“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” These beautiful words, from Colossians 3:15, were reverberating in my mind as I watched president Uhuru Kenyatta’s second inauguration.
As I listened to his words of peace and reconciliation, I was left asking myself some questions. Shall we really have peace? Is the post-election violence finally over? Will our leaders across the board actually accept the Supreme Court’s decision and help bring peace and serenity to our blessed land?
The year has not been a quiet one for the people of Kenya. We saw a lively election campaign. At times I looked upon the arguments, the policies and the proposed visions of Kenya’s future with awe. I was excited to be a Kenyan in a democratic and free Kenya.
However, my optimism was regularly dashed as these positive messages of hope were all too often interlaced with cynical messages of fear. While negative campaigns are of course a sad inevitability in any political campaign, in our society – with tribal identities both strong and relevant – these negative campaigns can get out of hand. Sadly, as a result of this incitement and some extremely irresponsible leadership, we once again suffered as a nation.
With campaigns over, now is the time to spread the message of love and peace, and this must come from above. Uhuru’s messages of unity and stability were welcome, and we all should salute his unifying stance. However, those same sentiments must now be heard from all the political camps. For crucial direction, I believe we all have much inspiration to be gained from scripture. Peter 3:1 and Psalms 34:12 teach us that we “must turn from evil and do good, seek peace and pursue it.”
Our brothers in NASA, should hammer this message on their office doors and promote it on their Facebook pages. For far too long, the Opposition has given a dangerous nod and a wink to their supporters to partake in violence. On certain occasions, they have incited their supporters. No democratic country, no democratic leader and no democratic society would allow this. We as a nation seek peace and pursue it, and our leaders have a responsibility to stamp out the language of violence and belligerent rhetoric.
However, let’s be clear that most Kenyans have much to be proud of. We demonstrated throughout this period of great tension that we are indeed a people of peace. We showed the world that our organs of democracy can work, and they must be respected.
Likewise, the majority of our political leaders, including all of our governors have now put their political, and indeed tribal, allegiances aside and chosen the path of peace. As James 3:18 teaches us, “Peacemakers who sow in peace, reap a harvest of righteousness”. And while I certainly do not claim that our politicians have earned the right to reap a harvest of righteousness (far from it), their responsible calls for peace, are a good start!
So when we hear the calls of those politicians who continue to deny the peace, those who continue to undermine the democratic institutions of our country, at a time when we are struggling to maintain unity, let us remind them of Proverbs 12:20: “Deceit is in the hearts of those who plot evil,” we are told, “but those who promote peace have joy”.
As Kenya moves away from election season and firmly back into the season of governance, we will be tested once more. Can we work with each other to get Kenya back on the path of progress? Will we once again work together to make Kenya the shining light of Africa, the country to which world leaders lined up to come and visit? Or will we tear our young country apart? Will we spit in the face of our ancestors who gave their sweat, toil and even their blood so that we could live in an independent sovereign Kenya?
I choose peace; and so should you.
But if you don’t want to heed my words, or even the words of President Uhuru Kenyatta, then that is fine. But as you read this column, remember the holy words of Psalms 85:8: “I will listen to what God the LORD says; he promises peace to his people, his faithful servants, but let them not turn to folly.” We have all had enough of election folly; seek peace and pursue it, for the sake of all Kenyans.
Mr Temba is Communication consultant