How to break the laws you make
Breaking the law is easy.Now before you protest or make a face hear me out; for almost every living soul colouring within the lines that the law provides doesn’t take much thought, you just follow the rules, after all that is what they’re made for.
But for a precious, privileged few this task could not be harder, now I’m not going after the 1% of wealth folks scattered around the globe who seem to have it all rather my disbelief and dismay is focused on a more concentrated bunch of unruly law makers who all call Kenya home.Our guys and girls in uniform and the equally untamed but more handsomely paid law makers (Governors, Senators and MP’s) of the nation have proved time and time again that breaking the law is as easy as learning to count. They have succeeded in bringing both dishonour and shame to not only to themselves and their professions, but to the country as a whole.
Under normal circumstances and certainly in other nations around the world the mere sight of a police inspires a strong sense of security in their citizens, who know they can trust these men and women with their lives and safety, people are comforted by the knowledge that any threat or problem they have will swiftly be neutralised, at least that’s what I’ve heard.
In this country that notion seems lost on the entire police force. The truth of the matter is when we spot police headed our way Kenyans - more often than not – have reason to turn and run or drive a mile in the opposite direction because one of two things is bound to happen: 1) you will be pulled over for some utterly nonsensical reason and asked to kindly hand over some money so as to avoid being given a ticket/ being taken down to the station.
Sometimes the cops don’t even bother with this time consuming ruse instead they simply resort to telling the truth saying: ‘he is out of money and starving/ that life has been hard for him (aka it is mid-month and I’m broke) and sometimes they may try several other tactics all to part you from you hard earned cash. If you don’t fall for it they will angrily let you go.
2) And this only applies to protestors and rioters of any kind and the unlucky bystander who happens to be loitering nearby. The police come at you with their favourite crowd parting weapon: teargas. Teargas used to be reserved for protesting youth and adults but the force hit an all time low last week when the stinging vapour of the canisters were intentionally aimed at a group of 8-12 year olds when they left their classes at break time of their playground which happened to be the adjacent lot of land and on finding that it had been taken over- by land grabbers- wanted to take it back. A media and social media firestorm was soon to follow #OccupyPlayground was trending for a while.
What’s worse is that on occasion the police have used live bullets to part protesting crowds, causing the loss of innocent Kenyan lives.
The police are not the only ones behaving badly and getting away with it:
We call them waheshimiwa a title that has proved itself ill deserved as the honourable are capable of acting in the most dishonourable ways, and getting away with it without so much as a slap on the wrists. These elected officials may at times feel the need to impose their might or throw their considerable weight around case in point being Senator Mike Sonko whose security guards have been caught openly brandishing their weapons, in what one can only assume is a show of power/ a message to keep off.
The latest law maker behaving badly and breaking the laws he so eloquently said ‘he made’ is Alfred Keter who went off at the mouth with an insult peppered rant at the workers at the Gilgil weigh bridge, he then went a step further- as if the insults were not enough- and did some name dropping of the presidential kind while he was at it. This seeming lack of self control is not the first of its kind as Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero too lost his otherwise very cool head and slapped women’s Representative Rachel Shebesh across the face in what was widely known as: ‘the slap heard around Nairobi’.
What these two incidents have in common apart from the hot tempers that were allowed to flare up is that both these Chapter 6 contravening acts is that they were both captured by bystanders with mobile phones and immediately went viral.
Chapter 6 of the Kenyan constitution states in part that (Sections 73 & 75):73: Responsibilities of Leadership:
(a) is a public trust to be exercised in a manner that--
(i) is consistent with the purposes and objects of this Constitution;
(ii) demonstrates respect for the people;
(iii) brings honour to the nation and dignity to the office; and
(iv) promotes public confidence in the integrity of the office; and
(b) vests in the State officer the responsibility to serve the people, rather than the power to rule them.
75: Conduct of State Officers:
(1) A State officer shall behave, whether in public and official life, in private life, or in association with other persons, in a manner that avoids--
(a) any conflict between personal interests and public or official duties;
(b) compromising any public or official interest in favour of a personal interest; or
(c) demeaning the office the officer holds
To successfully break the law you must know it or, even better be a part of the process that goes into making it, which in this country means arguing about it in loud often raised tones and sometimes even come close to going to blows over it- can’t these law makers avoid shaming themselves even while doing the very job they were elected to do?
Lastly: To all Waheshimiwa out there:If you feel your cool head getting away from you might I suggest you: a) take a breath, count to ten, then think before you speak or act and b) make sure that those in the vicinity do not have mobile phones handy and lastly do not blame the media or social media for your own bad manners. Sir/madam it’s not their fault that almost every person in the country has a camera phone.