Pray so that we do not postpone our future
By Okech Kendo
It was too early to declare the G7 Alliance leaders were not like-minded in some matters. Before debate dries on the Gema endorsement of Uhuru Kenyatta’s presidential ambition, William Ruto has put up his own show – man-o-man - in Eldoret. Bill wants to prove to central Kenya he also has a ‘community’ behind him, even though he seeks to be the president of Kenya.
Never mind that rank and file of the Kalenjin, Maasai, Turkana, and Samburu (Kamatusa) may not have been consulted before the declaration and zoning of the Rift Valley.
At this rate of ethnic zoning, Kenya needs prayers. We all need prayers to begin to understand the country is much more important than personal ambition. Sadly, individual interests have been elevated above the call of the nation.
Now ‘they’ want to persuade athletes to boycott London Olympic Games to protest alleged United Kingdom interference in Kenya’s internal affairs. Never mind that there is no concrete evidence of the interference, except a dossier that has since been discredited.
Never mind also these athletes – enterprising Kenyans who make millions of shillings sweating on the track – have nothing to do with the politics of the International Criminal Court.
And we need prayers all the time to petition God for intercession whenever the prayer bug bites. But prayers are admissible if they are conducted in solemn humility, honesty, and total submission to God’s will. Petitioning God in any other way could backfire. But do not get there since these are very sensitive times. So sensitive that even praying has become a subject of political dispute and doubt.
One man of God though has counselled on prayer rallies. But no one is listening because those who should are preoccupied with self-preservation, elections, and the Kibaki Succession.
Some want the General Election postponed until post-election violence cases at The Hague cases are concluded. Never mind that some of the cases could take years to conclude, but shorter than the initial 99 years initially claimed they would last. Now the train of justice is moving too fast. We are changing goal- posts about justice delayed being justice denied. The ICC is being asked to go slow to accommodate presidential ambitions of its clients.
Some want the cases deferred until after the General Election. Some want to be on the ballot to make the elections free and fair. Never mind those elections are not about individuals, but citizens making governance choices for the country.
Yet no one finds the easier option – deferring personal presidential ambitions until declared innocent – the more dignified way of submitting to the public interest. Or whence did personal ambition override a nation’s craving for justice?
Unless the Rome Statute that establishes the ICC is amended, it does not take cognizance of presidential ambitions of suspects. Until then, ambitions of individuals cannot stop the wheel of justice.
Subversion of the national picture for individual ambitions should not be the subject of daily pleas to God. For even the most passionate prayers need to be anchored on facts, and God is never slow of hearing. Because this is not the case, there is cynicism about prayers staged daily to manipulate public perception.
The prayers, as currently conducted, are partisan, skewed and border on heresy. To make a political spectacle of prayers is to miss the essence of submission to God’s will.
Bishop David Gitari says of these politicised prayers: "I have no problem with the clergy attending and praying for the suspects. But my concern is the content of such prayers. If they are praying for the accused to travel safely to The Hague and come back safely that is quite in order. But if they are praying that the ICC should not convict them on the alleged crimes against humanity, then I would not participate in such prayers."
"Our prayers should be that the truth about the allegations may be established and God’s will be done. Even if the trials take a long time, we should patiently wait for the truth to be established. If the suspects are innocent, they can be on the ballot for the 2017 General Election."
It is true the Bible advises on persistence in prayer, but it does not allow spiritual spin. True, individuals are free to pray, but they should not expect God to answer prayers that massage facts for political capital.
God is unlikely to answer prayers tempered with malice, no matter how fervent. And malice cannot fly, lying dogs do not thrive, and rotten eggs don’t fry.
Scale of justice
And God is likely to consider the scale of justice when prayers for victims and suspects cross. So prayer should let truth and justice fly.
About 1,300 victims lost their lives; 650,000 were dispossessed. Thousands and more lost limbs and livelihoods during post-election violence.
These facts should not be overlooked, as personal interest become the nexus of political mobilisation.
We should pray so national emotions are not manipulated when facts are tempered with propaganda. The cocktail needs right thinking and patriotic citizens to tell the wheat from the chuff.
It is times like this that right thinking Kenyans must confront the past to redress their future. Citizens should not sink with the past, and we should not postpone the future.
Writer is The Standard’s Managing Editor Quality and Production.
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