Leaders: Refrain from Selfishness and Put Kenyans First

By Dr. Bishop David Oginde.

The spat between Chief Justice Willy Mutunga and Justice Njoki Ndung’u on one hand, and the discord between CORD and Jubilee leaders on the other, has exposed a strange characteristic of our leadership — a leadership devoid of every sense of dignity. It is a breed of leadership bent on pursuing nothing but one’s own ends at the expense of everyone else. Unfortunately, this is the brand of leadership we have become accustomed to and have in fact grown to admire. The fact, however, is that this approach to leadership tramples upon the rights and aspirations of those who have bequeathed the privilege of leadership to the leader. It is a tragedy that has befallen Kenyans time and again — yet we remain ever so hopeful.

Tuesday last week, I was in a meeting of senior Church leaders from across the country when word came that President Uhuru Kenyatta had just invited CORD leaders to a meeting in State House; and that CORD had readily accepted the invite and gone. The sense of relief and the expressions of joy among the Church leaders was not only palpable but spontaneous. In fact, the meeting took a moment to thank God for the apparent breakthrough over a matter that had gripped the hearts of many Kenyans and brought the nation to a near stand-still. Not one of the Church leaders in the room considered the invitation by the President or CORD’s acceptance as unnecessary or unacceptable — a clear evidence that Kenyans from across the nation want a peaceful nation, where their leaders treat one another with decorum and magnanimity. Unfortunately, our leaders somehow assume that such engagements would make them appear weak and spineless. No wonder, before we could fully rejoice, they cut short our joy by abandoning the path of peace in preference for their loved route to war.

It is one John Ruskin who aptly said, “I believe that the first test of a great man is his humility. I don’t mean by humility, doubt of his power. But really great men have a curious feeling that the greatness is not of them, but through them. And they see something divine in every other man and are endlessly, foolishly, incredibly merciful.” The implication for us is that, by taking the grandstand, our leaders appear to have either abandoned the path of humility or they have never been there in the first place.

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Consequently, we have political leaders and public servants who seem to take pride in their boorish behavior, and others who hold us in contempt if we disagree with them. In the process they have totally undermined the dignity of leadership as they pursue personal interest at the expense of those they are supposed to lead and serve.

What our leaders do not realize is that, by abandoning the path of humility and decorum, they have set the nation on the road to destruction. Studies have shown that a dying culture invariably exhibits personal rudeness. Researchers have found that small acts of rudeness can quickly escalate to increasingly harmful events that can destroy whole communities or nations. In-deed, history shows that families, communities, institutions, or nations that have abandoned decorum have inevitably imploded into nothingness. That is why the negative talk by our leaders must concern all of us. They sow within us seed of discord whose effects are most obviously evident in our discourse on social media. Pundits are agreed that these seeds of evil are germinating and, should matters come to a head, will readily degenerate into a civil war, perhaps beyond anything we have ever known — well beyond the 2007/8 clashes.

It is for this reason that we must appeal to our leaders, both in government and the opposition. Please, please we beg you — by the mercies of God — abandon the selfish grandstanding and place the people of Kenya first. Men and women of every walk of life — ordinary citizens, religious leaders, business fraternity, and the diplomatic corps have all pleaded with you to find a peaceful way of resolving the stalemate. Accordingly, by sticking to one position, you represent none other than yourself. Yet, as a leader, God has given you a mandate to lead His people to green pastures, not drive them to slaughter. Therefore, for every innocent person whose life is cut short, or whose blood is spilt be-cause of you, God will most certainly bring you to account.

Dialogue: Best solution over the IEBC standoff

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By. Bishop David Oginde,

They are at it again. Yes, the politicians are full throttle stirring up emotions and setting us up against one another. IEBC and their fate is now the subject of varying opinions and tensed up emotions. As is usual with Kenyans, the comments and stands are as predictable as our ethnic stock. The situation we are faced with has every potential of taking us down the path we trod in 2007, a path that generates genuine angst in the hearts of many Kenyans. Of course not for politicians – they are a different breed. With the first and only interest being self, politicians have no qualms whatsoever dragging the whole nation to war, as long as it serves their cause. South Sudan and Burundi are proximate and recent examples. But, do we have to journey this road? Three teams hold the key.

