Over the weekend there was a “gang-conflict hoax” story being circulated on social media, that may have been fuelled by a possible intention to agitate, foment and encourage the resurgence of gang violence at a period where it has almost completely subsided.
We have it confirmed by reliable enough information from credible sources, that the social media messages in question are fake, false, misleading and probably, purposefully designed to create a panic in the community that would result in a reaction that is beneficial to those behind the promotion of the misinformation.
Even though this may sound like a strong claim, it is by no means unusual and has in fact been used in the past as a deliberate method to achieve various destabilisation objectives.
We must ask; what could be the motive behind such mischievous and reckless communications misconduct. There are actually a number of possible motives which include the following: –
i) financial profit (to capitalise on public fear);
ii) the divide and conquer rule (as when there is peace we are more likely to support each other’s economic projects); and
iii) possible political destabilisation.
Panic causes people to react without thinking carefully about the impact and consequences of their actions. And in the same way that people spend money unnecessarily through panic-buying when stories of commodity shortages circulate, it is the same way that people who are terrorised by fear are more likely to “panic-respond’’ which can include paying for security, including burglar proofing, alarm systems, CCTV cameras, compound lighting, hiring of security guards, awarding of security contacts, purchasing personal protection devices such as tasers, pepper spray or even firearms.
I call on us to not fall into the traps that are set for our people, and use wisdom to process what is at stake. The peace has lasted for many months, but not everyone would be happy about this. When we shed each other’s blood we place a curse on ourselves. Resist the temptation to react without facts and make unity a priority in our communities.