By NJONJO MUE
Let one and all arise
With hearts both strong and true
Service be our earnest endeavour
And our homeland of Kenya
Heritage of splendor
Firm may we stand to defend
2nd Stanza of the National Anthem.
We are living through dark and difficult days in Kenya at the start of the ninth year of the first decade of the twenty first century. Society has simply stopped making sense. We are unable to feed ourselves, to keep watch over the public purse, to pay our teachers, to protect our children, to resettle the displaced, and to apprehend and punish criminals, including those who bear the title “honourable.” The tragic fire that recently engulfed a leading supermarket in downtown Nairobi is a sad reminder of the flames that are engulfing us on every side, flames we are apparently unable summon up the courage or the will to put out.
We are frustrated and we are angry. Angry at those who have made it their stock in trade to gamble with our very lives; angry at institutions which only seem to work for the rich and trample upon the poor; angry at our own apparent helplessness to take charge of our destiny. We are also guilty. Guilty because the selfsame individuals and cartels are where they are because we helped put them there. Guilty because we voted for them, we sang for them, we praised them and carried them on our shoulders; we even fought and killed each other for them.
Yet one year down the road, many of the once excited masses are on the verge of utter despair. The daily newspaper headlines tell a sad tale of a country adrift coasting along on auto-pilot with no one particularly in charge. The walls surrounding our nationhood seem to have collapsed. Now it is a free for all as people who call themselves leaders help themselves to our scarce resources as they build up their bribing arsenal for the next round of this debilitating duel scheduled for 2012.
Many citizens have already resigned themselves to the fact that blood will again be shed as the titans battle it out again in four year’s time. Others are simply too exhausted to engage. They simply throw their hands in the air in surrender to the politicians whom we have allowed to move to the centre-stage of national affairs with their dizzying intrigues. Many still are in awe of the waheshimiwa’s and treat them with pretended reverence hoping to have a morsel of the stolen bread tossed their way. Most are just too busy trying to put food on the table to get distracted by the daily shenanigans of politics.
One suspects that the various crises unfolding in this country almost on a daily basis are orchestrated from certain quarters. This with a view to overwhelming the people with the sheer magnitude of the challenges that face us. We are too busy putting out the fires to stop and think and plan ahead. The idea seems to keep the citizenry too preoccupied to notice that 2012 is fast approaching, and then do what politicians do best – mobilize along ethnic lines and whip “their communities” into meaningless coalitions for the sole purpose of making a grab at power.
Writer Milan Kundera poignantly reminds us that the struggle of people against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting. And so for the sake of our national survival we must remember. We must remember all the injustices visited upon us by the oligarchy that has arrogated upon itself the divine power to misrule. We must remember the oppression and repression, the pillage and the plunder, the murder and the torture of the governed by the governors. We must also remember that those who conspired to steal the garment that covered our country’s nakedness are the same ones who will come in four year’s time calling us out to line up behind them and give them the mandate to once more loot, kill and maim by their acts of commission and omission.
But we dare not stop at remembering. We must act and act decisively. We must draw a line in the sand and tell the oligarchy “thus far and no further!” We must recall once again the ringing challenge of our national anthem which bids us to stand firm and defend “our homeland of Kenya, heritage of splendor.” Time has come to defend this homeland and this heritage from all enemies – foreign and domestic – including the domestic ones who drive around in big cars, some even having the temerity to fly our national flag while all they do is plan the next heist on our national resources.
If our so called government can sit tight and watch what has happened in this country over the last few months take place and not act decisively and convincingly to rid itself of those in its midst who are responsible for the starvation, the murder and the mayhem, it is not only our right, but our bounden sovereign duty to overthrow it and replace it with one that shall be accountable to the people – not to tribal blocks or to this or that or the other party or coalition.
Now is the time that the Kenyan people have to call upon the courage of a different age and the spirit of a previous generation which dared to take up homemade guns in a blatantly unequal contest to take their country back. Only this time, where others chose violence, we shall engage with our intellect; where others killed to make their point, we shall heal to make ours. But we should not kid ourselves. No matter how peaceful the means we choose, there shall be a cost, for power concedes nothing.
