THE emerging problem of notorious gangs in Zambia requires a pragmatic approach which must be employed countrywide.
Clearly, the problem is endemic among the youth who usually become rebellious at the slightest provocation and derive joy in interacting with their peers rather than family members.
Although crime of this nature seems to be oscillating between Copperbelt and Lusaka, it is also manifest in the peri-urban and the countryside.
Currently, the problem is more pronounced in Kitwe, Kalulushi and Lusaka.
In Lusaka, the weekend crackdown on the notorious fluffy boys should inspire police officers and members of the community to enhance cooperation in the fight against this type of violent crime.
Thus police should intensify the search for the fluffy boys in Kalingalinga and Mtendere townships and widen the net to all areas of the capital city.
This pattern of crime is not only disruptive to communities, but also to economic activities undertaken by the citizens, who are now at the mercy of these ruthless youths.
It is also an inconvenience to school children, who are gripped with fear as they set off for school and back to their homes.
The Church, learning institutions and families should conduct an introspection and work out programmes that will deter the youth from engaging in violent crime.
Parents in particular should bring up their children in a truly Christian way, epitomised by constant Bible study.
This will promote Christian values and enhance family as well as community ties in which respect and love for one another will thrive.
In the Bible, we learn that children are a blessing and a gift from God.
This is demonstrated in the book of Psalm 127: 3-5, “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of the warrior are the children of one’s youth.
“Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.”
It is thus ironical that the very children who are supposed to be a blessing are tormenting parents in the community.
To ensure that the children remain obedient and truthful, parents must work hard to bring them up in line with what Apostle Paul says in the book Ephesians 6: 4, “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”
The Church and parents, therefore, need to inculcate these values in the children to the letter.
Learning institutions, too, have an important role to play in moulding the children into responsible citizens.
Their role should not only be academic and professional but also parental in nature.
Children spend a great deal of time in learning institutions where they interact with peers from diverse backgrounds. They are bound to get influenced.
Therefore, teachers must play the role of parents and give appropriate guidance to the children, as they mostly go astray through influence from friends.
Additionally, the Church should upscale youth programmes in various platforms such as the Boys Brigade, Girls Brigade and many other religious groupings.
In communities, children must be encouraged to get involved in games as extra-curricular activities and recreation.
Yes, police action is just a reactionary measure which cannot root out gangsterism.
Consequently, there is urgent need to look at the root cause of this problem and inculcate Christian values in children from an early age.
Inspector-General of Police Kakoma Kanganja and his officers will form crack squads and issue warnings through the media. This is not enough!
The remedy is reposed in parents and in the Church.