Lincoln Lewis must be praised for his tenacious effort in the media to ensure truth will out on the facts of the CCJ’s Consequential Order of 12th July in the NCM case. The ruling of our Chief Justice (CJ) on Wednesday described the opposition’s application for an order for the cabinet, including the President, to resign as “wholly misconceived”, “vexatious” and “an absolute abuse of the court”. The Chief Justice was barely less severe in her ruling on August 14th, describing the failed application to compel GECOM to hold elections by September 18th as based on flawed reasoning and cherry picking. Hopefully, the CJ’s reaffirmation of the CCJ’s judgement will bring closure not just to the overextended legal wrangling, but also to the contest between facts and willful fiction regarding the CCJ’s orders.
Expectedly, any hot-button court verdict will provoke intense public discussion. Such discussion normally tracks along two lines. One line would assess, at varying levels of expertise, the technical merit of the court’s decision. The other would dwell on nailing down the exact meaning and implications of what the court decided. In the aftermath of the CCJ’s ruling on the NCM, however, what also emerged in the public domain was a third and extremely alarming occurrence; viz., a crusade to belittle the CCJ’s orders and to fool the public into believing that the CCJ had fixed September 18th as the election deadline and had, secondly, ruled that the President, government and cabinet must resign.
Outside of the PPP, the main instigators of this campaign of fiction have been another newspaper and Mr Ralph Ramkarran. It is the dubious achievement of these actors that the truth of the CCJ’s orders quickly dimmed into uncertainty or obscurity in many minds, despite the efforts of Lincoln Lewis and the government to set the record straight. Such was the impact of the tale-telling that key diplomatic players swallowed the storyline without fact-checking.
No doubt, the crusade acquired some credibility because it was conducted or supported by a few prominent lawyers (the Bar Association included). What also helped was the clever but deceptive tactic of insisting that positions were based on the constitution, thus conveniently ignoring or beclouding what the CCJ or CJ ruled as the solely mandated interpreters of that very constitution.
In re-litigating the matters in the High Court, however, the PPP unwittingly has helped truth to retake much needed ground from fiction. The recent rulings of the Chief Justice have significantly increased certainty and comfort within the citizenry that the courts never did set an election deadline and that the government always had full legal standing to continue to govern. Would the CJ’s reaffirmation of the CCJ’s rulings now silence the campaign of misinformation? Probably not, as strong passions still exist that the government must be made to suffer something worse than caretaker status as a result of the passage of the NCM, the discredited democratic credentials of the motion notwithstanding.
Yet, it would now be beyond disrespect of the courts and the public should the storytellers still insist on continuing their campaign of public deception.
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