There should be an international body to ensure national elections truly reflect will of the people

Dear Editor,

In our highly integrated world national elections have greater impact on the regional and international socio-economic and political situation. When held freely and fairly, national elections create conditions for growth and developments not just for the specific nation but the region and the world. Conversely, when those elections are rigged it creates political and economic instability to that nation and to the region and often to the world.

Only recently Zimbabwe held its Presidential elections. That has ended in controversy and violence in the streets. The Opposition has taken to the courts and the swearing in of the President elect has been put on hold pending the outcome of the challenge.

At the same time, Mali has had Presidential elections that has ended in controversy and violence as well

In Latin America, we have the case of Honduras where charges of massively rigged elections have been made. Violence and killings have occurred. The mainstream media has been very quiet on this as if to stifle the upsurge of the dissatisfaction. This is causing grave dissatisfaction in the population.

Charges about elections irregularities have been made very loudly about Venezuela’s elections.

Electoral controversies have been increasing every year. More and more we are hearing of rigged elections. Often the evidence is overwhelming as is the case in Honduras.

Sometimes the international mainstream media tend to play down the issue and at other times it is overblown when the media preferred the losing candidate. This has occurred with some regularity in Venezuela.

Now, the phenomenon of rigged election is beginning to affect big powerful countries, as in the case of the United States. A large section of the media is openly calling for the impeachment of President Trump.

Charges of ‘Russian interference’ have led to sanctions against Russia and much bitterness in the body politic of the United States. This is creating tensions between two powerful nuclear armed states. This is also affecting world peace.

The Russians have made counter charges against US interference in their elections as well as in many others. At the same time categorically rejecting that they interfered in any country’s elections. However, the accusations and the tensions persist.

It was a joy to see the brotherly peoples of Ethiopia and Eritrea, finally normalizing their relations to the benefit of both countries and peoples. That could not have been possible without the help of the International Court which assisted them to resolve their border problem. Without that involvement, the dispute would not have been resolved and instability would have continued.

Guyana too has benefited from the use of global institutions. Without their involvement ourselves and Suriname would not have been able to resolve our maritime borders. It is, also, clear that all our border issues involving Venezuela and Suriname would not be resolved without the assistance and involvement of the International Community, specifically the global institutions like the United Nations and its various bodies.

It is true that there has been a greater involvement of the International Commu-nity in local elections. That has mainly been through some technical assistance and the presence of International Observers.

That, however, is proving to be insufficient today.

Local elections manipulators have learned and are beginning to outfox the International Elections Observer Teams.

This was most dramatic in Kenya. There the International Observers pronounced the elections to be free and fair.  However, the Opposition took the matter to court. The court found that the irregularities were so great that it affected the results of the elections. They ordered that the elections be re-run.

It is my strongly held belief that the Guyana Elections of 2015 was rigged mainly by the use of fictitious Statements of Poll.  Unfortunately, the case is still to be heard in our courts.

One cannot help but draw the strong inference that the failure of the court to act with speed, which the law requires in these cases, that the judiciary is abdicating its Constitutional role and responsibility. This is a dangerous development that can have serious implications for national life.

Rigging of elections has a wide variety of consequences. In the first place it is the beginning of dictatorship. If the people’s will cannot be ascertained in free and fair elections, then we have a dictatorship in the making.

This issue must now be seen as an issue affecting Global Governance. Therefore, the International Community mainly the United Nations should establish an International Body to ensure that national elections truly reflect the will of the people. As mentioned above, it must be seen as a human rights issue with profound international consequences.

This is vital for regional and international stability and for sustained international economic and social development.

Yours faithfully,

Donald Ramotar

Former President

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