As the main contender, CORD holds the first key. Ever since the 2013 elections, CORD has argued that IEBC lacks the capacity and credibility to conduct plausible elections. On the other hand, the Commission found itself implicated in an international corruption scandal that saw their European counterparts consigned to prison. In Kenya, nothing has happened. Thus, the Chickengate scandal – as it came to be known – handed the CORD team new ammunition against IEBC. CORD is thus determined to get rid of the commissioners by whatever means – including physically ejecting them from office.

The IEBC has held the position that they have the capacity and an untarnished record of holding credible elections over the last almost five years. The commission contends that though there were teething challenges with the implementation of the electronic voting system, these have been streamlined and, as the Americans would put it, they are good to

go. For the Commission, Chikengate and other alleged scandals are mere figments of the imagination of those with an axe to grind. The Chairman and his team cannot therefore countenance vacating office before the legitimate end of their tenure.

The third and equally critical key is held by the government. Their contention is simple: It is too late in the day to change the referee in such a major contest. And even if it is to be done, it must be done within the confines of the law. Whereas each of these arguments is valid, what Kenyans are hearing are drums of war. We can therefore take sides, sit tight, and pray that all will be well, but history shows otherwise. If the exchanges in the social media are anything to go by, the battle lines are already drawn and daggers unsheathed. No – we must sound the voice of caution.

CORD is perfectly right in pointing out its misgivings about the state of IEBC. Many have voiced similar concerns and called for its reconstitution. This notwithstanding, the move to physically eject the commissioners from their offices cannot be considered legitimate in the current constitutional regime. Other than its desired political effect, it could easily spiral into unintended orgy of violence and destruction that is common with mob activities. Thus, CORD must explore other more civilized routes for dealing with the issues.

That IEBC has lost credibility is not in doubt. What could be discussed is whether this loss is a result of mere perceptions or reality the line between the two is often blurred. However, the onus that this loss brings to the commissioners is heavy. It behooves them to make the choice between self and the nation.

In the legal system, judges often voluntarily disqualify themselves from a case if a party to the suit raises impartiality concerns. Such self-disqualification is not necessarily an admission of guilt but an upholding of the high standards of justice. Thus, whereas IEBC commissioners have a legitimate task to perform, they cannot simply sit tight as the nation drifts into chaos – it is immoral.

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While government has the legitimate responsibility to maintain peace and order, how this is done must not undermine the same peace we seek to preserve. One can only imagine what would happen if, for example, Raila was to be injured in a police fracas.

For a fact, we are between the rock and a hard place. As Anne Frank, the little Jewish victim of the German holocaust wrote: “In spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart. I simply can’t build up my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion, misery and death.” That is why the call for dialogue remains the most excellent way.

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Antitheists can pose danger but not Atheists

By. Dr. David Oginde

When the government declined to register the Atheists in Kenya (AIK) as a society earlier in the year, the argument was that registration of the group posed a threat to peace and good order. “The registrar has cause to believe that the interests of peace, welfare or good order in Kenya would likely suffer prejudice by reason of your registration as a society,” the Registrar said in a letter to the group. But, with the fears either allayed or overlooked, the group is now registered. Predictably, the reaction of many has been similar to that of the Registrar.

Thankfully, by their very nature and disposition, Atheists are some of the most harmless beings on earth. By holding a belief in nothing, true atheists should pose no threat to anybody. These are men and women who observe and experience phenomena, but explain or dismiss them purely on the basis of veritable evidence or lack thereof. Anything within the realm of the inexplicable is not and has never been. I can only say blessed are those who do not believe, for they shall never be disappointed.

Another reason why we should not worry about the Atheists in Kenya is their current president, Harrison Mumia. His arguments do not demonstrate the intellectual pluck of one who has given serious consideration to his offering. For example, when some raised the issue of a possible violation of the Constitution by registering his group — since the preamble of the 2010 Constitution clearly asserts Kenyans’ belief in God — Mumia dismissed the preamble as having been written merely to appease some religious groups who were opposed to the referendum.

I am no lawyer but, my understanding is that the preamble of any document, especially in a contract or covenant, is the most important part. The preamble sets out the fundamental beliefs, assumptions, and understandings, upon which any contract or covenant is entered into.

You go wrong on the preamble and the rest of the contract is defective; you dismiss it and the whole covenant is rendered invalid. If I were the Registrar, and I wanted to decline the AIK registration, the preamble would have been my shield — not fear. I would have asked AIK to untie my hands by first asking Kenyans to amend their strong religious assertion in the preamble.

