In the US Army, where I served for six years, there is this psychological exercise called After Action Review (AAR) we do after every event, training session, etc. to improve our performance in the future. During such exercise, together as a group, we answer questions such as: what was supposed to happen? What actually happened? What went right? What went wrong? What we need to improve on to better our performance next time?
In light of this exercise, we are going to try to tackle this pertinent question: Why Lavalas lost the election to Jovenel Moise?
That’s a very important question, one anyone with a sound mind would expect to dominate the conversations in all Lavalas circles at this juncture in the game. Unfortunately, such is not the case. Instead, they are hopping on the radio one after the other wasting their times in propagating falsehoods about the winning candidate in an attempt to delegitimize him. When it is not that, they are in the streets yelling at the top of their lungs, breaking stuff, burning tires, engaging in all sorts of terrorist activities only to disturb the peace as usual and further worsen the political instability in the country.
Lavalas lost because:
1. They did not have a consolidated base –the divisions and bickerings inside the movement have caused the base to be fragmented at its own demise. As a result, such reality has weakened all the groupuscules with Lavalas tendencies [Lapeh, Pitit Desalin, Fanmi Lavalas, Renmen Ayiti, etc]. Meanwhile, if they had come together to nominate one candidate as the alternative to Jovenel, I am not sure if that would have been enough to win them the election, but they could have given him a good run for his money.
2. They did not have a revolutionary and inspiring message that could resonate with the majority of the voters, especially the young voters. Holding the Martelly administration responsible for everything not working in the country [after only 5 years] is one thing, but proposing how to make things better is another. It was really hard for them to make the case against Martelly, let along against Jovenel –after they had spent 20 years in power and failed to deliver for the country. So the people looked at it like this: if you were in power for that long and failed to make good on your promises, why should we put you in charge again? In a sense, they were viewed as the main sector responsible for the dire reality they wanted to be hired to fix. So they were in a very tough spot.
3. Not only did they not have such revolutionary and inspiring message, they did not have an inspiring leader the youths could relate to –the leadership was composed of a bunch of old farts, the traditional chameleon or “abolotcho” politicians, whom the people have rejected long ago for their politics of obsolescence, mediocrity, terror, treachery and deceitfulness.
4. They represented the past to a young electorate, a social media electorate, which rendered them totally out of touch. While Jovenel was effectively using the latest technologies –Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Whatsapp, Snapchat, Periscope, etc… — to reach out to the young people and get his inspiring message out to them, these Lavalas sore losers were using the same old and outdated campaign tactics and practices they were using during the 1990 presidential election, which had witnessed the rise of Aristide from priesthood to statehood.
5. Last but not least, they had shown their incapacity to effectively staff and run a successful political campaign. They relied mostly on their amateurism politics and so-called education to outperform Jovenel, who staffed his campaign with folks with years of experience in campaign organization and operation.
In conclusion, the election was not stolen from the Lavalas sore losers. The allegation of massive fraud they were pushing could not sustain –due to lack of convincing evidence –before the electoral judges, in the electoral tribunal. That was a political play with the intent to boycott and torpedo the election. This time around, it did not work as they had hoped –they were hoping to see a repeat of 2015, when they had used terror to impose their collective will on the majority.
The Lavalas lost fair and square to Jovenel, who run a very effective, aggressive, revolutionary and state-of-the-art campaign. If anything, if they are really smart, they need to spend ample time studying his campaign so they could emulate every aspect of it in future elections. If they don’t do that, they can forget about winning presidential elections for a long time.