Culture of violence needs urgent remedy
IN this edition, religious leaders under the umbrella body - Christian Council of Lesotho (CCL) — have decried the “growing culture of violence” in Lesotho and absence of mechanisms to peacefully resolve conflicts.
The church leaders’ lament comes amid a climate of fear that has engulfed the country following the myriad of killings and attempted murders over the course of this year and beyond.
Just recently, the daughter-in-law of All Basotho Convention (ABC) Member of Parliament (MP) for Lithoteng Constituency, Lehlohonolo Moramotse, was shot dead as she drove into her in-laws’ Lower Seoli residence.
Last month, Lesotho Times and Sunday Express editor Lloyd Mutungamiri was shot and critically injured at his home as he was returning from work in the wee hours of 10 July 2016.
There are also reports of public officials around the country being attacked and threatened at their homes by unknown assailants.
While some officials have strenuously dismissed concerns the violence and climate of fear were getting out of hand, it is refreshing to hear men of the cloth saying it like it is and appealing for leadership to stem these senseless attacks.
We couldn’t agree more with the religious leaders’ observation that murder cases were continuing to increase with each passing year. Some shadowy elements have given themselves the power to decide life and death, but the CCL is unequivocal that “God categorically says, ‘ You shall not kill’”. Violence is certainly not the solution; it is the most clear sign of our failures.
The CCL also hit the proverbial nail on the head by noting that hostility, hatred, despair and indifference were at the heart of a growing culture of violence.
These vices go against the tenets of Christianity, considering most Basotho consider themselves believers.
Naysayers of this observation should bear in mind the church is the light of the world and the salt of the earth and is morally bound to raise alarm if need be. It is their responsibility to be this nation’s moral conscience. Pretending this nation is not beset with the challenge of rampant cases of violence is akin to burying one’s head in the sand.
Whenever unknown assailants attack yet another hapless victim, we are always promised by the law enforcement authorities investigations would bring the culprits to book.
However, more often than not, the assailants are never caught to face justice for their dastardly deeds. As urged by the religious leaders, what is now needed are concrete plans and actions to re-establish peace and tranquillity in the country. It goes without saying that the absence of those two components would deal a mortal blow to the tourism sector, let alone foreign direct investment.
There can be no running away from the reality that Lesotho’s image has taken numerous knocks over these acts of violence.
That is why a reassessment of our priorities as a nation is an urgent priority. Lesotho has, and continues to lose so much ground in economic development owing to the perennial crises. What we need is selfless and visionary leadership from across the political divide.
A national dialogue is a good opportunity for building a new culture and a new value system for our country. The country needs everyone to work together for a better future for all.
After all, it has been proven the world over that national consensus and cohesion are the primary instruments for economic and social prosperity. The fighting has cost us lives and consigned Lesotho to the ignoble least developed country status while other nations have progressed.
The religious can also play a mediatory role in this dialogue to ensure peace and tranquillity return to the Mountain Kingdom.