Scenario one: You buy two fat juicy mandazi with the hope of munching on them during lunch time. As soon as the bell is rung, you open your bag and lo and behold the mandazi are nowhere to be found.
You vent your frustrations to your friends and you all decide to turn the classroom upside down because surely the culprit must be one of your classmates.
Soon you catch the thief. He has already eaten one and has bitten through the other. You’re enraged and therefore, it’s justifiable to give him a few slaps and punches, right? Wrong.
Article 48 of the Rwandan constitution says, “In all circumstances, every citizen, whether civilian or military, has the duty to respect the Constitution, other Laws and regulations of the country.”
“In all circumstances” means you can’t respect the constitution at leisure. You’re not allowed to say, “I will obey the law only when I’m in a good mood.”
The constitution doesn’t provide for beating anyone up. In fact, article 155 of the penal code says, “Any person who intentionally commits minor acts of violence against another person shall be liable to a term of imprisonment of eight (8) days to two (2) months and a fine of Rwf50,000 to Rwf100,000 or one of these penalties.”
Now really, would you want to go to jail and/or pay a hefty fine over two doughnuts? I think not.
Scenario two: The doughnuts belong to your class teacher. As soon as you catch the thief, the teacher asks you to “teach him a lesson,” in other words beat him up. Say no. And don’t accept punishment for disobeying your teacher.
According to the second paragraph of article 48 of the national constitution, you have a right to defy orders received from your superior authority if the orders constitute a serious and manifest violation of human rights and public freedoms.
In conclusion therefore, there is no justification for breaking the law of the land. So what should you do with people who break the law? Alert the school authorities or the police because as a citizen, it is not your duty to execute justice.