A few months ago, the people of Guatemala stared corruption in the eye and said enough was enough. The Parliament went on to pass a motion stripping the President of Guatemala of his immunity and a corruption case was lodged against him. The President is now facing criminal charges, along side other Government officials.
At the same time, there was a scandal in the United States of America with regards to Volkswagen over falsified emission tests that pushed the CEO to resign pending investigation of the matter. After leaving his seat as Prime Minister of Italy, charges of fraud and corruption were brought against Silver Berlusconi.
Hosni Mubarak is also under trial because of having led an oppressive government against its people. FIFA’s President Blatter and other officials have also been linked to corruption scandals and were thereafter suspended from their positions.
Various officials in Nigeria are being charged with charges of fraud and corruption by the Economic and Fraud Commission. Nuremberg trials are another case example. I guess that’s why Hitler chose to kill himself because he knew he couldn’t escape the long arm of the law.
The rule of law is a simple principle – no one is above the law. This rule is the backbone to democracy. Every one and any one must face judgment for their actions and wrongdoings.
There is nothing as worse as a society that has lost trust in its system. The lack of trust means that people will take matters into their hands.
It is common to hear of lynching and mob justice- well this may be just idle youth who are paid to kill or frustrated citizens looking for outlets to remove their stress- but mob justice has been associated with a society that distrusts its system and knows that the culprits though arrested will be released.
Now let me set something straight. As a lawyer, I understand how criminal cases can be tricky. The burden of proof is always on the State and if there is not enough evidence to sustain their case, then the Judge has no option than to release the culprit. Innocent till proven guilty right! The truth may be staring right in the Judge’s face but if evidence is not in favour of the State, the culprit is free.
Or to be politically correct- the accused is discharged from the offence. However, at times mob justice is a result of ignorance and failure of the citizens to understand the justice system and the right of an accused to be granted bail. Some citizens fail to appreciate that being on bail does not equate to charges have been dropped or the individual has been set free.
Leaders need to recognize that they are not saviours or messiahs who have the ability to save the world. If they fail to solve a problem then they should eat humble pie and allow the chance to someone else.
Above all, leaders need to be able to accept when things are not working and to admit they have failed but as well, state what options are being taken to mend the wrong or bring the focus back to the problem. Leaders need to be remember that they are human beings and wrongs made in office need to written right by the proper system.
Even Potus has stated that the criminal justice system in the US is broken and needs fixing. He is bold enough to admit that he is failing his country and every citizen, whether they voted in him or not regardless of their race or ideology.
In a country where the rule of law is applied selectively, most people already know that the institutions set up to be watch dogs are just barking dogs that don’t bite, allowing the high and mighty to walk free while the poor and weak suffer from the formers’ greedy acts.
I accept the fact that no country is corruption free, but the level of corruption in not only Kenya but also other developing countries mostly in Africa is soaring and most of all infringing on the human rights of citizens. When a citizen is left with no option but to bribe so as to receive a basic service such as health, security or education, their rights are infringed.
Citizens need to feel that justice will be fairly administered, without delay or favour. It is not enough to bring charges against an official. Citizens need to be assured that the government will not protect its own but that it will fight to respect and uphold the rights of the citizens. A corruption case involving Kenya and British officials was commenced and concluded within a few months but in Kenya, the citizens are still waiting to see if the government will prosecute its own.
Responsibility now lies with the Government and it finding ways to engage its citizens encourage and reassure them that the Government is on their side, it is either way deemed a government of the people, by the people and for the people.
The justice system must be vigilant in prosecuting those who have been implicated in corruption and fraud. It is not enough just to mention or point out individuals. Such individuals should be pressured to step down form their seats and allow for investigations and if they are tied to the allegations, then they should face the law. If a President can be stripped off his own immunity, why should leaders be allowed to forcefully hold onto their positions?
Where there is transparency, accountability and fairness in a system, citizens are more likely to have confidence and trust in the system. Where there is justice there is progress.