I read, with a lot of amusement, an article written in the New Times on the 7th of this month. Titled “Police, local authorities defer on Governor’s directive’, the gist of the story was that the law enforcement bodies in the Eastern Province blatantly ignored Governor Dr. Ephraim Kabayija’s rather silly directive that imposed a New Years Eve curfew on the residents of the said province.
The 7pm curfew was imposed because, as the Governor believed, drunken revellers would pose a security risk. I have utmost respect for Dr. Kabayija as a person but this error in judgment cannot be ignored in all honesty. I’ve written, previously, about the nanny culture that is becoming a pain in the rear.
A few years back, I remember a directive (although I never knew who exactly issued it in the first place) that made it illegal for bars in Kigali to operate beyond 11pm on weekdays. Well, as anyone enjoying a late night pint at their favourite neighbourhood can attest, that directive was thrown in the dustbin of history.
It seems to me that some of our leaders have failed to tell the difference between us, the citizens who gave them the mandate to lead, and their underage children.
My logic is thus; if we are responsible enough to be given the power to vote the nation’s leadership, then we are certainly smart enough to be able to know when we should stop ordering more drinks.
And if we don’t, that should be our business; if we end up breaking the law then the law enforcement agencies should just do their jobs and throw us in gaol. And that should be that.
But thrashing the Governors amusing directive isn’t the point of this piece. How many people have heard about the anti- public smoking directive?
I can bet that many people have heard that it was enacted. But here is the million dollar question, “who has actually heeded it”? I have the answer, NOBODY.
If you are like me, a frequent night owl, you’ll notice that there is always a hint of tobacco smoke wafting about. This is whether you’re in a bar, restaurant or nightclub.
I remember an incident a month that got a relative of mine quite hot under the collar. We’d gone to the Sole Luna restaurant to have some pizza, when to my companions chagrin we were soon enveloped by a cloud of smoke from the neighbouring table.
As everyone should know by now, smoking in public areas is illegal but surprisingly enough, when we called the manager he made us leave while the smokers kept puffing away in peace.
I’ve heard a rumour doing the rounds that some official, a while back, has proposed that smokers should only be allowed to damage their lungs in a specific area of Gisozi hill. And if they light their fags anywhere else they would face the wrath of the law.
Now, if that wasn’t a hare-brained scheme I don’t know what is. I think that one died a natural death, thank goodness. I mean, how in the world could that scheme be realised? It was unenforceable.
I find a law that is unenforceable rather painful. It’s a waste of time, for the persons who’ve thought up the laws, for the public and for the police who, instead of looking for bona-fide criminals, end up running after the ‘wrong’ kind of criminal.
I think that the fellows who are busy issuing these funny directives obviously have either too much time on their hands, are drunk of their own power or have gotten so out of touch with reality that they’ve forgotten about what kind of laws their constituents truly need. What other explanation can you give?