOPs) to back its claim. The ruling APNU is claiming victory by a seat but offering no evidence. The elections commission (Gecom), according to observers, attempted to engage in fraud in declaring APNU the winner. It failed to follow the law in verification of counts. The matter is before the court on a petition filed by the PPP to compel Gecom to verify the vote counts from SOPs before declaring a winner. The court is likely to order Gecom to follow the law and verify the count. Before any thoughts are entertained on power sharing among the ethnic groups and parties, electoral fraud must be condemned and the ballots counts certified. To do otherwise would be rewarding or condoning electoral fraud.
There is no doubt that the country needs some kind of power sharing so that the nation can exhale from ongoing ethnic conflict and electoral fraud, but first the (Presidential candidate) party that has won the election must first rightfully be sworn in. Or else, the country, the world will be rewarding a cheater or daylight ‘tief’ or loser. Rewarding an electoral bandit would set a terrible precedence as happened during the 1960s thru 1980s, and it would not lead to racial or political healing. First, let the SOPs be verified and a winner declared and then talks must commence on power sharing.
I have been advocating power sharing for decades as a potential solution to our political ethnic conflict. The last polling article I published a day before the election, I indicated that voters felt there would be fraud and that one party would win the election by two seats (51%-48%). I also noted that it was regrettable that the two major parties were not advocating power sharing so that ‘neither party loses’. Only ANUG (Ralph Ramkarran and Jonas) and a couple other small parties wisely campaigned on a principle of power sharing. And since the attempted fraud last Thursday in the declaration of the results of the elections, they have continued the call for ‘shared governance’. The parties without seats and independents must also be included in such a government of national unity.
But the country and the world cannot allow voter fraud to be utilized as a requisite tool for power grab. Electoral banditry must never be accepted as a mechanism for retaining or winning power. The world has indicated that it will not accept fraud. The relevant international organizations (OAS in particular) and major world powers, not least the US, have not allowed governments in Venezuela, Bolivia, Peru, Honduras, Haiti, Nicaragua, etc. to get away with electoral fraud. And they will not close their eyes to fraud in Guyana. Gecom must rethink its activities; visa cancellations and sanctions are coming. The SOPs in Region 4 must be verified and the right winner declared. Any other measure is tantamount to rewarding fraud.