If we keep silent at such a time as this, God will raise another generation that is able and willing to take on our demons and lead our country to the Promised Land while we ourselves perish in the wilderness of our despair. But if we recognize that our very freedom is at stake and proclaim from the rooftops that no one shall take us hostage ever again, God shall raise a standard and He shall lead us on to victory. On which side will you stand?
3rd February 2009
In a separate development, this blog has been mentioned among 100 best for learning about Africa.
“Remember, my people, the ones I once called my children, what I told you months ago about the scorching- that you must choose between your self based even religious perceptions and work versus accepting me, the SON. Have you forgotten the parable of the sower as in Matthew chapter 13? Read it again! Learn it and inscribe it on your heart. Don’t let the seeds my prophets, my teachers of the Gospel, have spoken and revealed of me- the Word Himself- go unheeded. This is your last warning for the scorching sun is now here bringing with it famine like none you have known before. Matthew 13:6- “But when the sun rose, they (the seeds on rocky ground) were scorched because they had no roots- they dried up and withered away.”
I tell you, I love you, my Kenyan children, but I say: “get roots in ME, the ONLY BREAD OF LIFE AND LIVING WATER, before it is too late.” Roots mean faith. Are you rooted in self efforts? Your successes? Your hard work? Your playing church? Your spiritual harlotry? Are you content with bragging about hearing the Lord but not appropriating the Word (Christ Himself through the power of the Holy Spirit) entirely?
My people, the ones I have dearly loved, the world waits and turns to you for an example for you have known depths of trials that many have never known. Your roots were once solid for some of you. But some have been burned up. I tell you, leave you selfish pride and leave your churchianity. Find now URGENTLY spiritual fathers and mentors immediately who will model and facilitate walking in me- the SON , the Word made flesh. Let the tutors and governors (see Romans 8) now come forth and mentor the fatherless.
DO NOT DELAY. If you have ears to hear and eyes to perceive lay hold of the SON entirely NOW. There is no time left. The scorching sun is on the hroizon and anything you try and collect that is not more of me – more of my character and more of the “great I am who am Himself” will surely burn up. Stop collecting and storing treasures in your own means.
I ask you to spend days and nights in travail. Make me your life’s passion again. Become rooted or, as the natural famine you fear, an even worse spiritrual famine will come upon you unawares.
NOW GET READY.NOW-DO NOT DELAY or suddenly and without warning the roots will be scorched and dry up and even the little false sprituality and churchianity you have will rot.
Find roots- Seek out authentic mentors and representatives of me who will only speak all Scriptural truth in its entiety rather than piecing and parcelling me out. For there are those among you even with doctrines of leaven as of the Pharisees and Sadduccees- signs, wonders, and things they shall do but the roots are not broad and deep.See Matthew 16:1-5:
“Now the Pharisees and Sadduccees came up to Jesus and they asked Him to show them a sign from heaven attesting to His divine authority. He replied to them, ‘When it is evening you say, It will be fair weather, for the sky is red, And in the mroning, It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and has a gloomy and threatening look. You know how to interpret the appreance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. A wicked and morally unfaithful generation craves a sign but no sign shall be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. THEN JESUS LEFT THEM AND WENT AWAY.”
I will, my children, again establish roots if you will repent and turn to me at once. I will not delay. And I will heal the righteous in the land. One without roots will be scorched next to the one who is rooted in me. One will fall by your side and even hundreds in a day but you will walk past them with your held held high for you know the gloryand lifter of your head, if you are rooted in me. Do not delay. Choose now with solid faithful assurance and firm conviction.
ACTS 10:34-35-“AND PETER OPENED HIS MOUTH AND SAID: ‘MOST CERTAINLY AND THOROUGHLY I NOW PERCEIVE AND UNDERSTAND THAT GOD SHOWS NO PARTIALITY AND IS NO RESPECTER OF PERSONS. BUT IN EVERY NATION HE WHO VENERATES AND HAS A REVERENTAL FEAR FOR GOD TREATING HIM WITH WORSHIPFUL OBEDIENCE AND LIVING UPRIGHTLY IS ACCEPTABLE TO HIM AND SURE OF BEING RECEIVED AND WELCOMED BY HIM.”
Rev. Michele Aluoch, c. 2009-CTHIM
2. The Daily Nation published my thoughts following Obama’s inauguration.
By NJONJO MUE
O Lord, do not your eyes look for truth?
