In the eyes of social activist and award-winning writer, Ruel Johnson, the soul of the political machinery in Guyana is filthy and corrupted. Johnson noted that a high premium is placed on misinformation and political gains rather than forthrightness and genuine interest for the masses.

In the absence of that which is needed, Johnson said that the emergence of the Citizenship Initiative, a new political party of which he is an executive member, was necessary.

During an exclusive interview with the Guyana Standard, Johnson spoke extensively on several matters, one of which was the broken political machinery which sparked the genesis of the Citizenship Initiative.

Johnson related that the movement was in the making since the lead up to the 2015 General and Regional Elections. During an interview on a programme called ‘On the Fence,’ which was hosted by musician Francis Bailey, Johnson disclosed that regardless of the outcome of those elections, he would endeavour to promote more citizen participation in Guyana’s politics.

Admitting that he choose some ad hoc routes at times to achieve this, Johnson stressed that there were occasions where there were direct interventions to educate the populace on important political issues.

He noted however that the controversial No-Confidence Motion, and the adversarial conflict that ensued, fuelled his plans to take the Citizenship Initiative to another level hence the formation of the party.

Speaking to the importance of resisting the temptation of joining the two major political blocks and charting a new course, Johnson shared a lesson he learned from a taxi driver.

The Executive Member of Citizenship Initiative, “There is this young guy, he’s qualified to be a social worker but he isn’t getting a job so he drives taxi. He was talking to me about (his interest in) entering politics… (He also shared with me that he had told his mother that) he wants to be a politician. But his mother (who was also involved in politics but subsequently left) told him, ‘No, I was in it. I can’t restrict you. I know you have good intentions but consider if you have a glass of clean water and you pour it into the ocean, what happens to it? …I share this story with you to explain that this is the state of the current political machinery.”

Johnson emphasized that it is nearly impossible to enter the current political machinery without becoming part of the song and dance, without being stained by the muck, without losing one’s sense of accountability.

With the Citizenship Initiative, Johnson said that he and his team intend to offer “a breath of fresh air” while introducing an accountable politico to the game.


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