However, if I were to have any worries about AIK, it would be their tendency towards Antitheism rather than Atheism- there is a significant difference. Whereas atheism is the non-belief in gods, antitheism is a conscious and deliberate opposition to a specific god, or all gods. Unfortunately, most so-called atheists are actually antitheists – men and women who have some beef with God. Antitheism is active and provides a cause and purpose for its proponents, while atheism is generally passive. While atheists are harmless individuals, antitheists can be a dangerous lot.Atheist.jpg

Mumia, if he is real, appears not to be an atheist but an antitheist, with a specific grudge against the Christian God. Most of his public vitriol has been against Christianity rather on religion in general. That spirit is generally known as anti-Christ — it is not atheism. But, God needs neither proof nor defense.

In fact, antitheism has never succeeded in obliterating the Church or thwarting the purposes of God. Otherwise the Church would not be around today read ancient and recent history. Individuals and kingdoms that dismissed or declared God dead have themselves crumbled and died, but the Church lives on. The man who declared religion the “opium of the people” is long gone, but in the kingdom he influenced, men and women have arisen with an unquenchable thirst for God. Eastern Europe is now a hot bed of the “opium.” There is just an attraction between God and the human heart that is unstoppable.

Finally, by accepting registration, Mumia and his team may have ventured into oblivion. Single men and women will confess to being ever irritated by the question, “When are you getting married?” Sadly, once they do and are issued with a certificate, we eat their rice and stew and then retreat to our daily routines — never to bother them again.

After the certificate, what awaits Mumia and AIK is the awesome task of organizing and populating a movement. He can be sure no one will bother him again — unless of course, as the Registrar feared, he becomes a threat to peace and good order.

Kenyan Ethnicity Is In Reality: Insincere

By Dr. David Oginde

It appears that Dr David Ndii stirred the hornet’s nest by calling on Kenyan nation-tribes to head for the divorce court and end what in his view is an abusive relationship. The reactions have been as varied. Yet, Dr. Ndii simply sounded a warning — a warning that all is not well in our family house.

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Kenya is not the first or only nation to struggle with ethnic or other diversity challenges. Even developed nations have not escaped this blight. Scotland recently held a referendum to determine whether or not to remain part of the polygamist marriage called Britain. Britain itself has chosen a come-we-stay relationship with the EU, refusing to tie the full knot of marriage. The French-English divide in Canada is well documented. Thus, many nations of the world have suffered some form of ethnic unease or other. Whereas each struggle has had its own unique history, studies have suggested that they share the incubation of predisposing factors that are then followed by a set of triggers that sometimes result in mass violence.

Many of these factors can only be understood by appreciating the nature of inter-ethnic relations within the particular context. In Africa, literature on ethnicity reveals that most tribes in contemporary Africa possess no pre-colonial antecedents. Instead, according to Patricia Daley, studies have exposed “the colonial state’s role in defining and categorizing the African population into supposedly distinct ethnic groups for the purposes of political control.” In other words, political leaders deliberately ignored the natural social categories and created artificial groupings convenient for political mobilization.

The assumption was that tribes, being either merely biological or based on false consciousness, would disappear with modernization and the development of national identities.

Unfortunately, as is the case in Kenya, they have not. It is perhaps in this light that Anderson (extensively quoted by Ndii) has argued that the nation is merely imagined. Interestingly, however, James Sidaway considered Anderson’s thesis to be materialist, “for he stresses that one of the things that makes nationalism possible is capitalism.” Sidaway argued that, on matters ethnic, there is no simple reduction, because complex dialectics are at work.

In a similar debate a few years back, Joyce Nyairo reasoned that our cultural and ethnic realignments are not created in perpetuity, “but are with the help of political actors and cultural brokers revised, rewritten, recreated depending on what people want to achieve and how they reposition their past to serve their political future.” Nyairo therefore argued for a new formulation of national identity driven by “the intellectual mettle to question the notion of tribe.” Kiriro wa Ngugi however stood with Anderson’s position, that nations are mere socially constructed entities open to processes of negotiation and revision. Wa Ngugi therefore argued that, whereas ethnicity must not be used for political mobilization, it is a critical and integral part of society that cannot easily, or perhaps never, be wished away. He thus took pride in his tribe, not based on original belonging to a place but as part of his DNA strain a fact that Diana Patel readily refuted; arguing that the differences in tribe have little or nothing to do with DNA.