You struck them, but they felt no pain;
You crushed them, but they refused correction.
They made their faces harder than stone
and refused to repent.
This week, the world celebrated as Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States, and Kenya basked in the reflected glory of ‘one of our own’ taking the charge of the ‘most powerful nation on earth.’ But our celebration, like so many other things in this beloved country, is a lie.
For in Kenya, we have loved lies more than truth. We have embraced the lie of individual prosperity and the lie of our tribal identities. And we have invented and believed in the lie of our greatness as a nation, while denying our state of terminal decay, or merely moaning endlessly about it without lifting a finger to address it.
Those of us in our late thirties and forties can recall when as children, we started seeing for ourselves the creeping signs of decay – occasional press stories of corruption, reports of the odd violent robbery. The attitude among adults at the time always seemed to be, “Oh well, we have our problems, but we are not as bad as Uganda, or Nigeria,” or “It’s all Moi’s fault, it’s all the Kalenjins’ fault…” The last refuge of a fading elite was to hack back to a golden era that had been golden only for themselves. “The old days were better,” they sighed with indignation. “When our people were the only ones in the civil service.”
It is like every blow that has been struck against this nation as a chance for us to recognize how far we have fallen and to prompt us to repent and return to God just hardened our resolve to ‘cope’ to ‘adjust’ to ‘make do’. Doesn’t it sound uncannily similar to Jeremiah’s lament above? Resilience is an admirable quality, but rebellion is an abomination. And the line between the two can be very thin indeed.
So you move to another suburb, or you send your children abroad when the system crumbles, or you pay up the bribe and continue doing whatever it takes. You refuse to see the kids on the street and roll up your window each time you approach the traffic lights. And they grow up and become menacing glue-sniffing teenagers. Still you ignore them and soon they are hungry and angry adults with no options left in life than to get together and organise the next car-jacking, the next bank robbery… then what do you do?
You see, if none of us takes care of Little Mutua, as he looks through the glass of your firmly shut car window, all of us will be forced to take care of Big Mutua, a few years down the line, by putting more bars on our every window, driving with our car doors firmly locked and imposing a curfew on ourselves in our city. But back to the present, and to you. You refuse to see the decay; you refuse to ask yourself what YOU can do to change the situation.
We were sent off to school full of hope and excited at the possibilities that lay ahead, but our expectations were soon crushed. Now we spend the rest of our lives making excuses why things cannot be done differently or change effected quickly. We love the lie that things are not so bad, or that things are bad and ‘someone’ is going to change them. We watch from a safe distance as people take risks and fail, and we shrug internally and think, ‘at least that wasn’t me’. We acknowledge the mess, but our reaction is to call up the university and join the Parallel Programme to enrol for another degree, and hope that by the time we are through someone will have fixed this mess so that we can get on with our lives.
We have exported our collective hopes to one Barack Hussein Obama, he of the K’Ogelo extraction, whom we have claimed as one of our own. Our leaders have fallen all over themselves to send congratulations to him as he assumes the reigns of the most powerful office on earth. They even gave us a public holiday when his people elected him their 44th President, to enable us to drink ourselves silly and numb the pain of the meaningless search for meaning that has become our daily existence, as we watch our fellow countrymen, women and children starve in the country and freeze in makeshift camps. All this while the watchers of the people’s purse refuse to pay taxes; and steal the people’s food and precious oil.
All this has got me thinking of our national anthem, that soulful prayer that we sing so frequently and mechanically exhorting God to visit our land. But do we really mean what we sing, or do we merely mock God with a prayer we have no expectation of seeing answered in our midst or any intention of working for its fulfillment in our time?
Justice be our shield and defender:
We have asked for justice to be our shield and our defender and done nothing to lift up this shield. The shield is supposed to prop itself up, somehow. We do not lift up the shield for ourselves in our prayer for the nation; we do not lift this shield up for the widow, the orphan, the IDP, the refugee, the religious minority, the kiosk owner whose livelihood is destroyed before our very eyes, the thousands of people being abused in prison, or the people who are exploited by our labour system.
So long as we can do what we want to or need to do, then these other people just have to suck up their misfortunes. We hear about different attacks on different people for different reasons, and we shrug our shoulders because that is just the way these people are.
