Since 1902

A prayer for the nation: May thieves burn their stomachs

Judiciary staff during a prayer session. [Collins Kweyu, Standard]

It appears we have lost any sense of discretion. Yesterday, we allowed images of chubby-cheeked men and women in fine robes to filter into our living rooms in a ritual known as the annual National Prayer Breakfast.

It doesn’t mean all Kenyans get to eat together; most Kenyans actually have pretty little to eat, thanks to a combination of natural and man-made calamities, from failed rains to the vagaries of a contracted or contracting economy, the ravages of Covid-19, Monkeypox, among others.

Anyhow, while most Kenyans associate prayer with fasting and meditation, but these powerful and well-connected business and political elite do not believe they can pray without feasting — and I’m not talking about a burnt offering to the Almighty.

The fine roasts are for their consumption, and some have become proper lords… of poverty.

So, they feasted, bantered, before disappearing until the next season. Thankfully, there won’t be a next season for a majority of those eating chiefs; they are going to be swept off in the General Election, only two months away, so I hope they ate enough to last a lifetime.

I have a prayer of my own, which I composed while sipping a cup of uji, not the four-course fare that our leaders gobbled, at our expense. And since God says we shouldn’t wish ill on others, I’ll be considerate and pray for very minor things of this special creation called politician.

You know, the sort that possesses reptilian cunning, with bellies that bear bottomless pits. The latter attribute means they can eat an entire country and still remain hungry. I think that’s what the holy scriptures mean by hunger of the heart.

Lord, may you grant such grand thieves with arthritic fevers, that their bones may not bear heavy weights. That means they will only steal light items.

Lord, I pray such greedy individuals should be riven with constipation, so that their bellies can bear just enough to keep them alive.

You may wonder why I would care for their life, but such crooks should suffer long enough to engender a change of heart, like Saul, who, on the road to Damascus, became Paul and went on to spread your gospel.

We have seen occasional transformations, but they have been actuated by deceit. And as your Good Book warns, not all who profess your name are your disciples. May you grant us wisdom to discern the righteous from the masquerades.

Lord, we know our people hunger for truth, but the hunger in their bellies subjects them to easy temptation. A small token of Sh200 is adequate inducement to forfeit their right to elect leaders that they deserve.

But you did not bequeath this our land that it may be run by leaders who think we’re worth Sh200. Yet, we know desperate times call for desperate measures. Guide us to be able to tell the difference between kula (eating) and kura (voting).

Should those charlatans still succeed in getting into power, do not spare them lifestyle diseases, that they may never enjoy sugar-flavoured tamu tamu.

Lord, spray them with gout, that they never touch alcohol and well roasted goat ribs. And plague them with impotence.

For having plentiful of money and access to all the pleasures that money can buy, yet live only by lentils and unrefined grains is the sort of humility that the political class deserves to remind them that those they dispossess are also children of God.

We also pray for insomnia for the crooked, and nightmares when they sleep. And when they doze off by the fire, may their big bellies roast!