Yesterday, we published the picture of an MDC-T activist, Ayaya Kassim, who was callously scalded with hot cooking oil by people whom he said were Zanu PF youths.
“Three Zanu PF youths stormed my friend’s place and started interrogating him about my whereabouts. They eventually spotted me and started beating me up. They then poured hot cooking oil onto my face as I attempted to flee,” Kassim said.
It is a pity that such acts of violence continue week in week out with seemingly no political will to end them. We are a nation that is slowly emerging from a catastrophic socio-economic and political environment and such heinous acts do not aid our development cause at all.
What we need to educate each other about is the importance of peace to development. Sustainable development comes at a price — that of peace, stability and good governance. As a nation we should not pretend to be so primitive that we fail to see the obvious fact that political disorder and economic decline are inseparable.
We have all experienced how political strife leads to excruciating poverty. It also goes without saying that political disorder leads to abuse of human rights as in the case of Kassim cited above. As a nation we should reopen our eyes and see the clear interdependence between peace and sustainable development.
It is not a myth that development cannot be realised under conditions characterised by political instability, internal aggression and war. It would be fallacious to pretend that the bulk of our problems are external; they are deliberately inhouse. The security challenges the country faces are internal and they are a threat to human security and decent livelihood.
As a nation, we are confronted with an easy choice: stop barbaric violence and develop as a nation or continue along the violent path as a means to self-destruction. Peace is a precondition for harmony and harmony is the bedrock for development.
The presence of peace is concomitant with the presence of healthy existence and the absence of hostility. Peace does not narrowly mean the absence of war or conflict; it also means the presence of cultural and economic development.
The problem with those who hate peace is that it challenges their warped reasoning that violence is the only mode of achieving power.
If we look at Kassim’s picture, which is microcosmic of the devastation caused by violence to a nation, we see that there is nothing to admire in internal violent conflict.
There is no way we can build and fight at the same time. Of course, those with psychopathic reasoning will always defend acts of violence perpetrated by members of their group, but they should bear in mind that economic decline affects all and sundry as we saw in 2008.
We should pause and ask ourselves: What are we really, a nation of rational human beings or primordial barbarians? Why are we so stubborn that we do not want to learn from our past mistakes?
We should learn, as a nation, to find peace in our hearts.