AFC leaders have lost sight of what they stood for

Dear Editor,

In Shakespeare’s ‘Julius Caesar’, Cassius advised his friend Brutus that, “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.” Paraphrasing this in the context of the AFC, the fault is not in the Cummingsburg Accord, but in the inability of the AFC leaders to act in the interest of the members and supporters by promoting the policies and fundamental principles which they expounded in their Action Plan 2011.  I was a member then.

However, the AFC members and supporters ‒ at least some of them ‒ were willing to forgive and forget what was said about both the PPP and the PNC by co-founders of the party, Messrs Ramjattan and Trotman. Ramjattan had said that “over four decades of PNC and PPP governments have left us bruised, weary and hopeless” while his counterpart, Trotman had said in his own inimitable style that, “For 45 years Guyana has had the same parties making turns in the wrong directions, disappointing and betraying citizens…” But alas! After just over two years the AFC has made numerous ‘wrong turns’, with the Gecom unilateral appointment making it clear that the party has become a docile ‘bride’ in the PNC’s harem.

The AFC leaders have deviated so far from their manifesto that it is difficult to discern their original identity. They have been consumed and have become mere pawns to the PNC dominated government. Their minimal input has been relegated to agreeing or disagreeing as the need arises. When one reads the statements in the Action Plan written by Messrs Ramjattan and Trotman it leaves one to wonder whether or not those lofty ideals were just window dressing to appeal to the people. It would now seem that the AFC leaders have had one self-centred goal in mind when they formed the party: get rid of the PPP at all and any cost and enjoy the good life!

The Cummingsburg Accord is only about sharing the spoils and nothing else matters. Even the involvement of civil society was decisively excluded. The 60/40 partnership between APNU and AFC was the crème de la crème. But this was just mere writing. The eventual acquiring of a ceremonial prime minister and the equally namesake vice presidents and some ministries where the eventual power lies with the Minister of State, Cabinet and some retired high ranking military officers reflected the most glaring impotence of the AFC. It has become the mere acquisition of empty offices which lack the power to make any decisive decisions. They just awaited the crumbs which fell from their master’s table.

Today, there seems to be only one goal, and that is, self-preservation. It has become pellucid that if they dare to differ they will meet the same fate as was delivered to the UF by the PNC in 1968. However, the AFC leadership chaperoned by the experienced campaigner Moses Nagamootoo, who is adept at damage control, is quoted earlier this year as saying, “that after two years in office, things have changed and the AFC is of the belief that the time has come for the Cummingsburg Accord to be renegotiated”. On the other hand, according to the WPA’s Tacuma Ogunseye,  the Cummingburg Accord is more in favour of the AFC than APNU. He rationalized this by concluding that, the 10% AFC got 40% of the ‘spoils’ therefore renegotiation is out of the question. In other words, they got a lot more than they deserved.

The AFC is cognizant that Ogunseye is correct, yet there is now haste to review the Accord before ‘Lovers Day’ 2018. This time the call for review, apart from its usual endorsement of APNU’s decisions, will include some issues which will be mere attempts to placate their rapidly dwindling support base. This is the guile of the AFC leadership. Now being faced with extinction since their main financial supporters in the USA and Canada have exposed the AFC’s useless appendage roles to the PNC, they have now once again moved to revise the Accord.

However, the problem with the AFC is the fact that the leaders have lost sight of what they stood for: the fight against corruption, massive squandermania, cronyism and the fight for transparency and accountability. All of these have become so endemic in this government while the AFC leaders are rooted in enjoying the good life with their silence becoming unbearable with each passing day. What immediately comes to mind is that the AFC leaders are deathly afraid that should they speak out against these wrongs they will be unceremoniously kicked out, not unlike the UF when they spoke about the corruption of the PNC. But I do have a strong prognostication that some AFC leaders will be baptized into the PNC (it seems some have already been so) to save their status quo, especially when President Granger’s Atlanta speech comes to mind about how power should be retained based on the PNC’s past strategies. Has this Atlanta plan been set in motion with the unilateral appointment of the Gecom’s Chairman? Are some AFC leaders privy to this plan? Hence the need to save their material gains?

Time will tell as it always does.

In conclusion, I have tirelessly written about corruption, cronyism, lack of transparency and accountability within the AFC and was dubbed a rogue councillor, but what I never expected is the fact that the big financiers in the USA and Canada will be called rogue elements when all they did was to stand up for the fundamental principles of the AFC. However, they should seek consolation in the fact that they were not told to leave.

Yours faithfully,
Haseef Yusuf
Former AFC member

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