ALL the armies of the world acting in unison cannot defeat an idea whose time has come”. – Victor Hugo
It is inevitable that in view of the gory events, mayhem and loss of lives across the country, that the issue of the devolution of policing powers to the federating units and the communities has become inevitable. The bill now before before the National Assembly which has gathered support across divides is to be welcomed. It must however be diligently prepared and devoid of partisan bickering. The matter is far too serious for partisan, ethnic and other diversions.
The key issue is that of safeguards. In view of the performance (or in some instances, the lack of it) of critical institutions at the state level, there must be cast-iron safeguards to protect the citizenry. We are aware, of course, that in many federal states such as the United States, India, Australia and so forth, there are constitutional provisions to prevent or checkmate the abuse of the state police from misuse by an autocratic state governor. One often cited example comes from the United States of America where in 1958 President Dwight Eisenhower was compelled to use Executive Orders to take control of the Arkansas state police from the hands of Governor Orville Faubuswho was(mis) using the state police to obstruct the directives of the courts over school desegregation. There are a host of similar examples from federal states across the world. In view of the state of our politics the safeguards must be thoroughly spelt out.
A national democratic agreement which is the bedrock of a democracy is required so that we can have the sort of framework required. We believe that the mood of the times support this. This must be achieved expeditiously in the spirit of national unity.
Devolving the internal security mechanism is inevitable, as we begin the fight back against the anti-federalist tenor wrought by military intervention, and as a pathway as we move towards a more perfect union. It’s the way to go.