What seems to emerge is that our cultural meanings and ethnic identities influence how we comprehend, explain, and act in the world. Yet, our selfish human nature drives us to want to dominate others, even if that other is a brother or sister from the same womb — a fact demonstrated by Cain’s murder of his brother Abel. That is why, in some situations, intra-ethnic conflict has been so strong as to render the notion of a tribal nation untenable. Whereas the contraption of a Western, a Central, or a Luo nation presupposes monolithic and homogenous groups within these regions that, once granted autonomy, would live happily ever after, nothing could be further from the truth. They will most likely claw at each other’s face right from wedding day. Check out South Sudan, and remember South Africa’s independence.

For Kenya, a critical reality is that our ethnic animosity is mainly superficial — not derived from fundamentals. As a city church, for example, the majority of weddings we conduct are inter-ethnic — often between a bride and groom from “enemy” communities. That is why; if there is to be a national divorce, let’s part ways with the political elite who, for their selfish ambitions, herd us like goats while painting other communities as our enemies.

This is a lie we must reject.

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Project ‘X’: A reason to retract our steps

By Bishop David Oginde

It most certainly caught almost everyone’s attention readily becoming the talk of town and easily upstaging the usual political rhetoric. The audacity of its adverts and the boldness of its promised recklessness was perhaps beyond what we are used to. Project-X challenged the safety of our discourse in every respect — especially on drugs and promiscuity. Parents have been waxing livid and the religious communities are off the stage, united in condemnation of the faceless organizers of this crude event. At some point, though, I wondered whether it was not all but a hoax. But I was duly silenced by some young people who confirmed that these parties do happen. For them, the only new thing was the brazen manner in which the organizers went public.

 
Indeed, further reading reveals that since the film by the same name was released in 2012, these kinds of events have been held in several nations of the world, sometimes “successfully” but many times with serious destructive outcomes. What is common though, is that in every nation where the plans have been known beforehand, there has been a public outcry. Even in the most liberal countries, parents have insisted on the cancellation and banning of the events. What is amazing, however, is the interest these events have stirred among teenagers across the globe. In almost every place where they have been proposed, the response has ranged from 500 to 10,000 teenagers expressing interest. Parties that have succeeded have recorded attendance of up to 5,000 teens in a home compound. Herein lies a major issue that should concern us all — what is it that is so attractive to our teens at these plots of wickedness? A Biblical example might shed some light.

 
Aaron, brother to Moses, was perhaps the first to successfully organize a “Project X” party. When Moses went up the mountain for a holy discourse, Aaron was left in charge of the pilgrims. Moses tarried long and the crowd grew weary. They demanded of Aaron to provide them some entertainment. Aaron readily obliged and created them a golden calf, to which the people made sacrifices and presented offerings. Afterward they sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry. The description of this revelry by commentators is something akin to what reportedly happens at Project X parties — music, alcohol, drugs, and sex with wanton abandon. By the time Moses came down to the camp, the orgy and revelry was more than he could fathom or stand. At God’s word, Moses ordered the people to kill one another in punishment. About 3,000 people died. Furthermore, the Lord struck the people with a plague because of what they did. Interestingly, in almost all Project X parties, similar deaths and plagues have been reported.

 
From this Biblical account, a few parallels can be drawn on the causes of these wicked desires. Key among these include: Weariness, boredom, weak leadership, and godlessness. After just about 40 days of waiting for Moses, these desert pilgrims grew weary and bored — nothing to engage their energies and nothing to entertain them. Could our teens be in a similar situation? In upmarket homes, it appears that young people are often confined with little or no meaningful engagement or wholesome entertainment. With no public social amenities, and home chores fully handled by house workers, the young people have almost nowhere to expend physical and social energy. The social media remains the ready outlet and wild parties become very attractive. Add to that the lack of strong leadership in many homes, where Moses tarries long at work, in business trips, or is absent altogether; then you have a perfect opportunity for Aaronic solutions such as Project X.

