We all need a moral revolution of our minds, and soul too
News of the arrest of photojournalist Boniface Mwangi by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) broke on Monday last. His detention and interrogation provoked outrage. Later, an announcement by DCI that he was being questioned over plans to lead a revolution to overthrow the government was received with equal measures of disbelief and ridicule.
When the dust settled and Mwangi returned home, many questioned the DCI’s competency and capacity to put mega kleptocrats behind bars, if they imagined that a mere activist could singlehandedly overthrow the Kenya Defence Forces, National Police Service and other security bodies whose mandate is to defend the government. The incident was an embarrassment to DCI boss George Kinoti whose tough talk on corruption had earlier convinced many that he could indeed slay the dragon.
Doubts about the likelihood of him succeeding, however, are growing as the business of looting is resuming from the ward level to the parastatals. A few heavyweights may have spent long weekends in the cells but most believe that is as far as the retribution will go. A few smart lawyers and a few disappearing files will alleviate any threat to their enjoyment of the loot in retirement.
No wonder then that many are suggesting that only a revolution will eventually tumble the dynasties and cartels from power and pave the way for a more equitable and just society. The alternative they tell us is to live with corruption, steal what you can and follow its new rule of law. Some choice!
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Yes, Kenya needs a revolution but it is a moral revolution; a revolution of our minds, our imagination and our souls. That of course may involve street protests, night vigils and other forms of non violent protest. But firstly it requires a radical transformation of mindsets, as citizens acknowledge that they have gone too far down the slippery slope and must halt before they self-destruct. The nation needs a eureka moment whereby it wakens to discover that another way is not only possible but essential for the survival of this great nation.
Those moments of awakening are often the result of a courageous, enlightened, charismatic leader of integrity emerging from nowhere. We can think of Gandhi, Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr., Desmond Tutu and Cardinal Sin. All were able to touch the conscience and soul of their people, resonate with their anger yet call them to hope and build a better shared future. Religion of course has the potential to do this for it calls on inspiration, revelation, self-sacrifice and generosity as its foundational values.
Yet, religion in Kenya is itself entangled in the murky world of corruption, compromise, confusion and cowardice that makes it appear no different than the ruling class that have robbed the nation. The churches that spend their time justifying their acceptance of tainted money forget that Pope Francis said in Philippines in 2015 ‘If it is a sin to steal, who is the greatest sinner? It is the politician with an insatiable greed, who stole from the public coffers.” Church heads may make pious pronouncements about boundaries but give politicians a platform in sanctuaries on Sunday to preach hatred and division, only to be rewarded like Judas with a few shillings.
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Where are the preachers who can provoke, inspire and empower their people? Is the message that we hear one of liberation or slavery? Did Jesus come to liberate, transform or to enchain? In all these discussions on politics and religion where is the voice of the poor heard? It would appear that the prosperity Gospel has made religion a growth business and the only jobs available for the young are either as security guards or launching your own church.
When the Pontiff visited Kangemi in 2015 he spoke of the three Ls: Land, Lodging and Labour. These are the everyday concerns of 80 per cent of the nation’s population. Yet what have our religious leaders to say on the lack of affordable housing, the youth bulge caused by joblessness and graft and the fact that the biggest landowners are the families who have ruled since independence? Is our religion authentic, radical and revolutionary or is it just giving hope in an afterlife as a solution to unsolvable problems of this one? Jesus was grounded and rooted in the life of everyone who suffered. If his successors possessed the same compassion then they would lead the revolution because right now the majority are being crucified.
- [email protected] @GabrielDolan1
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Boniface MwangiDirectorate of Criminal InvestigationsDCIPolice