All over the world, our country has been praised as having one of the best constitutions ever written, something our legal scholars and government takes great pride in.
We have been praised as a model democratic country in Africa and around the world. Moreover, for the most part in the history of our independent nation, we have had law and order on our streets.
Over the last few years, however, our law that is highly praised has been put to the test to see how it relates to reality – from corruption involving some of the highest offices in government, regulations set to curb a pandemic and recently with the spike in gender-based violence cases, our law had a chance to flex its superior muscles and show what it can do to keep law and order in the country.
The safety of the citizens always comes first; it’s what all the security branches of government say, especially in turbulent times. I am sure they mean what they say – just like the laws they have in place to protect the lives and dignity of all the citizens. I am sure they mean it when they say it.
While the law and law enforcement officials have been effective in dealing with some crimes such as poaching and secession, it has also been painstakingly inefficient with other crimes such as corruption – and in recent times, gender-based violence, especially towards women and children.
The courts are slow to process and hear the cases, while the law enforcement officials are slow to react and investigate the cases when they are reported, a slow and inefficient system in reality but praiseworthy on paper.
A country cannot have law and order when it feels the very laws put in place to protect them are only available on paper but not on the ground; it is a recipe for disaster.
In this case, a disaster is when the citizens of a nation turn against one another and fight over the same thing, each accusing the other party of not following the laws and rules in place – that is when a country loses its laws and descends into chaos. That should be avoided at all cost.
Our elders fought for our liberation from oppression and illegal occupation of our country; they wanted laws to be fair and orderly.
The youth grew up in a free and liberated country; they do not expect to be oppressed and overlooked when it comes to the application and interpretation of the law.
We all want law and order as the constitution intended.
* Olavi Popyeinawa
* Twitter: @olavipopyeinawa
* Email: firstname.lastname@example.org