 
But, what is of even greater concern is the level of godlessness that is pervading our society. Many families are today raising their children with absolutely no reference to God. It has become chic to be unpolluted by religion — considered by many in this class as a pastime for the uneducated and the un-moneyed. The fact, however, is that without divine protection, many children from these homes are being lured into strange activities.
Empty hearts are being filled with drugs, promiscuity, and hedonism. For sure, without God, the devil is having a field day. Perhaps it is time we retraced our steps and restored our traditional values and lifestyles. Otherwise, the ground is set to swallow us up alive.footsteps-of-jesus-6-copy-001.jpg

Leaders Fail for Lack of good counsel

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By Bishop David Oginde

The other day I was confronted by a member who wanted to know what we had done about a serious incident that apparently happened three or so months ago. Listening to the details of the incident, it was clear in my mind that this was a mere rumor with no factual basis. This was premised on the notion that our systems are such that no such serious incident could occur without my knowing about it — certainly not for that long a time.
I thus concluded in my mind that my enquirer was merely out to tarnish the good name of the church and discredit my able leadership. I however promised to find out. When I did, I was surprised to find that the incident not only occurred but it was worse than had been told to me by the church member. To my shame I had to accept that I was not seized of critical information, and thus spoke out of ignorance.
Likewise, it has been sad to see our topmost leader slip up on critical decisions. The recent flips on the appointment of Justice Tunoi tribunal are just the latest among a long list of such missteps. It paints our President badly, both locally and internationally. And though some may point fingers at the President, the real culprits are his advisors and managers.
The wise Solomon said: Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisors they succeed. As one gets atop the leadership ladder, decision making becomes a key responsibility. Yet, this higher elevation takes the leader further from where issues to be adjudged occur. That is why every leader needs good advisors who can feed him or her with facts and figures necessary for a wise decision. At the level of a President, one so depends on good advice and efficient management that he or she becomes more like computer garbage in garbage out. Correct data from good intelligence is paramount. Technocrats must provide counsel on various areas of expertise. A meticulously managed calendar ensures that appointments do not clash. Indeed, a President must never be late for assignments. In this time and age, it not only reflects disorganization within his team, but inadvertently implies disrespect for the people waiting — sometimes for hours. Yet, with a good and empowered team, precision can be achieved.
Twice, many years ago, I had the honor of making preparations to host President Moi at our church functions. As usual, the President’s team came well in advance of the day to ensure everything was in order. On the previous day, the Nairobi PC came to inspect everything. We inquired of him the time to expect the President. “9:23am,” said the PC. Shocked, we asked him why such an odd time. “Because he will arrive at 9:23am,” he replied, with a sense of pride and confidence. Indeed, at exactly 9:23am the following day, the President stepped out of his limousine at our gate. On another occasion, a couple of years later, the PC told us the President would arrive at 10:17am — and he did. I have never forgotten.
There are several categories of teams that can mess up the leader. First are sycophants who tell him only what they think he needs to hear. Then there are those who efficiently deal with matters and consider it a bother to report. Both are intent on shielding the leader from bad news. Others are simply disorganized and consequently disorganize the leader. For example, last year President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe was given a wrong Parliamentary opening speech.
The panic and confusion that followed resulted in the President having to read a second speech, thus throwing the assembly into a standing orders quagmire. The opposition insisted it had embarrassed the President, and the country, and heads had to roll.
In his book, Bad Advice, Harold Bruff explains how on several occasions, top lawyers in the Bush administration decided to manipulate the law for political expediency. The President thus proceeded to make constitutional blunders in his decisions, sometimes with disastrous consequences. Similar goofs and gaffes have dogged our own Presidency.
The President has severally been obviously mismanaged and at times, badly advised. This erodes the dignity of the office and must stop. With a good team, Pharaoh should worry about nothing except the food he eats. Otherwise, he will tumble and fumble over even the simplest decision— leaving him naked and badly ashamed.

#PundaAmechoka: Instill Back the Kenyan Sanity

By Bishop David Oginde

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First I was excited; then, very sad; but finally, quite alarmed. Excited because finally the truth about mega corruption seemed to be unfolding; something many have longed for — even prayed for. Indeed, only a fortnight ago, we prayed in this space for the unmasking of the faces behind the massive looting of state resources. But even with this, I became sad. Sad because, if there is any truth to the allegations made and the names being mentioned, then our goose is cooked. These are some of the chief custodians of our resources and top guardians of our justice system. That these great men and women could be so committed to running us around is simply overwhelming.

But, on deeper reflection, I suddenly became alarmed — very alarmed. Like one from whose eyes scales have fallen, I wondered whether this might not be mere drama — very high drama. Like in those investigative movies where you think they have nabbed the culprit only for things to turnout otherwise, these sworn affidavits are beginning to smell. First it was journalist Geoffrey Kiplagat who, in a sworn affidavit, detailed how Justice Phillip Tunoi allegedly received $2 million to influence an election petition against Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero. The claims jolted the Judiciary and hold the potential of crippling the Supreme Court, especially if other judges of the court are drawn in.

