Bishop Peter Ambuka, who leads the Pentecostal Evangelical Fellowship Africa Church in Kahawa West was just relaying a message, not knowing that his statement would be widely shared.
The pastor, after prayer and meditation, proceeded to give his sermon, along with a message to President Uhuru Kenyatta on March 28, which has since gone viral.
“God gave me the message and its intention was to bring positive change and productive discussions that will steer our country forward,” he told The Standard yesterday, adding that all he said in the widely shared clip was self-explanatory and that there was no need to add more.
According to the man of the cloth, it was good that his statement sparked a conversation, as that was God’s plan for the message he gave that day.
In the widely circulated video, the bishop challenged the president and the country’s leadership on the cause of the third wave of the Covid-19 surge.
“I am doing this via social media because in this country there is no way you can reach your president - even if you, the voters are his employer. I believe this should not be the case,” said Ambuka.
The pastor added that all leaders need to realise that they are there to serve the citizens and to listen to them, hence their election every five years.
“I bring this up because of the curfew and the lockdown that has been imposed by you, Mr President. Your Excellency, the people of this country have suffered a lot since the pandemic came to this nation. Many have lost their jobs, businesses, livelihoods, matrimonial homes and some of them are living in hopelessness,” said the pastor.
He went on to narrate that just after the new regulations were imposed, a distraught Christian had reached out to him via social media, revealing that she had reached her end.
The woman, who was in mental anguish, said the bishop, told him that her small eatery would have to be shut down with the new measures, and she has lost her livelihood, leading her into a suicidal state.
“When the pandemic started, we joined forces with you and we endured the lockdown for more than four months. We wanted to fight this virus and eliminate it. We endured our job losses, businesses were closed and our livelihoods taken away from us in the hope that everything would return to normal. But as soon as the curve started to flatten, we thought our lives would return to normal, then you, Mr President, and your brother Raila Odinga - started the BBI reggae,” said Ambuka.
The pastor condemned the political activities that took place early this year, referring to the Building Bridges Initiative rallies as the country's leadership criss-crossed the nation, disregarding the laid down Covid-19 protocols.
“It is this careless action by you politicians that has made political rallies to be the super-spreaders of this virus. And this can be confirmed by the number of politicians that have contracted the virus, some who have succumbed to it. Mr President, you and your fellow politicians are to blame for this devastating third wave. Unfortunately, it is we the common citizens who have to carry the burden and suffer the consequences,” said the clergyman.
The bishop further criticised the lavish lifestyles lived by wealthy politicians, which he said, were funded by taxpayers whose livelihoods have been snatched away from them.
He urged the government to embark on massive testing and vaccination in the locked-down counties and work to completely eradicate the virus, rather than delay its spread and impose stricter measures once the rising cases get out of hand.
The bishop then called out the president’s treatment of the church and places of worship, saying that in announcing the closure of these places, he insulted the leaders of churches and disregarded that the places of worship had religiously followed the protocol and were not to blame for the surge in coronavirus infections.
The pastor is not alone in condemning the new stricter Covid-19 regulations. Another video that has made rounds on social media has been one by popular human rights activist Boniface Mwangi.
In his video released on Instagram and Facebook, Mwangi said that since the pandemic struck, life has been nearly unbearable for Kenyans, who are enduring hiked matatu fares, increased fuel costs and closure of businesses.
“There was a little reprieve when people thought that they could handle reopening their business with the relaxed coronavirus measures. But as soon as the economy was reopened, political rallies and BBI talk took priority, leading to a surge in infections," said Mwangi.
"As a citizen, you wore masks, paid hiked fares to allow social distancing in matatus, followed the regulations and did your part. Now that the pandemic has come back bigger and stronger, the government is not prepared, despite spending Sh250 billion.”
Mwangi criticised the lack of Intensive Care Unit beds and space in hospitals, adding that the government had nothing to show for money spent and its preparedness for the infection surge.
“What does the president do? Instead of punishing the people who were supposed to ensure that they were ready for the third wave, he punished you and I and decided that we all lose our jobs by locking down the country again,” he said.
He called the lockdown measure a move made to appease the rich, who were concerned that their employees would catch the virus from the slums and ghettos and infect them.
“We are suffering because our leaders are completely silent on the topic of the pandemic and consequent lockdown. As Kenyans, as we go through this, let us never forget what this government has made us feel and go through,” said Mwangi.
The president issued new Covid-19 lockdown measures on March 26 following rising cases of infection. He announced restrictions into and out of Nairobi, Machakos, Kiambu, Kajiado and Nakuru. Further, curfew hours were adjusted from 4am to 10pm to 4am to 8pm in the affected counties.
Public gatherings were banned and bars ordered to close. Restaurants were also directed to only provide take-away services.
The president said that the measures are temporary and necessary to contain spread of the disease and stop further loss of lives, adding that a lack of action would mean worse consequences.