Observation – During the month of October 2018 (this year), and almost at the same time when President David Granger had complaint about not feeling too well, Rodrigo Duterte – the President of the Philippines said almost the exact same thing. He was not feeling well and had to get a more thorough diagnosis done overseas.
About the same time, when a report suggested that he might have cancer, Duterte publicly responded on national television by saying that should he discover that he has cancer – he will immediately resign and let a new cabinet member become President. As a matter of fact, he offered to make his medical record public.
When questioned about why he would do such a thing, Duerte explained that the nation’s business is more important than one man, and he would not want to put the country on hold while he is being treated for cancer. “This country’s business cannot wait on me!”, he asserted
(Read more on it HERE)
But when Duerte travelled abroad and did the required tests, the country of over 104 million people discovered that he did not have cancer. As a matter of fact, he had another health condition that is not life-threatening as cancer – Yet Duerte is still lamenting about a possible resignation, much to the dissatisfaction of his supporters.
In his view, a President cannot effectively run a country if his illness requires prolong treatment and regular absence from office.
His principled position immediately caused his party’s and government popularity to soar, as the nation appreciated and admired his drive to put the country first. Ever since, polls have shown that his party now has a chance of clinching more than 70% of the national votes if an election is called today.
Thousands of miles away in Guyana, a nation whose population is smaller than a town in the Philippines, news came that President David Granger was diagnosed with cancer.
As a matter of fact, Guyanese did not know that the President had cancer until this very news publication indirectly said so.
Weeks after admitting that to be the case, the nation was told that the President would have to be regularly in and out of the country for over a six months period to receive treatment, after already burning up a previous two-months in medical travels abroad.
For whatever reason, this announcement seems perfectly fine with the government and many of its followers. But if you ask any right thinking person – they would tell you that it was a bad move, since it was done in the poorest and most stupendous way – via a press release from an Ambassador.
By comparison, Chavez, Thomson and almost every other world leader that was stricken by cancer made the first announcement themselves on national television and personally offer the nation to step down soon (which sometimes means years from then).
A nation is more driven and supportive when they can hear about something of such national importance from the President himself.
On the other hand, there are certain inner house cleaning and preparations that have to be made which often entails assigning a presidential protege that the population can trust until you recover, or that can take your place in case you step down or has passed on.
To understand why this is important, you first need to take a leaf out of the book of the late Hugo Chavez, and Barbados’ David Thompson.
In both scenarios, each leader had almost immediately identified a protege and a potentially new leader of the government, – and spent weeks drumming up their party support and national support for the new potential head-of-state in waiting.
As a result, their parliamentarians were kept in line, and the opposition parties in their respective countries could not have even thought of a no-confidence motion. Because the State’s leadership plans were solidified.
In my view, President Granger should have done the same thing, by seriously looking at the strategies of Chavez, Thompson, or to some extent, – Duerte.
Because after all, history has shown us that too many leaders were thrown out of office while they were on their sick bed. And I can give you a long list of them that had suffered the same fate as Granger.
After all, the President was not in a position to speak and assure his parliamentarians that he was still in charge, even if he had wanted to.
(NOTE: – I am maintaining that the President cannot speak – well only sometimes – because his cancer is in his throat. After all, imagine something like a no-confidence motion against your rule was in order and up to now the nation cannot see or hear from you, except via a piece of paper which someone has written under the name of the President).
And like everyone else, the opposition knew that “When a father loses his voice in a house, respect and confidence in him is also lost”.
As such, the entire cabinet of the current government and the President himself would have to accept blame for the current debacle that they are in.
A better strategy would have saved them from this historic embarrassment – having a majority in parliament and still losing a no-confidence vote. SMH.