Next came Josephine Kabura, one of the key suspects in the alleged theft of Sh791 million at the NYS. In a detailed affidavit, Kabura placed former Devolution CS Anne Waiguru squarely at the centre of the scandal. Kabura further roped in other key figures from both inside and outside government, with damning allegations of their complicity in the carefully crafted looting spree. As would be expected, the revelations immediately rocked the Executive arm of government, where the CS has been a key player. A flurry of activity ensued, with some ready to die for the former CS while others apparently prepared to bury her. Before we could fully come to terms with the Kabura revelations, in came the former CS herself. Ms Waiguru has also sworn an affidavit detailing those she alleges to have been behind the NYS scam. By naming some of the closest allies to the Deputy President as accomplices in the NYS scam, the former CS appears to have thrown a targeted stone at the very centre of the ruling coalition waters. How far the resulting ripples will go will soon be evident.
It is this rapid succession of high voltage activity that is causing some alarm. This use of detailed affidavits is beginning to appear like witchcraft. Too many balls are being thrown into the air and one can easily miss them all. Yet, this could be the intention of the players — to have our heads spinning into dizziness. Once we are fainted, they will bring it all to an abrupt end and dash off backstage to enjoy their booty. It has happened before, it can happen again. Remember the drama around the Ouko murder investigations, arrests, and hearings; Goldenberg arrests and hearings; Anglo Leasing arrests and hearings; and yes, the State of the Nation address list of shame. All smoke but no fire.

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My fertile mind tells me that this could be an Operation No One Standing, or #NoOneStanding. More affidavits could be on the way, perhaps roping in other key figures in other arms of government. Others could also bring in key opposition leaders, if not the leader himself. To spice it up, a few key bishops, sheiks, and imams should be included. Then we will be left with our mouths wide open and our eyes teary. The net consequence: there will be no one left finger pointing — no one with the locus standi to investigate, prosecute, or judge any corruption suspect. Then we will be forced to settle down and accept that Kenya is corrupt to the highest heavens!

We must persist in prayer for God’s divine intervention. But Kenyans must also remain focused and demand that serious action is taken to deal with what is obviously entrenched corruption in the highest echelons of power. It is the height of insult and oppression for a burdened workforce to be overloaded with innumerable taxes and tolls, simply because most of our monies end up in pockets of individuals. This thieving and the accompanying drama must be brought to an end once and for all. Like many have pointed out — punda amechoka!

A Minute to Implore God for Kenya

The verdict is out. A pronouncement by the chief judge of the highest court: Kenya is a “bandit economy with mafia-style cartels run by political bosses and corrupt businesspeople.” According to the Chief Justice, “The influence of the cartels is overwhelming…” In a sense, this is not news. And yet, its tone stirs within us a sense of hopelessness and helplessness, leaving none able to reverse the tide.

As I have pondered over this my spiritual self tells me we must not give in to this despair. Instead, we must wrestle these forces through prayer. This, I request we do today. If by the nature of your background, learning, or disposition, you do not subscribe to the belief in the existence of the divine, you need not read any further. But for those who are base enough to believe in a God who rules and reigns over the affairs of this world, join me in pleading for the redemption of the soul of our nation.

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O God of all creation, bless this land and nation. For unless you do, we appear headed to the abyss.
In your wisdom you guided the fathers of our nation to place you, our God, at the center of all that we do. They therefore crafted our national anthem into a perpetual prayer to Jehovah, the maker of heaven and earth.

But with time, we have vastly deviated from this commitment. Instead, we have created our own gods and pursued them with wicked diligence. The god of mammon has captivated our hearts and totally blurred our vision of you. From the highest of our leaders to the lowest of our citizens, this god is driving all that we do.

Consequently, in our own admission, we have become corrupt to the core. The Scripture is thus proved that the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. For this, O Lord, we plead for your forgiveness and ask for your deliverance. Wrench our hearts from this enslaving desire for more and more of filthy lucre. Remove from our ranks, every man or woman bent on feeding on our sweat. Like Judas, may those who steal from us not live to enjoy their loot. But like Zacchaeus, save those who willingly return it.

Lord, our fathers prayed that we may dwell in unity, peace, and liberty. Instead, we have raised up for ourselves tribal kings that have led us into ethnic division, hatred, and brutal animosity. We have spilt innocent blood in the pursuit of tribal wealth and political power. This blood cries out before you, our God. Today we come in repentance and plead for your mercy. Purge our land from this wicked vice of tribalism. Deliver our leaders from divisive politics, and remove those who are bent on sowing seeds of discord. Raise up for us men and women of peace, with a passion for the good of our nation.

