Gender Gender

Rising gangsterism in communities worrying

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Children’s Corner with PANIC CHILUFYA
THE current surge of youth gangsterism in most communities has reached worrying proportions; the latest case being a video that was circulated on social media where a16-year-old boy was mercilessly beaten.
It was heartbreaking to watch the beating, stoning and dehumanising treatment the victim was subjected to at the hands of juveniles in Kitwe who belong to a group called ‘Tokota Boys’.
The Human Rights Commission (HRC) has noted that there is a developing trend of youth gangsterism, particularly in parts of Copperbelt and Lusaka provinces, which must decisively be stopped before it gets out of hand.
Gansterism infringes on human rights and freedoms of victims who are physically, psychologically, sexually and verbally abused; while others are deprived of their property and the right to freedom of movement, security of a person and the right to life are under constant threat and attack.
A number of causes can be attributed to the rise of this worrying trend such as peer pressure, lack of parental supervision or love, lack of recreational facilities, drug and alcohol abuse. But whatever the reason, there is need to nip this behaviour in the bud because it is like a ticking time bomb.
This is because when a juvenile is involved in a gang, this always has an impact on the health and welfare of the member, family, peers, and community with both short and long term negative outcomes.
Often, such a member risks being involved in crime or could even be arrested for various crimes in adulthood. Research has shown that the longer a young person stays in a gang; the higher the likelihood of such a person experiencing disruptions while transitioning into adulthood; the youth tends to become a misfit who cannot adhere to acceptable behaviour as required in society.
Communities with gang activity are usually affected by anti-social behaviours like thefts, vandalism, assault, violence as was witnessed in the case of the Tokota Boys. Members of communities with gang activity tend to live in fear.
While trying to eradicate or minimise incidents of gangsterism in communities by relevant authorities, it is equally important to spare a thought for the 16-year-old who no doubt was left deeply traumatised.
The young man will need some form of counselling to help him overcome the emotional and psychological trauma he was subjected to especially that the entire unfortunate incident was posted on social media.
Stiff punishment should also be meted out on those who have a tendency of capturing such incidents and posting them on social media; they should be cited as accomplices to dehumanising others.
It is like compassion is no longer part of the human DNA that demands that society should be sympathetic to the suffering or misfortune of others. Last week police arrested 14 youths in connection with the incident; with three other boys and the ring leader called ‘Mayweather’ yet to be picked up.
Remember, children are our future, until next week.
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