A COMMUNIQUE FROM HESABIKA TRUSTEES FOLLOWING RECENT MEETING
Kenyan elections: A predictable crisis
Every five years, it is de javu for Kenyans. Predictably, there will be problems with how elections are conducted and a fear of violence permeates the air for months. Kenyans may not agree on why this is the case, but at least we can agree that there is something not right with our electoral management system for it to result to the same phenomenon every 5 years. The electoral crisis brings to the fore other long-standing issues such as strong feelings of socio-economic and political exclusion by a significant portion of the country
A divided Country
Isn’t it sad how divided we are as Kenyans and largely on the basis of the political/ethnic divide we come from? Every issue about the elections, or whether or not police are using excessive force on the opposition, or what the way forward is, is coloured by our ‘ethnic’ lenses! Little wonder that we don’t see much outrage when lives are lost when quelling protests. When a nation is comfortable with the killing of even babies at the altar of politics, we are pointing a finger, not at political opponents, but at God himself.
Whose side are you on?
Kenyans, believers included, are often tempted to make gods out of those who present to them immediate salvation to their problems. In the Bible, in the days of Moses the children of Israel were guilty of dancing around the golden calf, while in the days of Joshua it was the gods of Canaan. In our times, wealth, good life, and health seem to be idolized, as many believers are committed to worship at these altars. But there a few other gods who often show up especially during elections: the politician I support; the political party I subscribe to, or the tribe I belong to. God has never tolerated double dealing: we have to draw a line and choose whether we are on the side of these gods, or God’s side. That, too is Hesabika’s call, which is to stand up and be counted as believers and choose to be on God’s side!
Let Justice flow
The challenge in scripture to choose whose side you will be on implies that God takes sides!
The bible more than implies that God takes sides: it clearly says that he does! God always takes the side of justice and righteousness and pleading the cause of the oppressed and the marginalized (Isaiah 1:12-18; 58:6-10; Amos 5:18-24; among many others). When we take God’s side, it means that we take God’s perspective about what is going on in our country, irrespective of what our tribe or the majority thinks. Individual believers and the community of faith must be at the forefront of seeking for justice, being salt and light, and agents of transformation in an otherwise decaying society.
Wanted: Courageous Counter-ethnic Kenyans!
There are many believers who simply wear the tribal eye-glasses simply because they are the easiest to find. If the people of this country are to be to reconciled to one another across the ethnic divides, and to God, we believers have to count the cost of standing up to be counted. Are we willing to pay the cost? For us to change the trajectory we currently are on which is leading to disaster, we need transformation, a complete overhaul of our thinking and actions, not cosmetic changes. This can only happen if our minds and hearts are changed which will lead to our behaviour changing and then eventually how we run our institutions will change. Right now, we try to change institutions but they can’t because the people running those institutions haven’t been renewed in their hearts and minds. For a start, we need counter-cultural Christians, or in our case in Kenya, counter-ethnic Kenyans: people who can stand outside their tribal stance and first seek what God says about the situation, and then think like Kenyans regardless of the outlook of their ethnic group. Equally, the church must be prophetic for our times: prophets who speak the truth without fear or favour. Can you individually or church leader stand up to counted as a ‘counter-ethnic’ Kenyan?
What then shall we do?
- We need to change our thinking about tribe and how, when, or whether we identify with politicians blindly;
- We need to engage with the structures of devolution and be involved in public participation fora, so we can make them work and make real difference that will count for most people;
- We need to engage in restorative justice;
- We need to watch what we say in front of our children so we don’t pass negativity to the next generation;
- Start with myself and my family – examining our attitudes through the lens of God’s word;
- Study what the Bible says about good governance and how to respond to bad governance;
- Look at the laws we have (their design and impact on the society) and then determine how to engage with institutions;
- Be careful about our use of social media and what messages we pass along through it;
- Mentoring the youth holistically not just in spiritual matters but also in their career and life choices.
- The church needs to be involved in the conversation/ national dialogue of the way forward for But they need to seek God first so they can speak with one voice;
- The church needs to build a critical mass at the community level that thinks differently and constructively about ethnicity, peace, justice, and reconciliation;
- The church needs to engage seriously with school curriculum and what is being taught as it is much more difficult to change people if and when the foundation is faulty;Discipleship needs to be stepped up to form character as opposed to attracting numbers or building large congregations;
- Church should to stop playing safe – trying to toe a middle line so they don’t offend any part of their congregation; they need to exercise leadership and speak the truth even when it offends;
- Church to review its social engagement programs – see how to empower the congregants to engage politically, economically and socially with the issues facing the Particularly, the church can partner with those working on devolution to train the congregation how they can engage with county governments and influence their agenda and programs;
- We need to promote leadership at levels other than politics g. community leaders, professionals; and business leaders;
- We need to engage more with the media and take up more space so we can influence what messages go out;
- Have programs to walk alongside Christian politicians – to fellowship with them and hold them
As responsible citizens
- We all need to participate in the governance processes in the country beyond mere Hesabika will partner with other stakeholders to empower the Christians on county engagement.
- Move from being subjects to citizens where we take back control of our country from the politicians and engage our institutions to deliver better services for
Issued by Hesabika Trustees on this day, Friday, 17 November 2017
Bishop Dr David Oginde
Dr Nelson Makanda
Dr Timothy Wachira
Dr Joshua Wathanga