Spirituality devoid of character has no power to transform the nation

A section of Politicians being prayed for ahead of the 2017 General Election. [File, Standard]

Do our leaders wake up to serve or to scam? There is more evidence of the latter. Yet they are all intensely religious. Of what value is their spirituality if it does not make them servants? They are the proverbial salt that deserves to be dumped and trampled upon because it is of no use however much of it you sprinkle.

The few who dare to cut a different cloth are lone rangers. They are intentionally kept on the backline. In the political song they are allocated the hum and never given the main chorus lest they belt it out in a voice so melodious it makes the "chosen ones" look amateur!

As long as we downplay the fact that we have a dire values shortage, like a pocket with holes, we will keep "reviving the economy" for many years to come. We lure our poor, faking a soothing air hostess voice, "Finland here we come!" But the reality is a guttural and creepy horror movie roar "Finish them clean!" The rich could possibly recover from the scam.

But when the vulnerability of the poor is abused so publicly, carelessly, and ruthlessly then we need not look any further to know where the devil lives. Hell is when a government plans and executes the cannibalisation of its own children. The evil spirit manifests when leaders speak lies fluently and make it their native tongue, relegating truth to a foreign, ancient, and extinct language.

Spirituality should be to character what air is to the lungs. Many Kenyan leaders have an epileptic spirituality, one that suddenly goes under at critical points resulting in calculated moral blackouts. The schemers capitalise on these basement blind spots by stuffing their bags with loot. By the time moral consciousness returns, too much damage has been done. The looters, with long black jackets, dark glasses, and lowered hats are only seen from the back turning a corner and disappearing into the greyness.

Even in the dimness, their body frames betray them and one can make out who they are. But legally, the CCTV was broken and evidence cannot be found. The same looters reappear belching with satisfaction when ethical lights are back on. They bewail our beloved country, swearing severely how they will join the wrestling team that floors corruption. But it is written all over their faces and sounds all over their voices that they do not mean it. This to them is a well-rehearsed teary scene in a play. Then the curtains fall, and they have the last laugh.

Wanjiku is duped again. The politician went right but advised her to go left. If only the politician and the hustler had taken the same direction! They would both be unexplainably rich at the end of the political season. But now one is poor - sometimes even poorer than when they began. The other is rich - miraculously richer than a single political season can explain! The difference? One works the other scams the worker. The colonialist ghost still haunts. The one who came wearing a garb of a saviour suffocated the patient. Then we ask why Kenya keeps choking on her own vomit.

The time has come when we begin to bypass the duping Christian badge that politicians display when they come vote hunting. Their spirituality should not be judged because some have a genuine love and search for God. But the quality of their commitment to God should be assessed specifically because they voluntarily present their faith as an asset in their leadership propositions. Not everything about spirituality is subjective - some aspects are sensibly measurable. If we subject the self-proclaimed Christian leader to the martyrdom test, some will agree to the possibility of dying in pursuit of power but the same may laugh at the idea of dying for their faith.

A leader will be a Christian yes, but one whose virtue basket is empty because they are still clinging to their vices. They desire faith but resist its transformation. A vice-logged Christian is unlikely to lead a moral renaissance. If a moral rebirth is what Kenya needs it connects that the quality of the Christian leader is critical. More silent faith practitioners - even secular leaders - may have way stronger transferable moral convictions than self-branded chorus chanters.

While the politicians have their own moral responsibility towards the offices they hold and toward the people they represent, the clergy close to them have a duty not merely to advise them but to voice the heart of God. Pastors close to those in authority owe it to God to provide truth to power. Hierarchically, clergy as agents of God rank higher than governors of men. Politicians know this though they may not act like it. That is why it is such a great fete for a politician to "bag" the clergy, even better the clergy and their Christians. With the clergy bought, the disruptive voice of God is tamed and the politician roams free.

This silencing dynamic is almost predictable: the priest morphs to become more like the politician while the politicians continue to be more like themselves! The priest even composes songs and poems of praise to sing for the politician. In the meantime, the pastor's bank account becomes the enviable coat of many colours! Few things look more awkward than a tamed man of God. A prophet on a leash is a tragic sight. But the reverse is also true, a priest who serves in freedom is a force that keeps politicians up at night.

A cash gift to clergy from a politician will often not be an act of reverence. It is instead an assault on the prophet's divine power. What the politician may not have in spiritual power, he attempts to gain by money power. Money has been proven over and over as making inroads into many a pastor's mystery territory. Money removes the cloth from the man of the cloth!

Having a group of priests at their beck and call is a prime asset to a politician. The higher the rank of clergy in the bag the better. Anticipating this distraction and its messy results, some prophets in the Bible are given a task with instructions not to eat anything along the way. The do-not-eat instruction is frowned upon by today's insider clergy who proudly say in the face of the "opposition" clergy "It is our time to eat!" Eating prophets have distracted voices. Their distended bellies go ahead of them. It is good judgment to have low expectations regarding the ability of such prophets to speak for the people.

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