The religious community is loudly silent, even as the ruling political class pounds the justice system in Kenya. In the wake of presidential election result on August 11, spiritual leaders were sonorously everywhere. They asked those who did not accept the result “to go to court.” After the court said its word, President Uhuru Kenyatta went on the rampage. His mission is, decidedly, to bring down Chief Justice, David Maraga, and the Judiciary. He has not minced his words about this.
President Kenyatta has accused the Chief Justice of “stealing his election.” He has angrily told the world that the Supreme Court has no mandate “to overturn the will of the people, expressed at an election.” It is instructive that the President advised Raila Odinga and the National Super Alliance (NASA) to go to court, if they were not satisfied that he was validly elected.
Equally instructive was the cheerfulness with which the President accepted validation of his election by the same court in 2013. He then went on to state that court decisions should not be accepted and respected only when they favour us.
They must be respected all the time. Yet when the court invalidated 2017 presidential election, he began crying foul, angrily and disrespectfully. In civilised societies, even presidents respect other people and institutions. It is the surest way to secure their public ethos.
Our president has uttered shocking things about the Chief Justice and the Judiciary. He has insulted them and threatened them. He has promised to “teach them a lesson after the people reaffirm” his election. We have seen images of an incontinent President moving from pillar to post, hurling invective against the Judiciary and spreading fear. Yet there is nobody to defend the court system and the country against our all-powerful president. It is a crying shame that religious leaders simply look on.
In the end, the pious people who asked Raila to go to court turn out to be profane prelates. They hide their worldliness and leavened hypocrisy behind cloaks and masks of piety. They have defiled their pulpits with hypocritical incantations and petitions. Little wonder that Kenya’s heaps upon heaps of prayers seem to go unanswered.
We are a tragically hypocritical society. Our religious conscience is dead. The Church itself must accordingly be understood to be dead, too. Religious leaders worship politicians and money. There is no God in the blasphemous citadels that dot the national landscape. Irreverent men and money harvesters lead their equally lost “flocks” here in pretending to praise God and Jesus Christ.
If Christ were to come back today, he would be crucified in Kenya. But first, he would shut down all the halls of profanity that incessantly take his name in vain. He would, of course, run into instant trouble with the swashbuckling wearers of purple gowns and flaunters of bibles, for challenging their worldliness and complicity with the political class. These fellows who eagerly tremble at the sight Barabbas and ill-gotten wealth would plot to kill the Lord.
It is becoming very difficult to understand why we still go to their disgraceful halls that purport to be holy shrines. Self-assertive religious orders need to restore a leader like President Kenyatta and DP William Ruto to the railroad of common decency and respect for institutions and citizens. We read of the Prophet Nathan restoring King David to the railroad.
By this token, the Kenyan Church is dead – body, soul and spirit. Its spiritually emasculated leaders find it easy to ask you to go to court. However, they cannot defend the court when powerful politicians attack it. They instead tremble before the assailants. Some even accompany aggressive tribal delegations on missions of ethnic loyalty pledges to the political class and in cash-fishing ventures. So where do you find men and women who cannot be bought?
Let me remind you. When we launched the School of Law Chapter of the University of Nairobi Alumni Association in May, the CJ was the chief guest. He captured the spirit of the day with the memorable words of the famous poet R G White, ‘The Greatest Want of the Day.’
White, a celebrated Adventist poet and evangelist, famously wrote: “The greatest want of the world is the want of men; men who will not be bought or sold; men who in their inmost soul are true and honest; men who do not fear to call sin by its right name; men whose conscience is as true to duty as the needle to the pole; men who will stand for the right, though the heavens fall.”
In literature and religion we call such persons Christ-like figures. They are critical in societies at dangerous crossroads. And Kenya is at a delicate crossroads. The onslaught against the CJ is only one of the symptoms of a country striving for a covenant with death.
The rule of law is itself on its deathbed. For the war against the CJ is a war between anarchy and the civilised order that holds us together. Destroy it and sink into the end of times. This is where the powerful political class is taking us – to the temple of doom. Men and women of conscience must stand with the CJ and the Judiciary, regardless of their tribes.
It is instructive that CJ bashers have elected to isolate him from the rest of the Court in their bid to demonise him. It is a simple divide and rule ploy that should at the same time serve as a warning to the rest of the judges. In the event that the October 17 election goes the same way as the August 8 poll did, the judges should know that it is not business as usual. Tragically, nobody will be spared the disastrous fallout. Enough said.
- Mr Muluka is a publishing editor, special consultant and advisor on public and media relations [email protected]