At its very basic level, elections are contests between one or two sets of people. One set will lose and the other set will win.
Simple, but not so anymore. Losers take to the Courts to challenge the vox populi on the grounds that the said vox populi is no longer the voice of God (vox dei) that it used to be. In the 2020 elections, the SKNLP is seeking to replace the voice of the people with vox judex, the voice of the Judge.
It will not be the first time. In the twenty elections that St Kitts – Nevis has had since its independence (nine general, nine local, 1 general and 1 local by election), a few petitions have made it to the Courts.
It is not unusual for losing parties or candidates to cry foul and refuse to accept the results of an election, again it has happened before. What is unusual is that this election result comes with legal challenges in seven constituencies. If the allegations in these petitions are to be believed, then more than half of all declared seats are wrong, and a different government should either be installed by the Court, or the Courts should order a do-over of the election.
Six of these petitions allege irregular practices before the poll, thereby unduly influencing voter behavior. The other challenge alleges that irregularity occurred after the poll and influenced the result of the vote counting. In addition, the group of 6 petitions seems to be suggesting that the alleged practice of irregularities were selectively applied to all but two geographic areas in St Kitts.
However, from reading the pleadings of the petitions, it is difficult to discern a difference between efficient governance and election malpractice. When an administration makes and keeps a promise, that is good governance. When a government – and an opposition – distributes care packages during a national crisis, that is showing empathy. When a government provides a cushion and protection during an economic downturn, that is a stimulus package designed to buoy the economy.
It will be the duty of the Court of law to settle the legal issues and decide whether there should be a do-over election or not. But in the court of public opinion, there already seems to be clear losers and clear winners. Some people are sore losers.
In this situation, we project that some persons or persons will lose twice, at great personal and national cost. Such losses will be difficult to rebound from.
Like Belshazzar, for some politicians, the writing is on the wall!