Let's think soberly and support efforts that will promote justice

One of Azimio la Umoja supporters arrested by anti-riot police officers during the March 27, 2023 antigovernment demos. [Caleb Kingwara, Standard]

Like any other ordinary Kenyan, the standoff between Kenya Kwanza and Azimio Coalition, is of great concern to me.

Obviously, the people benefiting from either side of the conflict are choking on raw emotions with unchecked determination to run down the opponent. Their claims and counterclaims are alarming.

What stands out for me, and I pretend to be no preacher here, for I am far from it, is the need for some of us to work hard to find quiet in our hearts. I have three categories here that generated sadness in me in the past few months.

First, there is a category of men and women who, by virtue of their positions in previous regimes or other positions of power in the Judiciary, Executive or Legislature, made some horrendous decisions that contributed to the current political conflict. There is no conflict that has no origin.

And, there is no conflict that escalates without being fueled. Some of us in this category would have made bold decisions at a critical time in the past but because we ended up making populist decisions, or decisions that favoured those in power at the time, have pain inside ourselves watching the unfortunate events in the past few months.

The natural human tendency is at all times to try and justify our past decisions which in fact were in error.

Accepting mistakes is a very costly strain in one's life. St Paul, who converted from a murderer to a fighter for faith and justice is a great example to learn from.

Those of us in this category need to take courage and forgive ourselves. We should turn a new page and begin to think soberly to support any effort that will ensure justice and prosperity in this country.

We do not have to be slaves to our past history in order to justify acts we committed that were clearly on the wrong.

Second, the category of men and women who have used places of worship to gain undue political mileage.

There is a thin line yet distinct between a politician who is committed to faith practice, including unpretentious regular presence in worship places, and one who has no guilt of using faith as a tool for political manipulation.

Those of us in this category need to remember the unconditional Misericordia (compassion) of God and return to the same place of worship to make up for demeaning both the place and the people who worship in that place. To do that we need first and foremost to forgive ourselves.

Trying to justify abuse of a place of worship is a lost case. We cannot buy the mercy of God with gifts of any kind and of any size. A simple contrite heart is all God asks of us.

Third, it is even more disturbing to see those of us who are supposed to ensure all people, from any party, find quiet and a renewed sense of direction in our places of worship at the forefront of condemning one and exonerating another of those involved in the current political conflict.

I have had the privilege of listening to several political leaders speak of their inner struggle and how they often don't find quiet in our places of worship.

I am imagining that some of the actors in the political conflict we are experiencing would want to go back to our places of worship to find quiet and a sense of what is right before God.

However, if we already turned the actors into money dispensers, they will rather go to fellow politicians to console each other.

In this kind of company, they can only think of how to defend themselves and how to run down the opponent.

We too need to forgive ourselves and start to respect the place of worship as a sanctuary where all people find inner quiet to make informed choices in life, including political decisions.

Dr Mokua is executive director, Loyola Centre for Media and Communication