Place tougher laws to end violence

Editorial

THERE seems to have been talking, talking and talking with not much action and change relating to violence.
It is time for those who perpetrate violence against the vulnerable – old, women and children – to be prosecuted to feel the full brunt of the law.
The time of condemning such cowardly acts through forums, countless media statements and etc are gone.
All law-abiding and right-thinking citizens must demand that the law be enforced and the Government push police to act.
Changing beliefs can take a long time.
Everyone has the duty of protecting the vulnerable and must hold accountable those who perpetrate violence against them.
Right now, the perpetrators are doing these things with exemption.
A growing trend, even in predominantly Christian communities, is that of throwing the first stone at their neighbours, friends and relatives and declaring them guilty of crimes that are sometimes difficult to prove.
These people are either accused of causing deaths of family members and other people in their communities, or of involvement in some sanguma (sorcery) practices that are detrimental to their communities.
This flourishing or rapidly-growing verbal mob justice, in which some community members have unilaterally arrogated to themselves the role of chief justices, unquestionably presenting the evidence and facts they want the public to see and passing the guilty verdict on others, without even listening to the accused, challenges us all to stand and reflect profoundly on who we really are as Christians.
This thinking pattern implies that those who are condemning others are standing on a higher moral pedestal or grounds than those they are condemning.
Yes, when we speak ill of others without evidence, we are actually and directly saying that we are better than they are.
Of late, women have been tortured based on some absurd assumption that sanguma is a hereditary practice passed on from mother to daughter.
When the media reports such incidents, leaders then join into the condemning of such and vow to ensure that such incidents would be investigated and perpetrators be reprimanded.
Then everyone turns away from it.
We understand it is not easy when dealing with traditional societies.
Local communities hold the key to ending sanguma activities, but leaders must step up and be strong.
The Government must focus on using power to resolve this conflict.
While it is workable, the danger is that the result may be temporary. Therefore, the Government should take a more proactive approach.
It should collaborate with all stakeholders to establish an amicable solution.
Unless the people are empowered and transformed, this is an attitude problem constructed and crafted by cultural and traditional practices and beliefs, thus, there is possibility that this issue will perpetuate.
Collaboration is the way forward to addressing this issue.
A society that does not protect the vulnerable, the children, the aged, the handicapped and the poor is a failed society.
Action has to start first with prevention.
We hope for some real change in 2019.

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