If peace were a cultural heritage, we would, without second thoughts, have said Malawi’s cultural heritage is based on the peace it has enjoyed since independence.
However, because peace cannot be described as a culture, we will just say peace is in the DNA of Malawians. This is something to be proud of.
That said, we feel that the peace we have been enjoying is at risk, cases of violence perpetuated by both political party followers and, as we have come to learn sadly, law enforcers being cases in point.
Over the weekend, violence reared its ugly face, sadly again, when some party zealots descended on members of the Chilima Movement in Mulanje District, one of the strongholds of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party.
The sin those who went to address a meeting there committed was to tow a political line that is different from that pursued by perpetrators of the latest episode of violence to be registered in the country.
As one of the meeting organisers, Noel Masangwi, aptly said, perpetrators of violence should be reminded that we voted for freedoms in 1994 and no one has a right to deny Malawians these freedoms.
Just when we were about to believe that the Mulanje incident— coming a short while after acts of violence also marred a by-election in the same district earlier this year— was an ‘accident’, police in Mzuzu showed us that violence can be systematically nurtured when they descended on Zodiak Broadcasting Station reporters who were covering running battles between police and vendors.
The crimes the reporters committed was to do their job— which is to cover the event.
Although Police say they are investigating the issue, we feel that, sometimes, police officers get carried away by overzealousness and this taints the image of the service. There is no need to remind officers that they are no longer a force but service, which means they have to be seen to be serving the interests of citizens and not their animalistic egos.
We know that the natural man, unbound by laws and ethics, is bound to destroy others instead of building bridges.
Sadly, this has no place in a democracy like ours and that is why we have ethics and laws.
Moving forward, let us close the leaf of violence in our book and go back to the chapter where we are all peaceful and loving. That is the Malawi we want.
Violence should have no place, not even a temporary one, in our DNA.