Cul­ture of vi­o­lence needs ur­gent rem­edy

Lesotho Times - - Leader -

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.

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