Survival of AFC depends on its leadership –Gaskin
While many political pundits remain pessimistic about the survival of the Alliance for Change (AFC), one of its former Ministers Dominic Gaskin believes that the party can survive, but that depends on the posture of the current leadership of the party.
“I think it can survive. I think it is up to the current leadership of the AFC to ensure that the party survives,” the AFC member said, adding that the survival will require a “completely different posture” from what is currently being observed.
Gaskin offered that opinion on Friday evening during an interview on Room 592 – a radio show on Kaieteur News.
Now in opposition, the AFC is expected to submit nine of 31 names, which will represent the APNU+AFC coalition in the National Assembly, in keeping with a 2019 agreement between the two parties.
There are already speculations about the PNC-led APNU reducing the number of seats being awarded to the AFC, in breach of that agreement, on the basis that the latter did not garner much support for the coalition in the 2020 elections.
But Gaskin believes that the third party did bring “value” to the coalition in 2020 since it received almost 10,000 more votes than it did in 2015 – the year it ousted the PPP from office.
“Increase in votes for coalition means that the AFC did bring value to the coalition. APNU alone couldn’t win 217,000 votes at the  elections. The support base of the AFC is different from the support base of the APNU or PNC. It [AFC] needs to appeal to its traditional base that got it to where it was in 2015,” Gaskin shared.
After forming a coalition with the APNU and winning the 2015 General and Regional Elections, the support of the AFC began to dwindle – as evidenced by its performance in the 2018 Local Government Elections (LGE).
Many believed that the party had abandoned some of its core principles and became subsumed into the politics of the PNC – the largest party in the APNU.
And this was also the view of Gaskin who served as an executive member of the party.
“The AFC, during its term in office as a coalition partner, may have placed too much emphasis on maintaining the coalition to the detriment of the AFC as an independent party. AFC has tried too hard to appeal to the APNU supporters than its constituents which made the AFC what it was,” he said.
The party drew most of its support from PPP strongholds in Region Six since some of its most prominent leaders lived there.
Gaskin noted too that even though the party has lost tremendous support due to the position it took during the 2020 elections impasse, “if it [the party] goes back that support base with fresh ideas and face, I think it can play a critical role that it played in the last two decades or so.”
The AFC was heavily criticized by political commentators and many of its supporters for being complicit while several attempts were being made to rig the 2020 elections in favour of the APNU+AFC coalition.
That position taken by the party was not one which Gaskin wanted to be associated with.
“The position taken by the AFC post-March 2, I feel was not the right decision for a party such as the AFC. I certainly was not happy and did not want to be associated with the decision taken by the AFC,” he revealed.