Prayer 3

Lord, we seem to be a nation under siege. The terrorists have conspired and are determined to destroy this land. They have killed and maimed our people at will. Our economy is being ruined and our prospects for growth dimmed due to fear and uncertainty by potential visitors and possible investors. You O God are God Almighty — a God who needs no defense. Would you not arise and uproot this enemy from the land. Like in the days of King Jehoshaphat, may their guns be turned against themselves until all are destroyed. May we thence enjoy peaceful rest as you breathe life into our economy.
And Lord, your house lies in ruins. The living stones have become a mere heap of rubble, and the watchmen have turned into thieves. Thus your bride has become a disgrace and byword in the land. Arise O God and restore the glory of your House and the dignity of your Bride. Like you did in Jerusalem, drive out the thieves and robbers whose only intent is to fleece your flock, and to enrich themselves. Uproot the tares that threaten to choke the wheat. Raise up the voice of the prophet and restore the place of the priest. Transform us once again into the salt and the light that you intended us to be. And may your glory cover this land, as the waters cover the sea. Be pleased to hear our prayer, for we pray it for your glory, in Jesus’ name. Amen

Amen

Remedy Your House Mr. CJ

By Bishop David Oginde (Phd)

Everything rises and falls on leadership — is the oft quoted wisdom from the great leadership guru, John Maxwell. A lakeside version says: the fish rots from the head. The import is staggeringly profound. Whenever there is success in the family, organization, or nation, the leader must be commended and duly crowned irrespective of whatever factors may have contributed to that success. Some often take offence that they work so hard and yet it is the leader that receives the accolades. Well, that is the glory of leadership. On the flipside though, when there is failure, all fingers are justifiably pointed at the leader; no matter how removed he may have been from the causes of failure. That is the burden of leadership.

What this means is that a person’s privilege of lament ceases upon assuming a leadership role. Henceforth, he or she must bear the demands of leadership unflinchingly like the beast of burden. A father may lament over the terrible family he heads, a CEO about the disorganized entity he presides over, or a president about the overwhelming wickedness in his nation; people will listen, but often with little sympathy. For the sole task of leadership is to transform chaos into order. It is what distinguishes a driver from a passenger. The one is actively engaged in navigation, the other passively engrossed in critique.

It is in this light that it was greatly shocking to hear the Chief Justice take the place of a passenger, and lament — to a foreign journalist about the rot in his own country. Most regrettable was his dirge over the Judiciary that he heads. The President of the highest court in the land mourned, “I’m riding a tiger, hoping that the monster will not devour me.” The implication is unflattering. Instead of finding ways of slaying the tiger, the CJ has been preoccupied with ensuring his own safety, before he disembarks the beast. Thus the CJ lamented, “As long as I fight the cartels and they are protected, you cannot achieve anything. You are taking these people into a corrupt investigating system, through a corrupt anti-corruption system, and a corrupt Judiciary.” Sad, but whatever else he may have intended to communicate, the CJ inadvertently conceded personal leadership defeat. Whereas the allegedly corrupt investigating system and the purportedly corrupt anti-corruption system are understandably beyond his purview, the corrupt Judiciary is his, and his only, to transform.

As if taking cue from the CJ, Nairobi lawyer, Ahmednassir Abdullahi, equally came out guns blazing against the Judiciary. Decrying the utter rottenness of the institution, he lamented how the Kenyan people have never been rewarded with an efficient, competent and corruption free Judiciary. Instead, we have been “saddled with a Judiciary that is rotten to the core, stinking to the high heavens, byzantine and barbaric.” One wonders who was supposed to reward Kenyans with that efficient, competent and corruption free Judiciary if not the CJ. But, considering that Ahmednassir has been viewed as the de facto kingmaker in the Judiciary, and the cheerleader for the CJ, it would be wisdom to listen more to what he is not saying than to what he is.

