What you need to know:
- I dare say there is a big lesson that has been demonstrated to us by the people of Zimbabwe.
- They had every reason to be angry and probably to turn chaotic.
There is nothing to beat a good education. It is important of course to distinguish a good education from mere learning.
A good education is the kind of enculturation that makes an individual civilised and open to good conduct.
It makes one mature enough to want to live by the truth and according to the rule of law and at the same time respect the rights of others.
It forms that individual or the community he or she belongs to in a manner that they go beyond their animal instincts and live a life that is guided by everlasting values that are not dictated by the whims of the here and now.
On Thursday last week, I listened to the new Governor of Kisumu talking about violence during demonstrations and to be quite honest I was surprised in a pleasant kind of a way.
He was warning the people of Kisumu that demonstrations are meant to be peaceful if they have to have any meaningful results.
He even went further and said that he had agreed with the police that whoever is caught causing chaos – like putting roadblocks or lighting fires on the roads – during such demonstrations should be treated as a criminal.
As I say, I was pleasantly surprised by that statement and wished that more governors and other “leaders” would come out and put some emphasis on the need to live by the rule of the law even when we have to demonstrate.
I dare say there is a big lesson that has been demonstrated to us by the people of Zimbabwe.
When the constitutionally established government proved not to be working for the good of the people, their defense forces peacefully approached the 93-year-old president Robert Mugabe and started negotiating with him and appealing to him to leave office.
Within days spontaneous demonstrations that were characterised by reasonable discourse and total respect for the rule of law began.
We saw none of them throwing stones or fighting with the police. For the week and a half that all this was going on there, not a single human being in that country died.
The Zimbabweans were trying to get rid of their president who had evolved from a freedom fighter into a dictator and was presiding over a dying economy in the last days with the help of his wife.
They had every reason to be angry and probably to turn chaotic.
Nevertheless they chose to execute their plan in a most civilised and peaceful manner that demonstrated the characteristics of a properly educated society.
We instead have been going through a political contest and have lost lives. What is wrong with our education?
The writer is dean of students at the University of Nairobi [email protected]