Back to writing after a seven week hiatus! Sweet relief and glad to be back! Events like the Westgate attack will do that to you, especially when children show sign of post traumatic stress. I cry for Kenya and the world. Terrorism truly is an act of cowardice, dressed as courage. That is a meal served cold, no matter how many times it is subject to heat!
The Westgate event turned our sense of security and assurance to a very public spectacle and fallacy. I am Kenyan and I love my country dearly. I have lived abroad for a number of years and believed coming back to build our nation to be the ideal, so this post is by no means about casting stones, rather I write about gaining the right perspective of where we are and what we can do about it. The whole saga left us in an information deficit, as the main characters seeking to calm the public fears appear to have presented puzzles in place of solutions and answers.
What now Kenya?! is the most pertinent question of the day! What way? How now? And with whom?
Shared Values as my dear husband put it. Allow me to explain. Last January, I travelled to the United Kingdom on a fundraising drive with a wildlife charity I worked for. One of the many questions raised during my short stay – why Kenyans continue to choose corrupt politicians to run the country! They pertinently pose the question – why send you money if nothing really changes after 50 years of independence. Difficult to answer, as I do believe not all 43 million Kenyans are corrupt – at least I pray not!
The trouble is the apparent lack of shared values. The lowest income groups in urban areas want a particular type of leader and are further divided on which community he or she should ideally belong to. The middle class want peace at all costs, tribe is not such a strong reason unless you are over 50 years of age and/ or brought up within your own ethnic grouping. The well-to-do want peace, a chance to continue churning over money and in most cases a status-quo! This is a very simple picture of what we want for our country. You will note, we have not tackled the question of ethnic grouping ideals, plans and or sought out the thoughts of more marginalized communities. One thing that is common to urbanites and rural folk across income and ethnic groups – the shortest route to riches!
The curtain opens on corruption! We could never imagine it would cost us our freedom, dignity, security and everything we hold dear. I loathe it and suffer for working against it, to the point of facing regular retribution from well-to-do acquaintances of all ages, about disengaging from the done-thing. So here I am, late forties and driving a car that has seen better days and delighting in what God is doing. I relish a clean conscience and often face further telling-tos about not standing up for the ‘right’ tribe or supporting their values. God has set me on a different path and no amount of ethnic tradition, ostracizing tactics or disapproval will move me! Finally, after 24 years of hearing the same thing – I can speak my mind and live in peace in God. Love it!
Shared Values. Sounds like training I would like to offer prospecting leaders in our dear nation. Trouble is, regardless of who won which political seat, if they are not on the same bus with you, then there will be separate and shifting values. The way I see it is a government is like a bus. One driver and one conductor. The rest are passengers who are assigned seats at the pleasure of the conductor. Bottom line, the bus has a route map that is neatly spelled out, with pre-arranged pick-up and drop off points and times (read memorandums-of-understanding!) The key thing to remember, there is only one route and one destination and much like football, goalposts cannot be moved in the course of the game!
Disgruntled passengers are to be dropped off at the next stop to keep up the bus route, plan, dignity and experience of the ride. If the passengers board the bus assuming a right of free passage, then, “Houston, we have a problem!” One such problem is competencies – something we would prefer not to tackle, lest we make the offending party feel any less adequate. Talk about ignoring the elephant in the room! Laughable at least.
Shared values come with shared principles, competencies and passion. If the passengers are to push the bus out of the ditch, we cannot rely on two well-meaning ones and let the remaining ones loiter about. We all work or nothing works. Passengers must be dealt with appropriately, to keep up sanity and service! Why are we still discussing this?
If we fail to pray, we will fail to act and follow Jesus Christ on this incredible journey He has for this nation and her people. Pray with me for Kenya and our home countries, that we would hear from God and that our hearts would break for what breaks His. Let us go forward in prayer and trust Jesus Christ with our nation, our people, ourselves and our future.
2 Chronicles 7:14
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.