GENDER FOCUS with EMELDA MWITWA
CONTROLLING oneâ€™s emotions under extreme provocation is a mark of maturity which can save us from.
Teacher assaults school manager; man burns house and kills his daughter after quarrelling with his wife; brothers beat and murder their brother – all cases point to a serious anger management problem within our society.
There are very few people, if any, who have made the right decisions out of rage.
And people usually regret and sometimes have to endure life-long consequences for decisions made out of emotions because some actions are irreversible.
Actions triggered by impulsive temperament can damage a reputation that one has built over the years and sometimes no amount of damage control can restore what has been lost.
In some instances, people who are given to fits of temperament find themselves in situations where they have to pay dearly, sometimes with their own lives.
In common cases, there are numerous victims of untamed anger who have died because someone failed to reason, but rather acted on the spur of the moment.
Of late we have witnessed numerous crimes of passion which point to a serious anger management problem which threatens our safety within our communities and the confines of our homes.
The apparent upsurge of crimes of passion in which children have also fallen prey, are among other reasons, propelled by failure to control oneâ€™s temperaments.
Socio-cultural factors may also be at play for gender-based violence (GBV), but we cannot overrule the anger management problem as the precipitator of violence.
Just think of the video that immediately went viral of a Roma Girls teacher Daswell Sichilongo pummelling his head teacher, Sister Emma Chakupaleza, over a purely administrative issue.
I missed the news on television on July 19 when the incident happened, but I managed to see the video on WhatsApp.
Eeeh, I was terrified to see how Mr Sichilongo mercilessly thumped and kicked the nun as she cried helplessly for help.
It was just by Godâ€™s grace that somehow Sr Emma survived the ordeal – with those kicks in the head – the incident could have ended tragically.
Mr Sichilongo just failed to control his emotions when the nun locked out his family for his failure to settle rental arrears.
Although I sympathised with the teacher and his family for the situation they found themselves in, beating the nun or any other person was in no way a solution to the problem.
Sr Emma is not only a school manager but a mother and a revered religious leader, thus violating her body and dehumanising her in the manner that Mr Sichilongo did was unfair.
The unfortunate incident also exposed the nun to cyberbullying, looking at the insensitive comments people were making about her when the video of her assault was uploaded on social media.
I was actually shocked with sentiments on radio and social media that somehow tipped in favour of Mr Sichilongo because of his â€˜plight.â€™
I said to myself â€˜what kind of society have we degenerated into?â€™ Honestly should we justify violence against women or any person for that matter when people think that someone has reason to beat the hell out of someone?
What if the poor nun had died at the aggressorâ€™s hand; would people still have said that Mr Sichilongo was provoked by the inconsiderate school manager?
In my opinion, it was wrong for Mr Sichilongo to have assaulted his boss regardless of his predicament.
I believe every institution has a well-defined grievance settlement procedure which an aggrieved member of staff can resort to when need arises.
And I am man sure there were available avenues within Roma Girls Secondary School or the Ministry of Education for Mr Sichilongo to make a formal complaint if he felt mistreated by Sr Emma.
Somehow, I sympathise with nuns who are running schools in our communities because they are usually subjected to unfair criticism when they try to instil discipline in erring pupils or members of staff.
Sometimes sisters are criticised for tightening disciplinary rules and people would call them heartless for chastening our delinquent juveniles.
As a mother who has a daughter in a convent school, I like the disciplinary code in these schools because thatâ€™s precisely what children of nowadays need.
I have heard a number of people who when they look back to their school days, thank God for the nuns who once seemed ruthless for helping them become what they are today.
Similarly, there is no way nuns who are running schools will not act against erring members of staff simply because they are servants of God.
For example, there are so many landlords and land ladies who have thrown out their tenants for non-payment of rentals and people say nothing.
But when this school manager, acts against her defaulting tenant, tongues get wagging because she is a nun.
Mind you, Sr Emma had not acted against Mr Sichilongo for five months, and obviously, the locking of the teacherâ€™s house was not meant to embarrass him but merely to compel him to pay his dues.
She did not tamper with the teacherâ€™s household goods as other landlords would do, but only locked the door, probably after a peaceful settlement failed.
A nun, she is quite alright, but she is also a school manager and sometimes she has to make tough decisions otherwise she will fail in her duties.
Despite everything, I am glad that Mr Sichilongo has acknowledged his wrong and has unreservedly apologised to Sr Emma.
One can only hope the apology which earned the man an acquittal for assault after the sister withdrew the case, was not a ploy to earn his freedom from the arm of the law.
It was good to see Sr Emma and Mr Sichilongo in a reconciliation embrace after the latter was acquitted by Lusaka principal magistrate Aridah Chulu.
My only regret, as the Zambia Episcopal Conference (ZEC), rightly observed, the withdrawal of the court case is a setback to the anti-GBV campaign.
It would have been good to have the court hear the matter and possibly hand down a deterrent verdict against Mr Sichilongo.
Anyway, who am I if ZEC and the reverend sister feel the man deserved forgiveness akin to what the Lord Jesus Christ exemplified on the Cross of Calvary.
Hopefully, Mr Sichilongo, will as he promised, undergo psychological counselling to help him tame his anger.
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GENDER FOCUS with EMELDA MWITWA