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Pardoning water and electricity thieves: Destroying our home with our own hands

Jan 23,2019 - Last updated at Jan 23,2019

What were MPs thinking when they agreed to include the water and electricity thefts in the general pardon draft law?

This is a rhetorical question because the answer is too obvious: Populism at the expense of the rule of the law, the tune we have been singing over the past years.

To be honest with ourselves, what has been done to defend what is right and just has not been much, but the campaign against water thieves, who have shown unbelievable cheekiness in violating the law, was a bright spot, thanks to former water minister, Hazem Nasser, and dozens of inspectors, police force members and other law enforcment officials who risked their lives while raiding illegal installations.

In a Facebook post, Nasser commented:  "What shall we tell the brave men of the water authorities, Interior Ministry, police and gendarmerie… who were faced by gunfire [by water thieves]? Some have fallen martyrs, others were injured and some were subject to extortion and the lives of their family members threatened…They know that tolerating water theft simply means that Jordanians will suffer water supply disruptions because those 'who are not required to obey the law' have stolen water that is not their right, although they are not poor or even fall within the limited income segment. They just think they are powerful enough to do it."

Well said.

In 2014, the Ministry of Water and Irrigation announced the shocking fact that 70 per cent of water loss in Jordan was due to theft and illegal usage.

Stealing electricity has not been better news. The Energy and Minerals Regulatory Commission has said it recorded 19,962 cases of electricity theft in 2018. It has been estimated that this crime costs the country JD60 million a year.

The problem with these violations is that there is no record of how much the culprits owe the service suppliers. Former minister Nasser was reportedly working on settlements to restore some of the funds lost, but he was out of office before he could do anything, and our representatives in Parliament simply rule that these criminals among their constituents can get away with it.

What lesson are they giving our youth? Can we now blame law enforcement personnel if they turn a blind eye to such violations because it is simply not worth the sacrifice? After an aggressive campaign that lit hope in people's hearts that justice is finally served and that we are all equal before the law, all of that has gone down the drain, or will, if senators do not successfully fight the last battle for justice and equality and honour the spilled blood of our fallen law enforcement officers.

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