Back to Top

Speak Out, Speak Up

On Thursday October 8, 2020 we woke up to witness two deaths that had occurred during the night in the village. Two people who pretended to be customers killed an unsuspecting young lady operating the casino shop after midnight. The two murderers were heard as they tried to lift the loot, noise from moving the machines made the neighbors suspicious of dubious activity going on next door. An alarm for help was sounded and a search for the perpetrators started. One of the thugs was arrested by village leaders and police. Unfortunately, the angry mob attacked the police officers and overpowered them and murdered the man in cold blood. He was in his mid thirties.  A search continued until the second man was also arrested in the late evening by some vigilant persons along with support of the local police officers. The angry mob was not amused to hear the news of the arrested person handed over to the police who whisked him away to a well reinforced police station.

How would I reach out to a community that views justice with different lenses?

A big claim of ‘no justice, no justice’ was heard from the youths screaming high up in their voices. The relatives of the first deceased culprit were also heard with a lot of agitation of ‘no justice’ demonstrated. The desire of the community was to have the two murderers dead. Several persons caught in theft have been lynched.

I wondered, what needs to be done differently in the community? How would I reach out to a community that views justice with different lenses? Through the local FM radio station, I engaged the local church and organised to speak out against further violence. Mob justice is no justice. All evidence is lost through the killing of the evil doers. The law provides that, “Until proven guilty, one is innocent”. Why not allow the law to take its course?

Unfortunately, mob justice has increased the number of deaths that occur given that mob justice has become a practice. Neither logic nor rationale is exercised as the process is driven by emotional influence and violence. This also demonstrates a loss of moral values in society and failure in the judiciary system that provokes communities to take justice into their hands without respect of the law.

Ethnic conflicts, political intolerance and domestic violence are increasing in many countries.

Leadership perpetuates the injustices experienced, hence mob justice is justified as a way of life to deal with issues. For instance, the young man who was killed by the mob had his wife’s money stolen by the mob during the time of arrest. A lot of unresolved issues at all levels cause agitation, discomfort and dissatisfaction.   Ethnic conflicts, political intolerance and domestic violence are increasing in many countries. This has led to undesirable human suffering. On the road, if an accident occurred, the people who run to the scenes of the accident are not helping the victims, but are taking loot from the scene before offering any help to the survivors. This has led to tremendous losses of property, lives and relationships.

Due to the moral degeneration in society and corrupt tendencies in the judiciary system, many culprits go unchecked by the law as long as they can buy their way out of the cases against them. The communities then take judgement into their hands to brutally finish lives. How long will this stay and finally come to an end?

Our role as World Renew and individuals is to speak out, bring a different taste and dimension to perspectives held, reconcile and rebuild the structures within communities employing a Biblical mandate.

Genesis 4, the story Cain and Abel reminds us of the curse that was bestowed upon Cain upon killing his brother Abel. Why then inherit the same curse upon oneself after someone else has taken their share? Paul also reminds us that, ‘vengeance is the Lord’s.’ And Ezekiel 33: 1-10 reminded us that we cannot afford to say nothing but we need to speak up so that whoever hears and responds is redeemed. We are sharing a message of hope, encouragement to the bereaved and challenging the practice of mob justice. 

Photo by Ian Battaglia on Unsplash

The Reformed family is a diverse family with a diverse range of opinions. Not all perspectives expressed on the blog represent the official positions of the Christian Reformed Church. Learn more about this blog, Reformed doctrines, and our diversity policy on our About page.

In order to steward ministry shares well, commenting isn’t available on Do Justice itself because we engage with comments and dialogue in other spaces. To comment on this post, please visit the Christian Reformed Centre for Public Dialogue’s Facebook page (for Canada-specific articles) or the Office of Social Justice’s Facebook page. Alternatively, please email us. We want to hear from you!

Read more about our comment policy.