At the vetting and subsequent nomination of the Chief Justice, Ahmednassir publicly dimmed the lights of every candidate until only that of Mutunga remained shining. Accordingly, only one name was presented to the President for due appointment. Though some challenged the wisdom and legality of his, the forces behind the nomination prevailed. One wonders, therefore, whether the current ruckus is not similarly a two-pronged strategy for the succession plans at the Judiciary. On the one hand, it could be a scheme to absolve Dr. Mutunga from the failure at the Judiciary, and thus prepare him for better things in retirement. On the other, it could be a tactic to disqualify most, if not all, of the current judges, so as to once again prop up predetermined candidates from outside the system to succeed Dr. Mutunga and his Deputy. This would be most unfortunate, as it would mean that our Judiciary is constantly being churned at the behest of external players.

In a day and age when our society is becoming more and more litigious, Kenyans need to be rewarded with an efficient, competent, and corruption free Judiciary. But, contrary to the conclusions of both Dr. Mutunga and Ahmednassir, there still remain patriotic men and women, with proven judicial rigor and unflinching capacity to slay the tiger. The task of identifying such cannot be merely left to shenanigans.
We must be the masters of our own destiny.

Patriotism: How To Fight The War Against Terror

By Bishop David Oginde, PhD

Our deepest condolences go to the families of the KDF soldiers who lost their lives as they defended our nation. In your loss, you have borne the greatest price by sacrificing your father, husband, brother, or son in this war against evil. May the Lord grant you the grace, peace and comfort that only He can give in such moments.

In the midst of this grief, our reactions and responses bring to mind an almost similar incident recorded in the Holy Scriptures. David was on the run from a furiously jealous King Saul, who wanted him dead — not alive. David took to flight and safely settled among the Philistines, the people whose mighty warrior Goliath he had earlier killed. But one day, while David and his army was away, the Amalekites raided David’s camp and, in Al- Shabbab style, burnt it with fire and took away all that could be taken.

When David and his men returned, there was their camp — burned with fire. Their wives, sons, and daughters had been taken captive. David and his men lifted up their voices and wept, until they had no more strength to weep. But, the men did not stop at weeping. They conspired to stone David to death. Greatly distressed, David found strength in the Lord His God.

That our nation has been thrown into bewilderment by the attack on the KDF soldiers is not in doubt. Pain, anger, and grief have all combined to drive us to a near state of confusion and despair. Like David’s men, some of us have been ready to stone whoever in government we consider culpable in this loss of human life. This is all understandable in such circumstances. Indeed, the families are especially justified in feeling mishandled, particularly because of the limited flow of information about the whereabouts of their loved ones.

However, it has been greatly heartwarming to see Kenyans rally together in a united show of solidarity. Some have spent night vigils at Uhuru Park to celebrate the fallen heroes. The unusual show of unity between CORD Leader Raila Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta has been greatly refreshing. That is as it should be. Otherwise, the terrorist’s only aim is to instill fear and anxiety, so as to paralyze our very life as a nation. But, in the words of Raila, we must “believe in these three words… We Shall Overcome.” We must muster a united national resolve to fight this battle to the end.

After the 911 attack in the United States, besides the shock and horror, the attack stirred a surge of public expressions of patriotism not seen since World War II. With displays of the American flag, Americans rallied around the popularized phrase, “United We Stand,” thereby shoring resilience and keeping the American spirit alive in the face of a devastating attack. Many rallied behind President Bush in support of national recovery. Similarly, after the Paris attack, a trade union of hotels and restaurants launched a campaign dubbed, “Tous au Bistrot!” – meaning “everybody to the bistro!” The French culture minister, Fleur Pellerin, also moved to keep the French spirits high. “Everything will be done so that music remains alive in our country,” Ms. Pellerin said.

“Culture is our greatest shield, and our artists are our best weapon.” In David’s case, he arose and enquired of God whether he should pursue the attackers. God sent him forth with the assurance of victory. David mustered his army, overtook the enemy, and recovered all.

In our case, the dilemma remains whether to withdraw our troops from Somalia or not. Whereas I am no war expert, I have wondered at the wisdom of a withdrawal. Kenya did not go into Somalia because of our love for war. It was because Al Shabbab had turned our nation into its playground—terrorizing our people and killing them at will. If KDF— and by extension, the Amisom troops — withdraw from Somalia, the nascent government of Somalia will be overrun by these criminals.

They will then have free reign in this vast coastal nation. Piracy will be re-established and illegal trade reinstituted. Predictably, Kenya will be the marketplace. But worse, terrorism will find its way back into our land and the deaths we fear will be right at our doorsteps. That is why it has been my conviction that our peace lies in securing the peace of Somalia. Behind this we must rally our patriotic support unbowed and uncowed.