As the Gecom chairperson nomination and final selection process continues to sizzle, I offer some final thoughts.
I hear all these rigid clashing positions over definitions, interpretations, and constitutional intentions, and I wonder where both intelligence and commonsense have fled. When all the words, noises, positions, and emotions have been articulated (sometimes ventilated) and then diminished and dismissed this nomination and decision come down to a simple, but immovable formula: who is going to be for me and my party? Who is going to deliver in the crux for me and my party? Both sides know this, and for both sides this is non-negotiable. It is that “fit and proper” means different things to the different contesting groups, and at bottom translates to this: who can be trusted to deliver for me and us? Who will deliver in the crunch? Regrettably, this is what all analyses and opinions, some well-meaning and very well stated lead.
It is never about who has a certain and proven level of legal acumen (that is largely irrelevant); or who is a superior statistical stalwart (this is not about the mechanics of assembling and counting). It is about who will yield to the bidding and insistence of intimidating political players in superheated times. It is which one has it in them to display nerves of steel, iron guts, and ice water in the veins. This is about a chairperson who has it in him or her to stand alone and stand firm in resisting the cajoling, the menacing, the betraying, and the endangering, as well as the verbal, written, and media brutalizing.
It is the certainty that there is only naked partisanship within Gecom, and no allies either present or identifiable. While all of this is unfolding, the street is a blast furnace hovering at perilous explosive temperatures. A misstep, or even an unimpeachable stance and decision as corroborated by numbers, facts and circumstances on the ground, can open the floodgates to the unknown. Now who is capable of withstanding such hovering assaults? Who is capable of thinking straight and standing immovable? To quote Tertullian: Cum odio sui cœpit veritas. Simul atque apparuit, inimica est (‘The first reaction to truth is hatred. The moment it appears, it is treated as an enemy’). This is where all roads end.
This is where all involved parties want the chairperson to declare 25+24 equals 50% plus 1, and them the winner. Clearly, this is not about textbook approaches or the drawing board or old blueprints; those are out the window and are valueless. A close and critical look will reveal that there has never been a seamless peaceful transition of power in this country. Similarly, and given the recollections of May 2015, there is not one promised for a while to come.
Thus, the thoughtful, the civil, the easygoing, the ethical, and the well-meaning (if such do exist here), and whether nominated before or in the future are all so much political jetsam to be hurled overboard now (repeat now) to avoid serious damage later. They will not work, cannot deliver, and must not be risked. The stakes are just too high to err. After all, there are no second chances in this particular game of power.
Now if I were making the nomination of a list of six names, I would include an army man (Chabilall); find a judge retired or otherwise somewhere (there are two new Senior Counsel there); and name a legal luminary in the person of Nigel Hughes. The latter would be for the sheer audacity involved in such a move. Remember: thinking the unthinkable… Of course, the remaining three names have to embed a stealth candidate (a political mole or sleeper) in the mix. And just as sure as the sun comes up after the dawn, these are all non-starters in the life and death contests that national elections have always been. And that is that for me.