In this political silly season, all kinds of theories abound. This is the new one: those African-Guyanese who voted for the AFC in 2006 will migrate to the PNC in 2011 because of Granger’s supposed charismatic leadership leaving the AFC weaker. These astute political theorists have not yet proven that those Africans who voted for the AFC in 2006 were in fact PNC supporters and not just Africans who did not vote PNC. Further, they are yet to prove that those voters made only a temporary shift to the AFC and that they will most definitely return to the PNC in 2011.
The AFC got 8.4% of the overall vote in 2006. As a percentage of the regional vote in each region, the AFC got more than its total percentage (8.4%) in 6 regions (Regions 1, 2, 4, 7, 8, 10). The AFC did better than its national vote percentage in these 6 regions. Its performance in the biggest region (Region 4) was just above its national vote percentage at 9.46%. It got 9.46% of Region 4’s vote. Its biggest take was in Region 10 with 23% of the total vote. Now, Linden has a high mixed race population as per the 2002 Census.
So, the theory that the AFC won mostly African support or votes in 2006 is not conclusively proven by these theorists if you look at the regional ethnic population distribution. But let’s play the theorists’ game and say the AFC got 50% of its overall vote in 2006 from Africans or 4.2%. Let’s say those voters return to the PNC. Does this benefit the PNC or APNU or whatever it is now called? No. It cannot. The PNC got 34% of the overall vote in 2006. If it gets back its so-called 4.2% from the AFC as the theorists want us to believe, the PNC is at 38.2% of the vote. The PPP is at 54.6%. There is still a 16.4% gap that cannot be narrowed. Those whom the theorists claim will return to the PNC have everything to lose by returning to the PNC. In 2011 it is likely the AFC will increase its Mixed Race and Amerindian vote, its share of votes of the lethargic vote (those who registered but did not vote) but will vote for only AFC and its share of the Indian vote. This leaves the PNC out in the cold. Even if the AFC gets only 4.2% of the overall vote, those who left the AFC to return to the PNC get absolutely nothing as the PPP forms another majority government. Voting for the PNC purely out of race is a sound losing strategy in this landscape due to the ethnic realities in Guyana.
If Indians, Amerindians and Mixed Races make the necessary migration in 2011 to the AFC while Africans leave the AFC to return to the PNC as the theorists claim, Indians, Amerindians and Mixed Races will be directing the change of political direction in the country if the AFC wins a sufficient enough minority to prevent majority government. Even if that vital 5% to 10% of Indians vote for the AFC, the PPP wins the election. No two ways about it. But more importantly, it delivers minority government to the people of this country. The PNC cannot beat the PPP any which way you slice it. Even if the PPP gets 35% of the vote and the PNC gets 38.2% and the AFC gets 26.8%, the fact that the AFC obtained a significant boost in Indian votes would mean that it will have to form a coalition with the PPP to form the government, thereby bypassing the PNC. The AFC will have to do exactly what the PNC did with the UF to bypass the PPP in 1964. The AFC would simply have no choice but to respect the wishes of those who voted for it. In no scenario in the foreseeable future is the PNC capable of forming a government by itself or by coalition. Unless the PNC can win 50% of the vote or could garner enough Indian votes to reduce the PPP to minority government, it has a snowball’s chance in hell of winning any democratic election in Guyana. That cannot happen. In that regard, Indians do not have to ever fear a PNC return to power for it cannot. Indians are freer than ever to start voting exactly how they feel outside of race, because the PNC cannot ever present a problem with respect to getting power.
Those who leave a third party with the chance of bringing a new shining sun of democracy to Guyana for a proven failure which no party will ever consider as a partner in government is a backward step. PNC voters have to know that this is their fate. The real agents of change in this election will be the Mixed Race, Amerindian and that vital percentage of progressive Indian voters who want to change this country. They hold the key. Many have already accepted that Donald Ramotar is not the leader for them. If the Mixed Race, Amerindian and that percentage of Indian voters leave the confines of the PPP and vote for the AFC the country begins a new day, new direction and a chance to give our children a proper future. For the first time in Guyana we will have a PPP minority government with the AFC as the party to keep them honest to their job. Power is then firmly in the hands of the people. It will be fun watching incompetent and corrupt politicians stepping down.