Many of us were born and raised in the most humble of backgrounds. Our parents had very little beyond subsistence production and the clothes they wore. Our grandparents certainly were the epitome of humility. They appreciated everything God had given them. They often suffered, but their morality remained intact.
With rapid urbanisation many of us have set up our lives in the cities, and the vices have risen in kind. Throughout history, the city has traditionally been a place of sin in comparison to the virgin countryside of our ancestors. This is why we must turn to traditional sources to help chart a new/old course for our young, to bring our nation back on the straight and narrow. As the battle against corruption gains in momentum, we must all take an inward look. Within society. Wthin ourselves. The Holy Book can stand as a guide, Peter 5:5 teaches us: In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favour to the humble.”
This should be a lesson to our youth — to stay away from the big cars and the shiny jewellery. To be ambitious, but not greedy. To internalise that corruption damages us all. To do good and to act in humility.
When President Uhuru Kenyatta asked the people to conduct citizen arrests, this was not tongue-in-cheek. This was a real call out to the people to emphasise that we all have a part to play. We all have a role. In Philippians, we read, “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Jesus Christ: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death — even death on a cross!”
We must sacrifice our material pleasures and greedy desires to chart a moral path. Kenyatta’s servant leadership was on show once again when he noted that he had lost friends over his decision to destroy a multi-million dollar malls illegally built on wetlands. Bribery was allegedly involved in securing the relevant permits to build the malls. The decision to destroy the malls was not a popular decision in the business community. This was not popular amongst Kenyatta’s associates or close team. But it was necessary. It was the right thing to do.
Proverbs 11:2, “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” There must simply be no room for pride in our society. The President and Deputy President William Ruto have decided to set an example in the fight against corruption. They have made it the main campaign of their second term, and shown that they, too, must demonstrate transparency. This is through their willingness to take part in lifestyle audits and to make sure that everything they own is legal and by the letter of the law. No pride. No ego. Just openness and leadership.
The Bible I know is an important guide to our President. This should not be taken for granted. Psalms 25:9 notes that “He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way.” Indeed, for a leader and a President of a strong and important country like Kenya to recognise that he, too, needs a guide demonstrates both humility and wisdom. And perhaps we would all do well to remember that we are just small particles in this greater universe. We must stop being so self-centred and focus on caring for each other, working for each other, and striving for a better society. As we read in James 4:14-16, “You do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil.”
The looting to fill the pockets of the corrupt is nothing short of evil. By maintaining the rigid humility of our preachers and teachers, we can defeat evil, and help repair Kenyan society for generations to come.
The writer is the Speaker of Nairobi County Assembly