We are convinced that it cannot be done; we are devoted to making absolutely no sacrifices that are grounded in the bigger picture of this land created by God whose blessings we are asking for in mock supplication.
We counsel our children not to ‘waste’ their lives as teachers in schools, because there is no money in teaching and the quality of education is so bad anyway. Of course once ‘someone’ fixes these things we’ll be fine, but until then, we’ll just send them to private schools, or try to get them jobs somewhere else, or whatever. We cope the best we can.
Dwelling in unity?
We want to dwell in unity, but do nothing to build that unity. We must honestly ask ourselves how are we building that unity – in big ways and in little ways? As families? As communities? As workers? There is little evidence of unity-building. Instead we tear one another down so that we can be better than the other person. In big things; in small things. We want this cake to be eaten and to be eaten now; and if at all possible, to be shared only among people who look like us and speak like us.
We desire peace and liberty, but have not made any individual sacrifices necessary to uphold this peace or to guard this liberty.
Just think about it. What are we doing? What do we desire above all else? Excellence or comfort? We have been unfaithful to God and to our country; we have raised up a generation and taught it to crave ‘Western things’ that are synonymous with comfort. We have given them nothing to safeguard, because we have made it clear by our lives that there is nothing we consider ourselves to be guardians of. Our creed has been, ‘live your life, do your best, and let someone else deal with the situation, whatever it is.’
Then the world starts crumbling around us; things that were unimaginable five or ten years ago become commonplace – gangs attacking and mutilating people in the city, car-jackings, murders, rape, mayhem, cheating in exams, no water, no electricity, no roads, thousands of road deaths, rising illiteracy, rising unemployment, post election violence – and we are shocked. SHOCKED?!
So we pick ourselves up, build higher walls around our houses, put glass on top of the concrete separating us from our neighbours or if you can afford it move into a gated compound with electric fencing, try to avoid being in the city after a certain time and adjust to a new way of life. Things are not so bad. Do your best, adjust. You woke up this morning, you went to work, you did your thing. It is bad in some ways, but it is not so bad yet. Pray for God to send someone to do something about this situation.
Plenty be found within our borders…
We want plenty within our borders, but have no regard for those lacking in our midst. We take the little available for the poor and export it to Sudan to sell at exorbitant prices while our people die of starvation and make do with wild berries for supper. We take money meant for reviving our tourism industry after the post election violence and make it disappear. We release billions of shillings worth of precious oil to thieves. All this while we use our judiciary to whitewash the scandals of the past. There is indeed plenty within these boarders; it’s just that you and I don’t get to see or touch any of it; we merely read about it in newspaper headlines.
So we hear about deaths and mayhem, and thank God it wasn’t us, and move on to the next thing. We watch the situation on TV from the comfort of our homes. And we hope someone can come and deal with this. We are being crushed under the weight of culpability in refusing to seek truth. But we harden ourselves a bit more and continue in our ways.
Yet even civilizations and empires do not fall all at once. These things begin one person at a time, in a fundamental and profound way. One person at a time, the spirit of this age is consuming the lives of men and women in this land. One person at a time, we are allowing our inheritance to be taken from us.
What are the dreams we have for this nation? What is our role in fulfilling these dreams? What can we do? In a very real way, recording these dreams, praying about them, preparing for them to come to pass is something we need to do individually and as a nation. These dreams are in every area of our lives – our families, our schools, our jobs, our courts, and our communities. Instead of seeking false comfort in the fact that ‘our own’ has become the President of the World, we should dream our own dreams and work to bring them to pass.
But first we need to seek God’s face, and be changed by Him, recognizing that He is going to change us in order to use us. If we are to be called peacemakers, then we have to be prepared to be making peace in the midst of war. Whatever it costs us, we must gain understanding from Him.
So prepare against all odds, pray against all odds, watch against all odds, and wait against all odds. But we had better not be watching and waiting for the deliverer who will fix everything for us. We are watching and waiting for the fulfillment of the purposes God has for this nation through us.
