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23 May 2010

WHEN a lawmaker becomes a law-breaker

Lawmakers have a higher duty of care

WHEN a lawmaker becomes a law-breaker, it is evident that he is no longer qualified to sit in Parliament. It would be hypocritical of him to continue occupying his seat as the perception is that he does not respect the law, some rules of which he may have debated on.

While to err is human, those occupying public office are cursed with having to exercise a higher duty of care to ensure that their words and conduct are becoming of an elected representative.

Hence if they cannot be “whiter than white”, it is incumbent upon them to vacate their seat so the people can pick a more worthy candidate to represent them.

There is never an excuse for breaking the law. Staying on in office in spite of admission of guilt reflects nothing but arrogance and contempt for public opinion. The culture of accountability and collective or individual responsibility in this country is still in its infancy. This is perhaps an illustration of our “Third World” values while we aspire to be a First World nation.

Yet, a handful of politicians to their credit have embraced this practice and stepped down from their post after accepting responsibility.

However, they are in the minority group. It is for the nation’s benefit that we have representatives who respect the law and norms of society. If they refuse to do so and yet cling on to power, then it is up to their leadership to exercise the will of the people and wield the axe.

This country’s future cannot hinge on the likes of politicians who think they are above the law and that repercussions for their actions are limited to simple fines.

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