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08.11.2021 Feature Article

Lawfully Dysfunctional

Lawfully Dysfunctional
08.11.2021 LISTEN

He who makes laws and believes he makes the laws for others and not himself is a self-unconscious perpetrator of societal dysfunction. Society would not be benefitting from spending its resources on that kind of lawmaker. That kind of lawmaking attitude breeds arrogance and impunity. It encourages the rich and powerful lording it over the weak and poor. In short, public expression of that kind of attitude discourages lawfulness and rule of law without which a motherland would stumble and want in development.

No society that seeks to prosper must neither entertain nor protect a lawmaker who says: 'I make laws and because I make laws I'm not subject to the law; that is I cannot break the law.' That condones the creation of a weapon of exclusion when it's inclusion, as same law for everyone, which enables society to thrive and flourish because citizens behave and act lawfully. Indeed, when citizens live with conscience and the desire to do right, it creates an edge, an advantage, for that society in competition with others.

So far, it's been quiet over any possible sanction of the lawmakers who took double salary in contravention of laws they have made that no one should be paid double salary from the consolidated fund. Not even refund of what was not due them. It's ridiculous that they would claim immunity to take double salary because it happened as part of parliamentary business not just entering or leaving parliamentary business, but the business itself.

That notwithstanding, same hypocrites crowed and shouted about 'salary' for a first lady who works and gets greater results in service to the public than they with their lawmaking of legalizing STX type unproductive loans.

It's not good enough to abuse contracting loans; so let no lawmaker aggravate the dysfunction associated with abuse of the precious right to demonstrate too. When they, the double-salary takers were in charge and compatriots wanted their votes to count, they applauded the shooting in the eye of a compatriot eventually leading to his painful death. Today, they think they should not be touched after destroying public property in a demonstration.

Many times, they have used their sacred floor they keep desecrating with unfitting behaviour, to tell lies about innocent people. Victims of those lies get denied justice because the liar is immune from being held responsible for his lies. Not once, not twice, but many times over, they have accused the 'vettee' as bribing the 'vettor' without proof.

It's scandalous for a lawmaker to assume, let alone act as one of the appropriate ways, or pretending the only way, to show concern for the plight of his constituents is to lead a demonstration in which public property gets destroyed. They don't see it as compromising, doing things that they would be expected to check the executive from doing.

No society prospers by giving lawmakers carte blanche permission to abuse the system by being shielded from charges of 'destroying public property' or what the police say is 'refusing to honour' their lawful 'invitation' in their enforcement of the law he, the lawmaker and his colleagues, have lawfully enacted.

To refresh my compatriots' memory, the public order act that regulates the conduct of demonstrations is the work of the congresspeople. They were happy to use it to clamp down on demonstrations against their dictatorship. Yet today, they think they are privileged to flout it because that's what suits them.

Even if it's lawful, it's socially dysfunctional. So if we want to get anywhere, it shouldn't be countenanced. Any lawmaker suspected of breaking the law he made, should be compelled to face the judicial processes to clear themselves or suffer the punishment if found guilty. That would be equality before the law and not lawmaker above the law.

Privilege, as enjoyed by a select few and not all, serves society well when it's exercised with decency, decorum and dignity. Mob behaviour can never be with privilege. Any double standard undercuts its purpose and essence. So let no one deceive himself that it's beneficial to claim privilege in a situation where the public suffers human or material harm at the hand of the 'privileged.'

What is dignifying and serves the public well, is the one privileged owning up when he offends the law and apologising for the wrongdoing. When that happens, everyone gets to know and understand that it is not acceptable to break the law in a like manner.

Otherwise, it is up to law enforcement to uphold the law by holding whoever invokes privilege to be held accountable. In the current 'misunderstanding' regarding the privilege claim, law enforcement must insist on accountability. Rule of law is best practised by making those who violate the law, to answer for their actions. Anything short, will not augur well for compliance. Privilege, even when lawful, must be applied by ensuring it does not make a mockery of society's properly and sensibly laid down rules and regulations. It becomes unhelpful to building society when privilege is distorted.

By Kwasi Ansu-Kyeremeh

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