Is govt build­ing or restor­ing peace?

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life and still claim that they do so in the name of peace. Per­haps, this con­cep­tual de­bate would be in­com­plete with­out bring­ing in what states nor­mally un­der­stand by vi­o­lence. Be­fore com­ing up with ef­fec­tive ways of deal­ing with vi­o­lence, con­cep­tu­al­i­sa­tion should not only be pro­gres­sive but be rel­e­vant and com­men­su­rate with the dy­nam­ics through which it man­i­fests.

Vi­o­lence takes dif­fer­ent forms; there is di­rect vi­o­lence which in the form of phys­i­cal or ver­bal abuse, or the threat of abuse of one party by an­other. Clearly this is not the only form of vi­o­lence be­cause, be­yond phys­i­cal in­jury or in­flic­tion of pain, peo­ple still ex­pe­ri­ence tor­ture.

This refers to struc­tural tor­ture, which is the main­te­nance of dom­i­nance by one group at the cen­tre of power over an­other at the pe­riph­ery through struc­tures set to main­tain that kind of skewed bal­ance and asym­met­ri­cal power re­la­tion­ship per­pet­u­ally. Struc­tural vi­o­lence is built-in within so­cial and cul­tural in­stitu- tions, po­lit­i­cal as well which play within the ac­cepted frame­work, some­times legally to ad­vance op­pres­sion. Tak­ing a prac­ti­cal ex­am­ple, when Ba­sotho did not give any party, both in 2012 and 2015, a popular man­date to gov­ern and politi­cians sought a tech­ni­cal man­date, were they guided by those who voted them in choos­ing coali­tion part­ners? Be­sides the re­al­ity that the law does not con­done it, politi­cians claim that it would be im­pos­si­ble to con­sult their vot­ers at that point. While the law and prac­ti­cal­i­ties may be used as jus­ti­fi­ca­tion, is it not dic­ta­tor­ship at its best within a democ­racy that peo­ple who vote party A as a way of re­mov­ing party B from power are not con­sulted when their votes are used to re­move from power the party they wanted in power or re­tain in power the one they wanted to re­move?

It is quite clear that politi­cians would pre­fer a sce­nario that gives them un­re­stricted power and turn that into an ac­cept­able prac­tise within the so called democ­racy while many vot­ers are likely to look for op­tions that em­power a voter in a democ­racy. So it should be clear when gov­ern­ment talks about peace.

Pos­i­tive peace is in­clined to­wards hu­man devel­op­ment, lib­er­a­tion and ful­fil­ment. In this way peace does not re­ally de­pend on the abil­ity of the sys­tem to con­trol the be­hav­iour, in­ter­ests and po­ten­tial of sub­jects to go to war, to mount protests, to op­pose or ad­vance ideas com­pletely dif­fer­ent from those prop­a­gated by the au­thor­i­ties, but rather on the ac­tivism of the sys­tem in mak­ing peo­ple free, live har­mo­niously to­gether, en­joy their rights and free­doms and meet their life ne­ces­si­ties.

This is peace and for it to ex­ist; there must be in­fra­struc­ture which has never been in­sti­tuted in this coun­try. So the ques­tion is whether the gov­ern­ment wants to re­store or build peace.

Build­ing peace should go along with the com­mit­ment to build in­sti­tu­tions that are aimed at pro­mot­ing that cul­ture of peace while restor­ing goes back to the rhetoric when it will be po­lit­i­cal gam­bling, to­day it ex­ists be­cause one is in power and to­mor­row it does not be­cause the other is in op­po­si­tion.

The United Na­tions de­fines the cul­ture of Peace as ”a set of val­ues, at­ti­tudes, modes of be­hav­iour and ways of life that re­ject vi­o­lence and pre­vent con­flicts by tack­ling their root causes to solve prob­lems through dia­logue and ne­go­ti­a­tion among in­di­vid­u­als, groups and na­tions”.

This res­onates well with pol­icy in­ten­tions that Le­sotho needs com­pre­hen­sive peace ar­chi­tec­ture for the pro­mo­tion of peace and ef­fec­tive man­age­ment of con­flicts at var­i­ous lev­els of so­ci­ety. So which route will it be?

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