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We urgently need peace and understanding as a nation

By David Oginde | June 22nd 2014

Kenya: They were key pillars in the work, each prominent in her own right. Their devotion was deep; their commitment to the cause, unquestionable; and their support, generous. Thus Euodia and Syntyche stood out as truly cherished members of the nascent church in the days of Paul the Apostle.

Yet, for some unexplained reasons, these two women could not see eye to eye. They fought over anything and everything. Their disagreements were so bad that word reached Paul where he was incarcerated in a Roman prison.

And so Paul wrote to the Philippian church: “I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to agree with each other in the Lord. Yes, and I ask you, loyal yoke fellow, help these women who have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel.”

It is believed one of the main reasons Paul felt compelled to urge these women to reconcile was because of the timing of their disagreements. The Church was faced with serious internal and external threats. Internally, doctrinal and leadership fissures had emerged in many congregations.

Even among the Apostles, there were elements of division with members siding with one Apostle or the other. Externally, there was a serious threat from those who wanted to annihilate the Church, considering it a heretic group.

Most leaders had by this time either been killed or imprisoned. Paul considered that it was the wrong time for prominent members like Euodia and Syntyche to engage in antagonistic fights. Instead, the Church needed to muster all its forces and resources to confront the external aggressors with a common resolve.

In the past few weeks, we have witnessed a fierce exchange of fire between the leaders of our two main political parties, Jubilee and CORD. Many of us have had to take cover, not just from the flying bullets of terror groups, but more so from the explosive verbal missiles from the lips of our leaders.

As church leaders we have been inundated by calls, texts, emails and direct confrontation by Kenyans who feel their lives are in danger from these unguarded rhetoric and we need to step in and help.

There is no doubt that like Euodia and Syntyche, Jubilee and CORD are both committed to the cause of this nation.

A look at their manifestos shows that each of them had a clear vision for what Kenya should be and how they could get us there. That is possibly why the votes were divided almost equally among their supporters.

Yet at our most vulnerable moment as a nation, these two parties cannot seem to see eye to eye. They fight over anything and everything.

They politicise the apolitical and trivialise the grave. And one wonders whether they appreciate the internal and external threats that face us as a nation.

That Kenya is under siege does not need exposition. Internally, the list of challenges is on the lips of everyone and the effects are felt by all of us to varying degrees. Externally, there is a clear scheme to take us to where we do not want to go.

This scheme is long term and carefully crafted. Its executors are strategic and enviably patient. They are neither from the West nor from the East, but they are making good progress. And while we fight along ethnic lines, wanapita katikati yetu! The truth though is that if they succeed, and I fear that they might; all of us – Kikuyus and Luos, Kalenjins and Kambas, Luhyas, Digos and the Elmolos – will be facing the same import of our foolishness.

It has happened in other nations.

That is why we must make a passionate appeal to our own Euodia and to our Syntyche to agree with each other in the Lord.

We plead with Jubilee leaders, please stop unnecessary finger pointing and tongue lashing and do the work that God has given to you to do.

The sword you were given is not for slaughtering the sheep; it is for guarding them. You have a greater enemy than CORD!

Similarly, we plead with CORD leaders, please take a more patriotic approach to issues.

Like the famous singer sang; you must know when to fight, when to walk away, and when to run – it is no sign of cowardice.

To the contrary it is a sign of strength and great statesmanship. Nelson Mandela did not become great by fighting every battle. It was by walking away when people expected him to fight. Your point is made, let’s drop the rallies.

Our two former Vice Presidents made some powerful statements by which they are still remembered. George Saitoti said: There come a time, when the interests of the nation are more important than the interests of the individual. I believe that time is now. Kijana Wamalwa said: A good idea must give way to a better idea.

I think the better idea right now is the peace and safety of Kenyans.

Dear CORD and Jubilee, we plead with you, by the mercies of God – give it to Kenyans.

The writer holds a PhD in Organisational Leadership and is the Presiding Bishop of Christ is the Answer Ministries. (CITAM)

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