This is a time to weep for our beloved Kenya

“Weep not child” is the title of the first novel of Ngugi wa Thiong’o, then James Ngugi, that depicts cruel colonial times. It’s a tale of betrayal and conspiracy, hopes and disappointments that ends up in many painful deaths and a final despair note of the main character, as “darkness falls”!

Weep not my Child Kenya! Can we turn this tragic end around and bring real hope for a Kenyan future, steeped in Covid pandemic served with “political sauce”?  

How I wish every Kenyan would weep, every woman who bore a child weep, every man, every child, yeah, like Nineveh even every beast! For our tears, may somehow become prayers! 

The devastating Covid-19 pandemic is beyond imagination in the current world order. How can a world so advanced be brought to its knees? We thought we had all solutions; all medical expertise; all economic power.

Then suddenly and brusquely, we have been brought face to face with our powerlessness, inadequacy and insufficiency. This quiet and vicious monster seems set to destroy our daily living and carry many of our loved ones. Could it be that we tried too much to “play God”?

We weep with many sisters and brothers the world over, with broken hearts. We weep and pray for many who lost their lives. 

This is truly a time for heart, for brotherhood beyond borders, for solidarity that knows no tribe or nationality, for empathy and compassion. A true compassion that is not self-seeking. We don’t have to try to outdo ourselves jostling for “pole position” in the newspapers… It is enough to care, disinterestedly! A life is too important to be reduced to a stepping stone!

And yet, there are those with “shrunken hearts” whose hearts do not know beyond “self-love” and “self-gain”. Where compassion is called for, and harnessing of all energies, it is truly scandalous to see the amount of energy being directed again by the political class, to their usual dance of power juggling. Machinations and venting that will not bring us ventilators! “The rich and powerful also weep”, goes the saying, but my child Kenya, weeps for them, and on their behalf.

They can’t find tears for the sick and dying, the poor and homeless, the Covid victims. Will they find a heart to weep for Kenya, if we find ourselves where those European nations are, burying their dead in thousands? Weep then my Child Kenya, because those tears may be prayers for a thawing of the hearts of our political class... They may just hear and perhaps “harden not their hearts”?

We plead merely for decency and real concern, for humility and service in leadership. Every endowed Kenyan, and even those with a little blessing, you and I, can make a difference to a sister and a brother. Not only by giving material assistance, a meal to a family, but by rediscovering humanity, empathy and compassion, and out-casting selfish gibberish that fills our news vibes! Giving to the poor, feeling with them, will awaken us Kenyans from this hypnotic trance, of the political music.

We weep for the Covid victims, buried in a rush, indecently and without any prayers, for their families not given a chance to mourn them. We weep for those in Kariobangi whose houses were flattened at night, exposing them to coronavirus infection. True, the law may have given a ‘right’, but the moment surely, makes it not right. Who will cry for this child when their leaders are too busy on other business? 

While desperate Kenyans struggle to find food, the Covid Funds wait for weeks before distribution. Unfortunately, “these that don’t weep” are quick to see opportunities to tap from the poor man’s lifeline. Like the novel by Ngugi, we are back to the political intrigues that we, ‘normal mortals’, never understand. Are we misplaced to expect some space for “the needy” and the common good in political discussions? 

The tragic ending of the novel must be reversed. Because this child that weeps, will be consoled and healed. There will be joy after the weeping. God walks with us, if we let him work through us! Leaders, Kenyans, we still have a chance, to stop “playing God”. Our medical staff have led the way, lending their tired hands for God’s healing. Can we not heal and console our nation too, by changing the songs of war and discord, into chords of love, unity? Cannot this Covid pandemic help us rediscover who we truly are: God’s own, our brother’s keeper.

Wake up Kenya, and weep no more! 

- Muheria is the Archbishop of Nyeri County.