Police need not only to be exemplary as security forces, but as citizens as well. No one is above the law, and all Rwandans are Rwandans first. That means that, although the police hold a special place and role in our society, they hold the same responsibilities as anyone else, and then some.
Corruption is especially dangerous in the police units. Democracy is built not on strength of state, but strength of law. Prosperous Rwanda will only come when rule of law is accepted as the natural governing force. Corruption destroys this; it makes it rot.
What is important though is that police should not be exemplary for the sake of their job security, or because Big Brother is telling them to; it is because all Rwandans’ interests must lie ultimately in the same place; a safe, secure community where people can live freely from the fear that security is another word for bully. Corruption makes this happen.
It is commendable then to see that recently, of the more than 120 officers sacked this week over wide-ranging disciplinary cases, over half had been found corrupt.
It is then commendable that the government and police forces of Rwanda and the United Kingdom have begun working together in leadership courses aimed at not simply “cleaning up the act” of corrupt officials, but in turning police into leaders and role models for other citizens in all aspects of life.
There is a general feeling of satisfaction that bad apples there may be, but on the whole our national police is moving with all swiftness to more professionalism than might be said of many African brother countries that have enjoyed decades and decades of stability.
Not to make us complacent though. The difference between them and us is that we are fighting any kind of rot with a lot of zeal and not just hot air.
This is the major difference which must be rammed down every citizen’s throat that there is absolutely no tolerance for rot, everywhere in Rwanda’s institutions, and not just for police. It should be for police as it should be for exam cheats.