Could have been…

first_img…Guyana?Surely, dear reader, you must’ve read one of those “counterfactual” novels…the ones premised on ‘what if” such and such facts were different. Like what would’ve happened if apes had developed intelligence and ruled Earth? Oh…they did that in “Planet of the Apes”!! Well, right here in Guyana, lots of folks are wondering what life might’ve been if Forbes Burnham was still around.Of course, there are some who’ve vowed to take us back to the Burnhamite days to “fulfil” his legacy…but fate’s arranged for us to have our counterfactual – in the object lesson of Robert Mugabe. Mugabe and Burnham, you see, had so many things in common – apart from being contemporaries – Burnham’s DOB Feb 20, 1923 and Mugabe’s, Feb 21, 1924.While both saw themselves as “anti-colonialists”, Burnham cut a deal with the Brits to get power, Mugabe had to engage in a bloody guerrilla war with one Joshua Nkomo. But, in the end, they both got rid of their political rivals – who just happened to be from another ethnic group! In the case of Burnham, he made Jagan toothless through election rigging; while in Zimbabwe, Nkomo — from the Ndebele tribe — the senior politician in the “multiracial” ZAPU, was swamped in the 1980 elections by Mugabe’s ZANU via his numerically preponderant Shona tribesmen.Even though Nkomo was brought into the government, Mugabe never trusted him; and, in 1983, unleashed the N.Korean army led by Emmerson Mnangagwa – known as the Crocodile – against the Ndebele, massacring over 20,000 of them. Nkomo fled, never to return. So, while Mugabe would later turn his guns against the white Rhodesians, to drive them off their farms and “redistribute” the lands, the ethnic hostilities have never been addressed. Most of the lands ended up in Shona hands – and the favoured few, to boot!And so we saw Zimbabwe reduced from the “breadbasket of Southern Africa” to its “basket case”!! Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Inflation at one point got so bad Zimbabweans had to carry around their money in wheelbarrows!! Anyhow, when Mugabe remarried (like Burnham) his wife became very visible in the party!! Too visible, it seems, for “the Crocodile,” who by now had become VP — but in the way of the ambitious young wife!So we have an army coup orchestrated by the Croc, who always remained close with them, and he’s now President. But, it’s now even worse than the same ole, same ole — with the minority Nbele still suppressed and the army now directly controlled by “their man”.Any lessons here, with our army being remade in Burnham’s vision? To be loyal only to his government!…a contenderThe line, of course, is from the movie classic “On the Waterfront”, where Brando, the washed up ex-boxer who went on the wrong side, exclaimed, “I coulda been a contender!” And it’s a line that’s very apropos of what’s happened to Ramjattan and Nagamootoo in Guyanese politics. In the PPP, Ramjattan was very much the “young man in a hurry”, and didn’t bide his time; while Nagamootoo had become like “old man river” by the time there was a spot at the top.And the powers that be just didn’t think he had what it took to go all the way to the top. Events since his move to the AFC and then into the PNC (as APNU) have shown that while the Jagans might’ve been atheists, they were certainly prophetic!  Ramjattan, on the other hand, was “force ripe’ and never allowed himself to develop the nous for politics.His erstwhile co-founder of the AFC, Trotman, certainly played him like a “shak-shak!!”…Independent AgenciesNagamootoo berated his old PPP comrades for questioning the requests by the constitutional bodies for $8 billion. Says the PPP always wanted to ‘control” those agencies.So Prezzie doesn’t want to control GECOM? Why then his act of unilateralism to appoint Patterson? There are many ways to skin a cat!!last_img

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