I am a medical consultant in Acute Medicine. One day my CEO gave me a call to inform me that there is a crisis in Accident and Emergency where many critically ill patients are awaiting beds in Acute Medicine. I was then instructed by said CEO to discharge as many patients as possible so as to create beds for those in Accident and Emergency. On receiving this instruction I gathered up my junior doctors to an impromptu ward rounds. Unfortunately I was not able to discharge any patient despite my best effort.
Mr. Editor, what have you noticed about that narrative? You would have noticed that the CEO made a request i.e. patients being discharged. She was not prescriptive in how I arrive at that that outcome. Also in that request she recognised that the outcome could have been neutral, i.e. no patients discharge. The question that may be asked by many is why the CEO showed deference despite I am being under her control? The answer is simple. Control is not analogous with dictate. Simply put, the CEO recognised, both her limitations and my professional expertise hence I was permitted to do what I was contracted to do.
Now let’s examined the storm in a teacup between GECOM CEO, Mr. Keith Lowenfield and Chairwoman ret. Justice Claudette Singh. Both the High Court and the Appeal Court ruled that Chief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfield is a creature of GECOM and is subject to their control. That is not unusual since all employees are under the control of their employers to the extent that is described in their contract. Now let’s do a closer examination of the word “control.” The Merriam Webster dictionary defines control as “the ability to direct the actions of someone or something.” To translate, this means that the Chairwoman can direct the CEO to prepare a report but she cannot dictate to him on the methodology of the report preparation, its tabulation and ultimately his conclusion.
So where do we go from here? To offer an opinion, I will need to place myself in Mr. Lowenfield unenviable shoes. So with me being Mr. Lowenfield, I would have fed the Chairwoman and all involved, rightfully or wrongfully, their exact words. I would have prepared a report taking into consideration all that was evident at the recount stations. It is irrelevant whether the process was unconstitutional. The important issue is that the process was transparent, CCJ words, and witnessed by all. That would have informed my decision on the advice to the Chairwoman. Using her words, I would have stated that based on the “serious anomalies,” her own words, seen at the transparent recount process, I would humbly advise that a non-declaration should be made. Many may argue that article 177(4) states that a declaration must be made. I would argue that the constitution never stated what type of declaration must be made. It could be a positive declaration which is a winner, it could be a non-declaration which is neutral or it could be a negative declaration which is a loser. The constitution never stated that the CEO must be specific in his advice i.e., declare a winner. It simply stated that he must advise on a declaration. Once provided with the CEO advice, where he clearly followed the court rulings, the Chairwoman is obligated to follow his advice. If she chooses to be a Lone Ranger (CJ words), then we will have serious problems and the President may need to intervene. This is my argument for which I’m abundantly confident.
Dr. Mark Devonish MBBS MSc Med. Ed