Just about the best lesson we can teach children is to share and be generous with whatever they have. In turn, children learn to show appreciation and gratitude by creating little gifts that are treasured for life by their parents and teachers. According to the Good Book, ‘A generous person will prosper, whoever refreshes others will be refreshed’ (Proverbs 11:25).
So what is the big hullaballoo about Mr William Ruto’s relentless generosity and Mr Raila Odinga’s alleged meanness? Mr Ruto traverses the country dishing out large amounts of cash, but is that a problem? Surely it is helping to build schools, churches - maybe even dams - for needy people? If others just attend funerals and console the bereaved how long will that succour sustain them? What is the value of a handshake if there is no handout? And so the argument goes.
As regards Mr Ruto’s largesse it is undeniable. Every weekend the tireless DP donates generously to several fund raisers. No wonder then that some are jealous. However, others wonder about the fanfare and razzmatazz in his giving. Put another way could the same not be done privately away from the media and Instagram. If giving is done with a Christian intention, why publicise it or pay to have the event broadcast live? Valid questions indeed.
Back to the good book for guidance on this: Take care not to perform your good deeds in order that people may see them; otherwise, you will have no reward from your Father in Heaven; So when you give alms, do not blow a trumpet as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets to win people’s admiration. I tell you solemnly they have had their reward. But when you give alms, your right hand must not know what your left is doing; your alms giving must be secret, and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you (Mt 6: 1-4). Does Ruto’s spiritual guide avail him of these pretty blunt verses? Maybe Mr Odinga and Mr Kenyatta give generously - in secret – if at all! God knows, however.
Yet Jesus reminds his followers that if they prefer the fanfare option they should not expect any future blessing so let them not preach that they are harvesting for heaven. Wow! He also reminds us in the story of the widow’s mite, ‘this poor widow has put in more than any of them; for they contributed money they had left over, but she from the little she had has put in all she had to live on’ (Luke 21: 1-4). St Paul advises his friend Timothy, ‘Warn those who are rich not to look down on other people; and not to set their hopes on money’ (I Timothy 6:17).
The other challenge about dishing out wads of cash in public view is that pretty soon folks start asking about the source of the wealth. Even generosity brings turbulence it would appear. But in a country where looting is a political pastime, it is understandable when fingers are pointed. In that respect Ruto should openly declare the source of his wealth lest his reputation is tarnished and generosity condemned.
Then there is the outstanding issue of indebtedness. If you receive millions to build your church from a politician do you owe them anything? When it comes to voting day, do you have an obligation to tick the box beside their names? Would your conscience be stirred if you chose someone apart from the guy who gave you a T Shirt, packet of flour or a brand new church? Here I am being deliberately provocative. If you believe you have to repay that debt, then you sold your vote and your soul long before polling day and of course betrayed the nation.
Never forget that regardless of your status you are fleeced in taxes even if you didn’t meet the KRA deadline for returns. When politicians come knocking challenge them as to where your taxes are going. What about the NG-CDF and County Government funds?
In other words, you are in no way indebted to politicians. It is the elected representatives who are indebted to you. They made promises that they rarely keep. Those commitments, those promised budgets and projects are a debt to you the taxpayer. You don’t owe them a penny. The same of course applies to every public servant. They are there to serve you. Demand quality service and accountability everywhere, every time.
- [email protected] @GabrielDolan1
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