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King urges government to uphold rule of law, combat corruption

Aug 07,2018 - Last updated at Aug 07,2018

Supremacy of the rule of law and “no one is above the law”  is a principle His Majesty King Abdullah has been relentlessly emphasising. This same theme was just urged days ago as the King, in his capacity as the head of the executive authority, presided over a Cabinet meeting last Sunday. At the same meeting, King Abdullah guided the government to alleviate the burdens on the Jordanians. He stressed the urgency for combating corruption as a key priority, expressing full support for anti-graft effort. The Jordanian Monarch also reaffirmed that special interests will not be served at the expense of the country.

But the King’s keen concern about the need for the full and the strict application of the country’s law was clearly highlighted in his Discussion Papers, which in their totality constitute a road map for the modern civil government; the efficient, competent, clean, democratic government that King Abdullah believes his people and his country deserve.

The other affliction the King is determined to fight to the finish, as just said, is the deeply troubling phenomenon of corruption.

Leniency in law enforcement, from which our country clearly suffers, is the root cause of any existing corruption. It is in fact the root cause of every malfunction in the society. Corruption and lawlessness feed on each other. While corruption constitutes routine violation of the law, violation of existing laws is also vital for corrupt dealings in any human activity. It is, therefore, evident that no effort to eradicate corruption would ever succeed without ensuring that the greater majority of any society, if not the entire society, respect and observe their country's laws.

Full application of law puts an end to all manifestations of unlawful behaviour in any society, such as smuggling, bribery, dishonesty, inefficiency, abuse of power, favouritism, nepotism, tax evasion, tax fraud, steeling, cheating, money laundering, human trafficking, intrusion on others’ rights, traffic violations and a countless tally of other serious social ills.

Inadequate law enforcement is in itself unlawful. In most civilised countries, the law subjects law enforcement personnel to punishment for any failure on their part in tracking down and checking violations, without making any exceptions or showing undue leniency for any reason.

On top of the fact that it is illegal for any official operator to pardon or to make any exemption of a violation on his or her own discretion, it is also against sound logic to do so. Being based on personal judgment, let alone whim, arbitrary exemptions are legally unauthorised. Only a judge can rule on cases on the basis of what the law provides.

Leniency in law application is very dangerous. It compromises the very integrity of the law to the point where it becomes completely ineffective. Once people get used to getting away with small violations, they become motivated to move to bigger and more serious violations. Once people who usually observe the law for being committed and responsible law abiding citizens notice others escape accountability and due punishment for breaking the law, they lose interest in being the only good citizens.

Prolonged periods of law enforcement negligence make any correction extremely difficult, as people become so used to functioning outside the law to the point where they take the abnormal state of affairs as their acquired right. They fight authorities' attempts to reinforce the law when concerned authorities decide to do so.

We have seen this happen in our capital, Amman, with street vendors who, illegally and for extended periods, occupied pedestrian pavements, emergency lanes on major highways, main roads in other Jordanian cities and towns, and other public spaces. It took the concerned authorities strenuous effort to fight the phenomenon and yet with partial success.

The main root cause of the traffic problem in Amman and the other major Jordanian cities is leniency in traffic law application, a fact that has been compounding the problem, with people paying little or no attention to the rule of law.

Recently, the traffic department announced a one-week campaign for tracking down a single traffic violation, which is the use of mobile phone while driving. The campaign message was liable for misrepresentation despite police explanations otherwise. Many asked if the one-week campaign meant that the law would only be enforced that week, and that any illegal phone use before and after the campaign period would not be arraigned. Obviously, that was not the purpose of the campaign.

What is unquestionable is that the law applies all the time and that violators should be tracked down all the time. I rarely see a driver not on the phone, despite the proven and the lethal dangers involved to anyone on the street as result of mobile phone usage while in the driver’s seat.

Other dangerous violations, such as speeding, putting young children or babies in front seats, allowing young children to sit on widows’ edges with their bodies outside the vehicle or out of the sunroof, driving in the wrong direction of one way streets or blocking the other side of traffic when some drivers take over on the wrong lane to illegally by pass delayed traffic. I see this happening every day. No amount of police attention can cope with the volume of continuous and routine violations in the absence of a comprehensive organisational plan. It is fair to acknowledge with much appreciation the Traffic police dedicated efforts, but they can hardly cope.

In reality, and while non-abidance by the law is the root cause of all evils, abidance on the other hand resolves most of the problems, leads to better living conditions, healthier economy, more secure life, happier and more satisfied citizens, and prosperous societies.

That is the way for alleviating the burdens of the Jordanian citizens as the King is demanding. It is the way for realising much more of the advantages the King wants his Jordanian family to enjoy.

The uniquely wise leadership of King Abdullah has offered solutions for each and every problem we have been facing. The prescription has long been there. Why not use it?

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Comments

Corruption IS the GREATEST problem in this country and can only hope and pray the wise King will not only urge, but demand the government STOP the lawlessness in every area, so that true change can happen.

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