In an article entitled Michel Martelly: “J’avais dit à Sophia et à Lamothe qu’ils ne pouvaient pas être candidats à la presidence” [in English, Michel Martelly: “I had told Sophia and Lamothe they could not be presidential candidates”] published on Monday, June 15, 2015 in Le Nouvelliste, Haiti’s only daily newspaper, President Martelly stated: “I had instructed Lamothe that he would not be my candidate for president because I had realized that we were going to have elections with political parties not so comfortable with the idea of him being my candidate, which would give him the competitive edge over his opponents. It was important for me to instill trust in the candidates and credibility in the system so that everyone would believe they could win.”
What a load of charade! Who are his political advisers? If this strategy came from his gang of advisers, all of them ought to be fired? I do not want to think he had acted on his own, without consulting with his advisers on political affairs. I really do not want to think that.
How do you instill trust and credibility in an electoral system, Mr. President?
That’s the one-million-dollar question we need to answer. Mr. President, you instill trust and credibility in an electoral system by making sure that the electoral institution operates in full transparency and fairness, which will level the playing field for all the players in the game. As the guarantor of all the state institutions, Mr. President, that is part of your constitutional prerogatives.
It is expected of every sitting president to choose someone in their entourage who is electable [with a positive track record] to represent their party in an electoral contest. It was expected of President George H. W. Bush to endorse Vice President Dan Quayle for president; it was expected of President Bill Clinton to endorse Vice President Al Gore’s candidacy for president to succeed him. For the sake of ideological continuity, Mr. President, that is what sitting presidents are expected to do. And doing so would not compromise in any shape or form trust and credibility in the electoral system itself.
It is like telling me you are the general of an army going to war with a potential enemy and decide to leave behind your best warriors, those you can count on to take your army to victory. What kind of a general are you, and what kind of a battle strategy are you executing?
Choosing Lamothe would not have guaranteed him a win. For him to win, he would have relied on his political astuteness to put together a winning strategy. Since I have been following presidential politics, I have witnessed candidates endorsed by sitting presidents losing elections all the time. The opposition could have won running against Lamothe. They would have bet on the effectiveness of their campaign strategy to frame their political arguments against him.
Further down in the article, almost close to the end, he said about Lamothe: “Lamothe may have more ardor than me and be more hi-tech than I am, but be careful; it’s neither being hi-tech nor having money that makes me but rather my profundity and grandeur.”
Was this statement necessary, seriously? This is puerile thinking, to say the least. It really downgrades the president’s character. It shows me that he is not concerned about the future of the country; he is more concerned about his ego, his delusion of grandeur.
Nothing stops Martelly from being hi-tech. He can always be so if he wants. In that statement, he comes across as someone who is envious of Lamothe for who he is and what he is. There is a level grotesqueness we do not expect our heads of state to stoop to.
Mr. President, with all due respect, you have made a blunder. Please admit it. Find a better excuse to justify your decision next time. And until you find one that makes sense, you should not be talking to the press on that matter, for the more you do, the more you will be making ridiculous and embarrassing revelations.