IN TOUCH| Protesting effectively

When the residents of our country are unhappy about something the default action they take is to go to social media and moan about it relentlessly and in most cases end up doing nothing much about it. After a few days of shrill complaints they settle down, accept their fate and life moves on. In the few cases that the problem is bad enough and it happens for a period they cannot endure, they spring into action.

Unfortunately their actions to express their anger are all too 1980s and in most cases self-defeating. Why would someone who is protesting about non-removal of refuse go out and trash his own neighbourhood and throw garbage all over the streets? Why would someone protesting about a lack of tarred roads in his area go and close schools in his area and deprive his own children of an opportunity to go to school and receive an education? Why would workers who are unhappy with their boss for whatever reason burn down the factory?

Why would someone protesting about crime in his area go and blockade a national road or pelt passing motorists with stones? Why would someone protesting about no electricity in the area for days, go out and blockade the same roads and burn tyres in his own neighbourhood? Why would someone protesting about the absence of water go out and burn a community hall? Why would someone protesting about the choice of a principal in his children’s school force his children to boycott school, resulting in a loss of school days? There are probably many other examples of this behaviour that people automatically engage in whenever they are upset about something. Are these methods I have outlined appropriate? Are they even effective in making the powers-that-be listen and solve whatever problem there was? Do they even make sense? Does it make the powers-that-be, whether at town hall or in the ministerial compound, worry so much that they jump out of their chairs and try to solve the problem being highlighted?

I would argue that this form of protesting is old-fashioned, shows a lack of innovation and downright laziness. I would also argue that it is rarely effective and actually offers the powers-that-be a way out as the pressure is not brought to bear directly on them. Why would someone at town hall be shaken by people burning tyres and rubble in their own neighbourhoods and preventing themselves from moving in and out? I would suggest that people, when dissatisfied with whatever they are made to live through, should find more effective ways to make their voices heard. I would further suggest those ways, but I might run the risk of being charged with incitement and promoting civil unrest so I’d better not say anything further.

Suffice to say show your unhappiness to the person directly responsible for it and leave the rest of us to go about our lives in peace. People must look for examples of effective and peaceful protest around the world and adapt them to suit their circumstances. Now let us see who is listening. By the way, let’s go and register to receive the Covid-19 vaccine when it becomes available for the general public.

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