By Blamuel Njururi, Kenya Confidential Editor-in-Chief – Nairobi, Sunday July 15, 2017
This Sundy I wish to repeat a story I told as a Sunday sermon a year ago on June 2017 because I believe now, more than any other time, Kenya is at the crossroads of corruption-driven holocaust and dire need for moral rearmament to end corruption.
We, the people of Kenya,
ACKNOWLEDGING the supremacy of the Almighty God of all creation:
HONOURING those who heroically struggled to bring freedom and justice to our land:
PROUD of our ethnic, cultural and religious diversity, and determined to live in peace and unity as one indivisible sovereign nation:
RESPECTFUL of the environment, which is our heritage, and determined to sustain it for the benefit of future generations:
COMMITTED to nurturing and protecting the well-being of the individual, the family, communities and the nation:
RECOGNISING the aspirations of all Kenyans for a government based on the essential values of human rights, equality, freedom, democracy, social justice and the rule of law:
EXERCISING our sovereign and inalienable right to determine the form of governance of our country and having participated fully in the making of this Constitution:
ADOPT, ENACT and give this Constitution to ourselves and to our future generations. GOD BLESS KENYA
In that preamble Kenyans unreservedly commit ourselves and our Motherland to the supremacy of the Almighty God of All Creation. We also commit ourselves to honour our heroes, to be proud of our ethnicity, cultural and religious diversity, to respect the environment and to recognise the aspirations of all Kenyans. Not some Kenyans but all Kenyans their ethnic, religious, political, educational and social standing or status not withstanding.
The Constitutional pledge on patriotism is replicated in our National Anthem sang in schools and during political rallies. The most important message is that we have a great ethnic diversity and we all must live in one Kenya, as one people.
My big question this Sunday is; are we living in the Kenya we have defined and envisaged in our New Constitution?
My short answer is we are not, my long answer is, we can.
In these days of ethical rot, moral decay and political turmoil, how can those who call ourselves Christians, summon fresh energies to be a wave of contradiction in our society in order to turn the tide against corruption with courage, conviction, determination and credibility?
A problem can only be solved when it is first accepted as one, then discussed and solutions formulated and implemented fully. Corruption must be recognised as a moral problem then discussed at family and community levels and solutions formulated to curb it. The Bible teaches Love your neighbour as yourself” Mark 12:31. You can’t love God if you don’t love your neighbour. Join Citizens Against Corruption as a neighbourhood initiative to move in tandem against the social menace. We must activate neighbourhood level vigil, observe strict work ethic and embrace national moral discipline. How can we reflect the image of Jesus Christ in our lives, in our communities, in our nation and in the world we live in?
Much of what many Kenyans consider “normal” in our society today is an open affront on the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the values of the Almighty Kingdom. The abhorrent corruption in all sectors of our society, the epidemic of repugnant greediness and avarice, the level of shameless deceit and falsehoods, widespread indiscipline in the land, the high degree of violence in our society, the impulsive and hysterical ethnic hate, the bickering, squabbles and wrangling among politicians – many who call themselves Christians, the blatantly brazen abuse of power and privilege, the preponderance of fornication and adultery, and the wicked and scandalous gap between the rich and the poor, are clear descriptions of a place called hell.
The demonic craze for materialism in the society has led many Christians to the dingy cloakrooms of witchcraft, doorsteps of occultism and devil worship. Advertisements of gambling and stage-managed miracles are prevalent, some of them religious and less and less attention given to preaching about wholesome living in authentic and faithful Christian life. Kenya is at the crossroads of corruption-driven holocaust and dire need for moral rearmament.
Life is a journey. Do you hear of Margaret Wanjiru
Religion features at the very beginning of our Nation’s Constitution and our National Anthem. As amplified at the beginning, the preamble to Kenya’s 2010 Constitution, affirms that we intend to live together as one united country under God. In fact the overwhelming majority of Kenyans are religious people.
