Poverty is a contributor, but it is not the main cause of violence – Dr. Musheshe

Dr. Mwalimu Musheshe, Founder/URDT/ARU

Summary:

  • Conflict, whether on a large or small scale, constrains development. Domestic violence hinders household progress, and children in violent homes often become violent themselves. Effective communication, understanding, and negotiation within families can prevent violence. Poverty alone is not the main cause of violence; the key factor is how families are governed. Even the poor can exercise dignity, respect, and love.

KAGADI, (Examiner) – Where there is conflict, whether it is low-level, medium-intensity, or high-intensity, where people are fighting and killing each other, development is constrained. Even at the household level, if there is what we call domestic violence, there cannot be progress in that household.

Our experience is that many children who grow up in environments where their parents are drunkards, where there is battling and beating—whether of wives or husbands—and where there is abuse, by and large, 60 to 70 percent of these children will grow up to be violent. Through our schools, we aim to ensure that parents and their children know how to communicate effectively. They need to know how to appreciate human failures and mistakes. They need to understand that individuals can have different opinions on the same subject and learn to negotiate together, instead of saying, “What I’ve said is final; it must be done; it must be known.”

We have started seeing that children who came from very poor families, who were marginalized because the claim was poverty, are not necessarily more prone to violence. Our finding is that poverty has very little to do with violence. It’s not poverty; it’s how the family is governed.

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We believe that even the poor have dignity. Even the poor can exercise respect, and even the poor can exercise love. The popularly accepted definition of violence suggests that people are violent because they are poor, traumatized, or otherwise disadvantaged. I say, go slow about that. Poverty is a contributor, but it is not the main cause of violence.

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