The last few weeks have had some of the moments that I have been proudest to be a Kenyan. Watching the presidential debate I could not help but well with pride, I could not help but recognize just how talented we are as a nation. How else do you explain that we had six extremely intelligent candidates on the podium? Agree with them or not, you just had to see how intelligent all these gentlemen and lady are. So it was a proud moment.
Like many other Kenyans, I was convinced that this was the first presidential debate to be held in Africa and I was excited to be part of a country that sets the pace in this side of the world. I have since learnt that another nation had done it before us but I am convinced they could not have matched our quality; the Kenyan in me blowing its trumpet! I was not the only excited Kenyan, on a night when the pope had announced that he was resigning from being a pope, Kenya actually trended on twitter. Kenya was the most popular topic on twitter, beat that!
I have no other Kenya
However, this debate was also very sobering. To see my leaders shake hands, talk animatedly to each and even go to the length of calling each other ‘best of friends’, I could not help but ask myself, ‘who am I to be fighting with my neighbor over this my leaders?’ I could not help but see the naivety and really the stupidity of me picking up a stone to throw at my neighbor just because my preferred candidate did not win. How when the people I would be fighting over are ‘best of friends’?
I recently came across a forward that has been making rounds on social media. It lists the purported richest men and women in our country. It then asks a very simple question that each Kenyan should ask, ‘do you see my name on that list?’ Why then would you be fighting me, why then would you be fighting for the richest man in this country; why would you convince yourself that this richest man is so needy of you defending them; why would you destroy your hard earned little cash over this richest man in Kenya. Really, why!
You see the thing you and I need to reconcile with is this; I have no Kenya other than this one. I do not tolerate it, I love it, and it is my Kenya.
The other thing to not forget is this, when I am throwing that stone at my neighbor, this leader I will be fighting for has a ticket booked for another foreign land. The other day I overheard a conversation with a businessman who is planning to close his business and relocate his family to a foreign land till after the election. This guy has ‘another Kenya’; this guy can afford ‘another Kenya’.
You and me on the other hand, well we are what is called ‘ma-sufferer’. If Kenya burns we burn with it. Worse is that the reason we will be burning will be so long gone, and believe me in a few years they will be maybe even better than when they left you and me to burn.
So next time you have an animated conversation with your neighbor over that your preferred leader, next time you take this leadership so personally that you could burn someone over it, next time you are a personal defender of this preferred leader, remember this, you and me are not in that list of the richest people in Kenya. Remember this, that you and me have no pass to any other country, heck we probably have no passports anyway. Remember this, that regardless of who wins or loses, you and me need a roof over our homes more than that preferred leader. Remember that no one is worth you burning for them.
Pray for Kenya
Yester’s repentance prayers were historical. Whatever the reason all these people were part of this, what I saw were patches of women and men who were crying to their Father. Men and women who seemed totally broken over this nation; men and women who genuinely cried for this country.
I have met several of such people over the last few days.
I am convinced of this, God has heard the cry of His people. This means whoever emerges the president of this elections has God to contend with.
I have very strong views on who I believe should not be the president of Kenya, very strong views. No wonder I know I am a work in progress (this blog has more on this work in progress thoughts).
But God has been convicting me of this, that by His mercies, by His grace, regardless of who we elect as our president, as a nation we will not get what we deserve, a lawless state for the next 5years, by His mercies, we will witness Him moving in a big way, with that leader that I generally do not support.
So I have made a commitment, whoever is the elected president of this nation, I will support them. I will pray for them. I will honor them. I will trust God to use them.
Yes there is a lot of injustice, inequality and not to mention poverty related issues that I feel need a revolutionary, new thinking kind of leader, but this too is my conviction; God will use whoever is elected, willingly or unwillingly. Coz Kenya is His nation, more than I love it, He loves it more. He has more vested interest than all the foreign nations combined. We are His people.
Jonah 3:10 When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened. Jonah 4:11 And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh
Bottom line is this; you and me have to choose peace. You and me need to have conversations that entrench peace. You and me need peace more than these leaders do. You and me need to rise above tribal discussions, be a people who have walked the road less travelled (read more on road less travelled)
Does that mean we become indifferent over who the next president will be and wear our middle class indifference cap, no more than ever we must engage. However, as we do that, let us not miss the bigger picture, that when Kenya burns, we burn it. And you and me have no other Kenya – your vote is your voice. Your stone is your dimmest tool.