If there is anyone out there who has been helplessly watching on, frustrated with the indiscipline and lawlessness which are mercilessly battering our society, you are not alone. And what do you feel about a recent defence on camera by a lawmaker when he stated that for every rule, there is an exception? Scandalised? You are certainly not alone.

The lawmaker’s vehicle had been stopped by the police for breaching a traffic regulation, as some may have seen on video. Indeed the police made many arrests on that day in question for varied traffic offences. As his driver was being questioned, the not-too-happy lawmaker’s defence was that he was rushing for an 8 am meeting in Parliament and so was on a national assignment.  He further went on to state that for every rule, there is an exception to the effect that the police should let him go.

Impunity and lawlessness

While it may be true that there is an exception to every rule, there is no doubt that that interpretation has fed intothe level of lawlessness and impunity in this otherwise beautiful country of ours. The seemingly ingrained lawless acts practised religiously, almost as part of our daily lives, have no bounds.

It is common, especially on weekends, to see green ambulances rushing through traffic, mindless of traffic regulations and disturbing our peace with their siren because they have corpses on board. Their driverscertainly have wrong misconceptions that to every rule there is an exception.

A driver of a commuter bus commonly known as “Tro-tro” drives on the shoulders of the road during rush hour, carelessly overtaking others and forcing pedestrian off the side road simply because he has fifteen or more passengers on board who must get to work on time for varied national assignments. Should such a driver be left to continue driving carelessly because to every rule there is an exception?

Commercial motorbikes or “Okada” riders are terrorising drivers on our roads with their carelessness. They jump red lights as if it is the normal thing to do. They are knocking off side mirrors of law-abiding drivers, knocking down pedestrians and even running over some without stopping. Should one say that because they are providing fast passage for commuters to get to work on time, and sometimes carry sick persons to the hospital, they are good to go scot free?

Law unto ourselves

We have become a law unto ourselves even to the extent that we can throw rubbish in the nearest open drain because for every rule there is an exception? And when the rains come down, the same choked drains throw back to us the filth and our neighbourhoods get flooded causing havoc.

People are defecating in the open, in drains, along our beautiful beaches and in the bushes as if there are no Assembly bye-laws on open defecation. Urinating indiscriminately has become too common for comfort. Sometimes as early as 6 am, some drivers would pack their vehicles by the roadside to urinate as if they were not coming from the home.

Because for every rule there is an exception, churches, prayer centres and mosques have been located virtually behind people’s bedroom windows. Regardless of the laws on noise pollution, at odd hours, day and night, prayers on top of voices, singing and drumming with amplifiers at the highest pitch make sleep or rest impossible for residents of communities. Yet the Bible from which some of them copiously quote from says that “Everything is permissible – but not everything is beneficial”.

Did we leave illegal mining untouched for years because of its exception to the rule even though they gained the name “illegal” until we woke up one morning to see the damage to our water-bodies and the environment as a whole? Street hawking has taken the shine from our efforts to build beautiful cities and towns. Apart from them being eyesores, they end up leaving litter on our streets and ceremonial roads.  Are we leaving them untouched because street hawking is a form of income generation for some and so the exception to the rule must apply?  

What is wrong is wrong and one has been reminded over and over again that the law is no respecter of persons. Since laws are made to regulate conduct in societies and bring about peace and orderliness, as much as it depends on us as citizens, we should conform to rules to facilitate a much more beautiful law-abiding country.  All things may be permissible but not all things are beneficial.