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#3901: Time for Consensus Building :Comments from Poincy

From: Jean Poincy <caineve@idt.net>

The May 21st  phenomenon can't be used as a ground for consensus
building.  It is a non-zero-sum game where all parties lost in terms of
starting the engine of change. We can't clap our hands and be happy,
because so many people went to the polling booths. We need to go further
to feel things. The Lavalas strong outcome is far to be a substantial
win. Even a majority in parliament for Lavalas does not guarantee a
smooth running of the government. Projects can be put in place, to never
be fully realized as hoped due to sabotage or attempt to derail the
government's efforts to do things. 

The absence of tolerance makes it impossible for constituents of
opposing parties to accept to work with whatever the government would
present before them. They will form a resisting group to the detriment
of all (them included). After passing the conceptual hurdle at the
government level, the application of the ideas or programs is the
affaire of the constituents themselves. Imagine that some vow to mine
all efforts. At that point, either government officials would keep
getting richer while being passive or use its iron fist to 1) have
things done or 2) muzzle the people to keep getting rich.

The term, "consensus building" implies guiding rules by which all should
go by to conduct the country's affaires. If I understand well, it is
asking to set these principles. Is it calling on party leaders to lay
them out? The seed for such lies in converging their philosophies.
Politicians still view Ayiti in two different lenses. While one side
embraces a popular strategy by caring for the poor majority, the other
one is totally detached and conducts rather Ayitianlike bourgeois
politics. The latter fails to realize that the majority poor is the
means to power. 

If they emulated the former's popular strategy, then competition on the
same ground would be fertile for "consensus building" as both parties'
interests would be clearly identified. Both would be concerned with what
each other wants, how each other wishes to obtain it, and the odds to
obtain it or not and to what degree. The knowledge of each other's aim
would make it easy for both to accept to lose some and win some. This
makes the winner take all strategy a loosing one and far more
dissatisfying than incremental gains. 

Since improving the life of the poor majority is their purpose for
conducting politics and having the poor majority approve their efforts
to access the government as the means to effect their endeavors, both
parties would show great interest in developing a bonding with the poor
majority. Focus on the poor majority is justified simply because they
have the winning votes and because they are the one in dire needs.
However, it does not mean that the rest of the population would be
alienated to maintain the faction politics. 

Rather than looking at procedures to go by to improve the people's live
although good in themselves, the key issue of consensus building lies in
what opposing parties must do to agree to enter and accept to play a
fairly competitive game. Aristide's call for peace was an opportunity
for that to happen. His opponents should have come forward with
propositions and engage in meetings on matters at stake. Once the
groundwork is laid for consensus on principles and be respected, the
rest would automatically fall through. At any rate, the stake should be
good with the poor majority. How to make it happen is an after fact.
To make it happen here is a seven day list: 1) politicians ought to stop
segregating politics since it is one people, 2) all should recognize the
right of existence of one another for whatever they issues they are
defending, 3) all should respect one another's turf, 4) respect
decisions made by the people as to be the outcome sought for, 5) agree
to execute the government initiative once approved by parliament and
executive body, 6) respect what the law says and 7) be willing to close
eyes on some minor irregularities that would bring no harm to the final

Ayiti has lived, lives and will live