EDITORIAL: A country of law, not discretion

14 January 2022 | Opinion

Discretion is described as the power of officials to act according to the dictates of their own judgment and conscience. In such instance, personal judgement outweighs the law and its provisions.

And this is what police chief Sebastian Ndeitunga did when he ordered his traffic officers not to issue fines for government cars caught with expired licence discs. An arbitrary decree from the man who’s only job is law enforcement. The irony doesn’t get any worse!

Aristotle called this kind of behaviour government by personal fiat. What Ndeitunga did in this case was raise his fist – and voice – to his officers, like a despot. But at least for most despots, they first change the law in order to carry out their draconian directives. Ndeitunga flashed his middle finger to existing law.

The danger here is the precedent that the police chief is setting – a system where some are exempted from obeying the laws of our country.

So despotic is Ndeitunga’s directive that the entity at the apex of law enforcement, which he heads, must toss existing law and replace it with his personal feelings – like a junta in Myanmar.



Government and its leaders are subject to law in equal measure, as with all citizens. We except leaders to be consistent and impartial – and this responsibility weighs more on a police chief than any other official of authority.

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