“All you need is love”- The Beatles
Over the past six months, with political campaigns raging, controversial elections, shocking Supreme Court decisions, and a polarising social media scene, Kenya could do with some real love.
While I open this important plea with a popular song, let us not forget our religious obligations to love and respect one another; each human being as a true equal. Indeed, while The Beatles controversially claimed to be “bigger than Jesus”, as a nation of believers, it is scripture we should turn to when looking for the important inspiration in times of need.
While post-election violence- praise the Lord- has not been as severe as recent election cycles, all loss of life should be mourned. As Luke 6:31 teaches us: “Do to others, as you would have them do to you.”
When a defeated political candidate calls for violence, dabbles in incitement and poisons the minds of his supporters, he would do to well to remember these important words.
Luke 6:35 goes ever further when we are told to “love your enemies, do to them, and lend them without expecting to get anything back”. While I don’t believe in the concept of a pure “enemy” and I struggle with the concept of pure “evil”, many have perceived enemies, both political and personal. Let us remember the words of Luke, when acting upon primal urges towards perceived enemies both near and far.
So what about ‘love’, in Romans 13:10, we are taught that “love does no harm to a neighbor”. From West Kenya all the way through to Mombasa, let us internalize this basic and important concept. For our leaders, in particular the defeated opposition leader, who appears to be putting his own self-aggrandizement, his own political aspirations, over the well-being of the people of Kenya, I would like to focus on Corinthians 13:4-18.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
When we see political leaders calling for mass protests, against the concrete decisions of the bodies of our blessed democracy, we should point to these chapters.
When the Supreme Court ruled against President Kenyatta following the first round of elections, he accepted the controversial results, despite what appeared to be a massive victory for him. Humility and love are two sides of the same coin, and the religious community at the time saluted the brave and humble acceptance of this decision.
Once again, the Supreme Court has made an important decision. The second round of elections were free and fair, and in accordance with the law. So now it is Raila’s turn to act with humility, in the name of love, peace and unity, and for the sake of the people of Kenya. No pride Baba. No anger Baba. No self-seeking dishonour Baba. Rather a focus on love is what is now required.
We are after all brother and sisters, a community of believers. As Proverbs 17:17 teaches us, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.” And we are in a time of adversity. During this time of confusion, our leaders should lead by example.
It is forbidden to worship political power, just as it is forbidden to worship money. Matthew is explicit on this matter, “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
Now as a community, as a nation, we should try and set an example for these leaders. A bottom-up approach, if you will. Let us show them that we do not worship money, or power, or even political leaders. We worship the Lord, and in turn the values of peace and love He and His prophets teach us.
As Martin Luther King, another great believer, once preached, “We have a glorious opportunity to inject a new dimension of love into the veins of our civilisation.” Let us embrace this opportunity, embrace humility, and most importantly, embrace love, for the peace and well-being of all our Kenyan brothers and sisters.
Ms Lesuuda is the MP for Samburu West