We believe in the supremacy of God. We believe that God is the very basis of our individual lives and our corporate existence. We believe in and relate with supernatural realities through prayers and supplications.
We have Churches, Mosques, and Shrines of worship and sundry prayer houses everywhere in the land. Urban centres are densely populated with places of worship. We too suffer deceitful individuals. We take part in crusades, worship sessions and vigils; we offer sacrifices and observe fasting days and religious holidays; and we go in large numbers on religious pilgrimages to Jerusalem and Mecca, taking pride in being called Jerusalem Pilgrim (JP) or Alhaj, for the rest of our lives.
While there is noticeable decline in religious enthusiasm in many parts of the world, the religious enterprise appears to be in top gear in Kenya, as more and more company warehouses and private buildings are being converted to prayer houses, and our sports facilities all over the country are being used more for religious crusades than for sporting events. Religion is a multi-billion-shilling industry in Kenya.
Streets within our towns and villages, as well as inter-Counties highways are often blocked these days by enthusiastic worshippers who flock to Churches and camp meetings. In many of our urban areas, there are as many churches and mosques as there are kiosks! Schools are turned into places of worship on Sundays. Road pavements witness long queues of vehicles on Sundays peaking at month ends.
Within this religious firmament, priests, pastors and prophets, as well as sheikhs, imams and gurus of all sorts are swelling in number and having a field day. In the last few years, a new dimension has also been added to the thriving religious enterprise. High-ranking public officials increased patronage not only openly call for and sponsor regular prayer sessions in different prayer houses, but have themselves become born again Christians and prayer merchants.
They often appear at Church crusades and prayer vigils with all the paraphernalia of public office, and sometimes grab the microphone to deliver sanctimonious homilies and earth-shaking prayers. Kenya also has a huge number of reformed convicts and police officers spreading the Word of God.
Yes, these days, prayer and preaching sessions are no longer limited to Churches, Mosques and homes. They are held at corporate boardrooms, in government offices, in commercial buses and in open markets. Kenyans going about their daily business can be seen brandishing the Bible or the Koran, the Rosary or Islamic prayer beads. The largest billboards in our towns and cities are those proclaiming upcoming religious events.
Religious exclamations such as “God is Good all the time”, “All the time God is Good”, “to God be the glory,” “Praise the Lord,” and “Allahuakbar,” are often on the lips of many Kenyans, at work or at play and at political meetings. Therefore, from all outward indications, Kenyans are a habitually religious people. There is perhaps no other nation in the modern world wearing the title of “God-fearing nation” as Kenya.
With all this show of religiosity or outward display of piety, one would have expected to see a very high degree of ethical conduct and social morality in Kenya, since all world religions generally promote truth, justice, honesty and probity. But this is not to be the case with us. The brand of Christianity that is experiencing the fastest growth in Kenya today does not seem to have a place for the notion of the Cross or for sacrifice which constitute the centre of traditional Christian doctrine and life.
At a time when Christian leaders and groups should use the message of the Cross and a modest and austere lifestyle to contradict the insensitive materialism and extreme economic liberalism of our age that are daily crushing the poor, we are confronted with scandalously expensive Churches, sheltering stinkingly wealthy priests and nauseatingly flashy pastors, whose distinction of success include palatial mansions, state of the art fuel-guzzling limos and custom-designed suits and shoes. The priests’ opulence and intoxicating riches cannot be traced one generation backwards. Their grandparents languished in poverty as many still do in their neighbourhoods
There is an embarrassing contradiction between the high ethical demands of Christianity and the actual lives that many Christians are living. Fraud, thievery and dishonesty have become the order of the day, even as our environment is awash with prayers and ritual sacrifices to the God of Truth, justice and righteousness. Christian values seem not to percolate through societal fabric to soften the stonehearted.
