No one is above the law
We read with distaste the open apology Inspector General of Police, Francis Munu (in photo) rendered in parliament earlier this week on behalf of the force for the arrest of a Member of Parliament.
The reason for the arrest was that Hon. Magnus Kallon was driving an unregistered and unlicensed vehicle on the street of Freetown.
According to the Majority Leader in Parliament, Hon. SBB Dumbuya of the ruling APC party, the action by the police amounted to contempt of parliament.
The IG was forced to apologize because, as in the words of the majority leader, the police had prevented the MP from performing his duty in parliament as he arrived late that day.
Knowing fully well that the MP had not done the correct thing, the IG was constrained to apologize, at least due to his respect for the House.
The IG and every citizen for that matter know that no one is above the law of the land. In particular, it is against the law for anyone to drive anywhere in this country without a valid driver’s license, not to mention driving an unregistered and unlicensed vehicle. The law does not make any qualification or exemption to the rule.
And here was a law-maker who was expected to respect the laws of this land openly violating the law, and having failed to properly identify himself the police had cause to arrest him.
In fact, the MP didn’t need to identify himself as that would be an attempt to solicit special attention. So it is improper to say the policeman in question should have known that the culprit was a law-maker and therefore need not arrest him.
As far as this press is concerned the police were acting within the law. The IG had no reason to apologize for his men doing the right thing.
If an ordinary Sierra Leonean had done it, that person would be languishing in a police cell waiting to pay the price for violating a serious traffic rule.
We agree that parliamentarians are covered by parliamentary immunity but not for a criminal conduct done in the public domain.
We can recall years back when Hon. Fatmata Hassan was sent to Pademba Road Prison having being implicated in manslaughter case by a sitting magistrate.
The same could be said of the late Hon. S.B. Marah when he was arraigned before a court of law for slapping a police officer while on duty.
The above mentioned scenarios explain the fact that nobody is above the law, irrespective of one’s status in society.
So, if Hon. Magnus Kallon of the opposition SLPP had done something that warranted his arrest, well and good. By virtue of his standing in society he is supposed to set a good example. An MP must not be seen violating our laws with impunity.
Therefore, we insist, the IG had no reason to apologize for wrong doing on the part of a parliamentarian who ought to know better.
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