All begins and ends with me and you. God did not send an angel to build the Ark and then invite Noah into it. Noah acted on this call, and built against all odds, for the day when rain would come. And come it did. We cannot wait for another election, a new leader, a pack of ‘young turks’, a new group of reformers and leaders and politicians to fix us. WE ARE IT. Your children will grow up and their children after them in the country we are making for them today.
And although you are not the one who killed the thousands, confined the hundreds of thousands to refugee camps, stole the maize or the oil or the tourism money, you are living and participating in a society so divided, so hardened, and so filled with injustice that this was allowed to happen. So whether you like it or not, you are implicated in these actions. They are both an indictment and a call to repentance. But above all, they are a call to rise up and take our country back!
Amkeni ndugu zetu!
22nd January 2009.
- My Jesus, I love Thee, I know Thou art mine;
For Thee all the follies of sin I resign;
My gracious Redeemer, my Savior art Thou;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.
- I love Thee because Thou hast first loved me,
And purchased my pardon on Calvary’s tree;
I love Thee for wearing the thorns on Thy brow;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.
- I’ll love Thee in life, I will love Thee in death,
And praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath;
And say when the death dew lies cold on my brow,
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.
- In mansions of glory and endless delight,
I’ll ever adore Thee in heaven so bright;
I’ll sing with the glittering crown on my brow,
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.
Most of my friends are leaving DC in droves; a city of 400,000 residents and 60,000 civil servants is expected to host an estimated 5 million visitors and few want to be around for that, despite repeated assurances from the federal government regarding logistics and security.
Others are keeping it indoors, staying glued to their television sets for the big event.
I had it in mind to stay indoors too owing to a terrible cold I picked up mid this week, but friends and colleagues are determined to get me there by all means; the political types I have interacted with on the Hill are eager to ensure I witness the inauguration come what may.
The one thing am sure I will not be doing is to join the Kenyan ministers and members of parliament who are in town for an African bash; I have a low opinion of the Kenyan political elite at this time, and generally consider it wasteful in many of its actions and policy decisions.
I am the contemplative type, and so it is likely the day will be spent assesing the importance of the event, its implications for America’s domestic and foreign policies, as well as Kenya and Africa’s place in an Obama White House.
I feel very uneasy, yet also excited to be associated with Kenya and Africa at this moment in time, thinking the road ahead of me and fellow Kenyans and Africans will be taxing and demanding on one hand but also praying for God to rule over our land and continent to make it different on the other.
I believe in limited government, traditional family values, the rule of law, low taxes, property rights and a strong national defence; this places me right of center on most policy concerns compared with Obama who is left of center, so it will interest me lots if he will attempt to govern from the centre to cater for such interests as I have.
I expect him to challenge existing assumptions about America, characterize such challenges in essentially deep American values and to explore sound alternatives to existing problems in this country.
Importantly, I expect him to provide new leadership on America’s understanding of the triad informing its national security and foreign policy concerns in Africa and other parts of the world: defense, diplomacy and development.
I am concerned that liberal outfits and agenda in and out of America would benefit under his administration, though I hope the sanctity of human life, traditional marriage and ordered liberty will not take a beating from him in Africa or anywhere else.
It is safe to assume he will give greater priority to American interests, though I hope Nairobi’s saddening politics could change somewhat during his tenure, particularly our feeble attempts at legal and land reforms as well as ethnic relations.
I arrived here four months after the disputed 2007 General Elections in Kenya, during which I had contested for the Cherangany parliamentary seat.
Arriving here in an election year was historic for me, despite the fact that I had been schooling here when George Bush was campaigning for his second term.
Going forward, I hope Kenyan and African youth can pick lessons from Obama’s campaigns and victory: the crucial place of ideas and a campaign platform, organizing, messaging, fund-raising and the courage to stand up for what they believe is right for their country and generations to come.
The manner in which he has managed his affairs during the transition period must also invite our interest and study, and I really hope seeds for a new future and hope can begin emerging in Kenyan hearts beyond January 20th.
As a young Kenyan politician, am convinced we have a historic and strategic chance not to get things wrong the next time we go to the ballot box; I really hope our next election can be the time when policy ideas and values get to determine who we elect for the local council, national assembly and the highest office in the land.
Hopefully, we could also witness the emergence of genuinely post-ethnic candidates at all electoral levels for whom love for people and country shall not be merely another public relations gimmick.