Kenya prayed yesterday. It was a national prayer day declared by President Uhuru Kenyatta last week, to seek divine intervention ahead of the highly-divisive fresh presidential election due this Thursday.
It is not a first. We, as a nation, have prayed in the past and God heard and answered our prayers. We have seen our leaders publicly pray or kneel for prayers. And for the record, it is biblical for a nation, whether in trouble or not, to pray. God says in II Chronicles 7:14: “If my people, who are called by my name, humble themselves and come to me in prayer, and turn from their evil ways; then I will hear them from heaven, overlook their sin, and heal their land”. The Bible in the book of Jonah narrates of the city of Nineveh that was saved by God as a result of ‘national prayer’.
Kenya is hurting and bleeding from bad politics. Tension is high ahead of this week’s election which is characterised by dishonesty, intimidation, threats and counter-threats from the political divide. The Opposition has insisted on boycotting and ensuring the poll won’t take place. How they plan to execute this, only they know.
On the other hand, the government has vowed to ensure the rights of every citizen to vote or boycott the election will be protected and that no violence will be condoned. Meanwhile, politicians continue to propagate politics of fear, making members of some communities relocate to perceived safer regions.
We, therefore, as a nation, need God’s healing, love, salvation and restoration of our brotherhood. Collective prayers come in handy to this end. But we need to answer a fundamental question: How did we find ourselves here? Bad political leadership! Political leaders conveniently sacrificed their integrity, dignity and humanity in the altar of selfishness and short-term gains.
They’ve divided the nation along political and ethnic lines after propagating seeds of discord and nurturing ethnic animosity to ascend to or retain power.
Anyway, now that we have prayed, let’s confront the elephant in the room. Surely, nobody stands blamed for dividing the nation better than our leaders. And the God I know (and I believe is the God of Kenya) hates pretence and has no business with the ignorant. He would, also, not speak twice and confusingly on the same matter.
He knows, just as much as we do, that the solution to our self-inflicted problems are within our reach. We have the ability to solve them but lack the goodwill to take the first (and often hard) step.
A story is told of a university chaplain who called congregants to a prayer session and invited them to submit prayer items. He got an assortment of them and among them was the release of a political detainee. The wise man of God prayed for the rest and took this one to the right person (who had the answer)—the president! It was imprudent to take it to God.
Let’s seek answers where they can be found.
I am neither doubting God’s ability nor pretending to know how He best works, but all that Kenya needs now are leaders of goodwill—political, business, religious or international—and genuine friends to candidly face our political generals and convince them to overcome the pressure of their lieutenants, gather courage and save this nation.
It has been rightly said that ours now isn’t legal or constitutional but political crisis that needs political solutions. Our leaders need to do all within their ability to assure this nation of peace, cohesion and justice. Of course, this comes at a cost and involves uneasy sacrifices, but it is doable!