Politics, it is said, makes for strange bedfellows. There is no such thing as permanent friends insofar as political alliances are concerned. It is the convergence of interests that really matters.
Nothing brings this out more starkly that what is playing out in Malaysian politics. After having endured years of imprisonment and ignominy, Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim entered into a coalition with his political rival, 92 year old Mahathir Mohamed to oust former President Najib Razak who is now under investigation for massive corruption and graft. Interestingly, all of these men at varying stages in their political lives, were political allies who became rivals during the changing tide of political fortunes.
As it now stands, the former President and his wife have been prevented from leaving the country as several cases of corruption, graft and ostentatious life-styles are being investigated by the authorities.
We have had our own experiences of political formations involving alliances by parties that were politically and ideologically incompatible. In 1964, the supposedly ‘socialist’ PNC teamed up with the right-wing United Force to remove the PPP from office. Decades later, the United Force became an ally of the PPP/C. And as recent as the 2015 elections, the AFC teamed up with the APNU to unseat the PPP/C in a coalition government after one of its founder leaders went on record as saying that any such coalition can only happen ‘under his dead body’.
I am not in any way suggesting that coalition politics is a bad thing. On the contrary, I believe that coalition politics is becoming increasingly necessary given our political and ethnic diversity. In this regard, I think the Constitution of Guyana should be amended to allow for post-election coalition governments, and the sooner the better.