On the re-opening of SLPP Office … “We would never encourage violence” John Benjamin...

Lawlessness and indiscipline

There is no gainsaying that the level of lawlessness and indiscipline in this country has risen to epic proportions.
When we started complaining about the lawlessness of the okada riders, to the extent that one had the audacity to disregard the security cordon and hit the official car carrying the President and the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon as they were leaving the SLBC premises after the commissioning as a national broadcaster, no one paid us any heed.
We complained that running after the offending okada rider on that day and catching up with him along Pademba Road and giving him the beating of his life, was in itself an act of indiscipline by the security officials.
We said so because we believe that there must be a system of law and order and not jungle justice. When jungle justice prevails no problem is solved, in fact society degenerates to the base because that becomes the (un)official law.
The ways of the law and how it should operate in a civilised and decent society has grossly been undermined in this country because the custodians of the law have themselves openly demonstrated their total disregard for its operations, such that ordinary civilians are left to figure out which is practical - to believe in the rule of law or operate under the rubrics of jungle justice.
When OSD officers were alleged to have been involved in the brutal murder of a journalist in a land matter at Jui, we sounded the warning note that this trend must not be encouraged. We feared then that if police officers kill and are not arrested and prosecuted then civilians may well be their next victims.
We have seen what has happened since then in Kono, Bo, Bumbuna, Wellington, Goderich and Clarence Street. In all these incidents, civilians have been the victims, and it is only the Goderich case that an attempt has been made at prosecution.
To successfully enforce discipline, it is from the first offence that punishment is administered. Any other example does not fall under the principles of strict discipline. Infact it emboldens the perpetrators.
And so the script is written in the history books of this country that on Thursday 2nd August 2012 a serving government minister of a senior ministry like Defence was physically attacked and roughed up with clothes allegedly torn.
The audacity of it is mind boggling. But it is not totally surprising because the level of discipline has degenerated to such a level that people have become emboldened to challenge authority, infact to spit in the face of authority.
Although we sympathise with the Minister (no one should wish that kind of humiliation for even your enemy) we however wish to say that this sort of behaviour was encouraged by the very Ministry of defence.
These same soldiers whose former colleagues had just disgraced their Minister acted in a manner much like rebels, disregarding any law, and any iota of discipline which is the hall mark of their institution, descended on two Awoko reporters, beat the hell out of them with gun butts and expressed their basest instinct by stealing the battery from one of our cameras.
How shameful. How disgraceful.
But this is what we should expect when lawlessness reigns in the streets and indiscipline reigns within our security forces. It is not too late to turn things around, but when everything now seems to be sacrificed on the altar of politics we wonder what could ever be done before November 17.

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