Time to act to stop the violence


ENOUGH is enough.
It is time for those who perpetrate violence against the vulnerable – old, women and children – to be prosecuted and made to feel the full brunt of the law.
The time of condemning such cowardly acts through forums, countless media statements, etc, are gone.
All law-abiding and right-thinking citizens must demand that the law be enforced and the government to push the police to act.
Changing beliefs can take a long time.
Everyone is tasked with 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 impunity.
A growing trend, even in predominantly Christian communities, is to throw the first stone at neighbours, friends and relatives, and declare them guilty of crimes that are difficult to prove,  like sorcery.
Sorcery allegations often follow the death of someone or of someone falling “mysteriously” ill.
The accused, usually a woman and in some cases a child, is then dragged by a vigilante group before a kangaroo court, judged and sentenced; the act of exorcism usually results in torture and death.
It’s mob justice.
The instigators will already have their story and use fear to appeal to the ignorant, and with emotions running high the victim’s cries are ignored, with members of the public standing by doing nothing.
And this in a country that is Christian, and as Christians these actions challenge us to reflect on who we really are.
This way of thinking implies that those who are condemning others  are  standing  on  a  higher moral ground than their victims.
Yes, when we speak ill of others without evidence, we are actually and directly saying that we are better than they are.
A six-year-old girl was tortured last week because of some absurd assumption that sorcery is a hereditary thing and must have been passed down to her from her mother.
The girl is the daughter of Kepari Leniata, from Enga, who was burnt alive in Mt Hagen in February 2013 over allegations she was a sanguma (sorcerer).
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has now joined the chorus of concerned and frightened voices calling for investigations. Rightfully he has expressed outrage at the torture of the six-year-old girl.
With police already dispatched to the area, we hope the perpetrators are brought to justice.
We understand it is not easy dealing with traditional societies; local communities hold the key to ending  sanguma activities, but our leaders should also stand up, speak out and be counted.
Although  it had  been  reported over the years, 2013 had been a significant one in history because  of  the number  of  people – men and women – reportedly murdered and tortured within a short span of time.
The government is now more focused on using the law to fight back, but the danger is that the result may only be temporary, requiring the government therefore to take a more proactive approach to collaborate with all stakeholders to find a lasting solution.
Unless the people are empowered and transformed, this
is an attitude problem constructed and crafted by cultural
and traditional practices and beliefs.
Collaboration is the way forward to deal with 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.