It doesn’t seem to be a matter of contradiction for many highly placed Kenyans that they embezzle or misappropriate stupendous amounts of public and company (or even church) funds, while at the same time struggling to occupy the front seats or even take religious titles and other honours in their churches and mosques. Worse some are have their hands dripping with the blood of innocent Kenyans killed in political violence and cattle rustling.
Lawyers i Kenya are more of accomplices than justice seekers
Many executive Kenyans often fraudulently procure medical certificates of fitness from hospitals when they have not undergone any medical tests – even when they are HIV positive and spread the killer disease to other people’s wives they lure with money and promises of promotions or unsuspecting young girls taken on European cruise holidays. They also obtain sick leave permits from doctors, when they are healthy and robust – to cover up mischievous or immoral escapades.
Kenyans sometimes falsify the age of their children and obtain fake birth certificates in order to get them into nursery or primary schools earlier than the stipulated age. Witnesses and police officers in Kenyan courts have no qualms holding the Bible or Quran in court, they vow to tell the truth and nothing but the truth, only to tell unrestrained bundle of lies. They routinely swear to false affidavits in order to claim some undeserved benefits, and make false age declarations when seeking employment or admission into institutions of learning.
All these evil practices are so commonplace and so widespread that many young Kenyans are today unable to distinguish between good and evil or between right and wrong. Indeed, several surveys done by respectable institutions including religious-related Aga Khan University showed that Kenyan youth consider corruption as a way of life in Kenya. Kenya police spokespersons have often unashamedly argued that corruption within police ranks is a reflection of the Kenyan society. The Kenya police have been ranked as most corrupt public service body over several decades.
Many of our countrymen and women who engage in the sharp practices listed above would like to be seen as upright in behaviour and religious people. But in truth are they? Do they really know the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of holiness and righteousness, who in Leviticus 19:2 says, “Be Holy for I the Lord am Holy?”
Do they really know the God of Moses and Joshua who on Mount Sinai presented the 10 Commandments as the terms of his contract with his people, insisting that fidelity to this ethical code is what will distinguish his people from all others?
Do they deep in their minds or hearts know or think about their individual purpose on Earth? Do they think God created them as special people and all others who do not give or take bribes as fools? Do they think they are the chosen ones to enjoy and deprive fellow human beings of their benefit from public coffers?
Do Kenyans who claim to worship God, but who at the same time offer and take bribes, defraud, evade tax and circumvent just laws in numerous ways, really know the God of Moses who in Exodus 22:8 says, “You will accept no bribes, for a bribe blinds the clear-sighted and is the cause of the ruin of the upright.”
Jesus Christ himself denounced the kind of religious practice that is not matched by high moral and ethical standards in private and social life (cf. Matthew 5-7). These standards include a high level of truth and honesty in interpersonal and social relationships, a high sense of purity, modesty and humility, a profound sense of self-sacrifice, a readiness to forgive as often as one is offended and a disposition towards peace and non-violence.
He made his disciples realise that not all who claim to be his followers would enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but only those who do the will of the Father in heaven. And the will of the Father in heaven is that they be perfect as the heavenly Father himself is perfect. (Matt 5:48).
It is evil, indeed shameless self-deceit, for a person who presents himself or herself to be a Christian to stand before a Congregation and proclaim to be against corruption or to appear on national television and swear to clean up corruption in institutions like Nairobi County Government, yet be photographed bribing potential voters when seeking an elective office of Governor.
Since God works in miracles, it did not take long before one such preacher calling herself “Bishop” Margaret Wanjiru was shamed in public after Satan dragged her to destroy voter registration materials only to be arrested and charged in a Nairobi Court. The lesson to be learned here is that you can cheat some people some time, but you cannot cheat all people all the time and certainly you cannot cheat God at any time.
We must therefore, be faithful to our Constitution and recognise the aspirations of all Kenyans for a government based on the essential values of human rights, equality, freedom, democracy, social justice and the rule of law – devoid of corruption.