Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The trouble with the NCCK protocol: The glory has left, left 'em

A few hours ago, the NCCK outlined its road-map towards a new constitutional dispensation for this great country.
For an organization that had reportedly pumped Shs. 70 million into the review process in past days, today's press release was generally expected.
Under different circumstances, the NCCK's proposals would have jelled with everyone and probably been embraced by all.
They are neat proposals by most standards, - but I dare say they risk becoming pedestrian when the "appointing authority" (in our case, most likely the Presidency) will have the final say.
And therein, as was the case with its Ufungamano draft, lies the trouble with the NCCK protocol. 
There was a time in this country when the main Christian voice to be listened to was the NCCK's.
The NCCK has done great things in this country, including such landmark achievements as pursuing peace and reconciliation among some of our troubled communities. 
There was also a time when the NCCK's Secretary General - the Rev. Mutava Musyimi - was a Daniel of some sorts, - infact there was once talk of him getting to run as a compromise candidate for the then divided opposition in Kenya.
Personally, I admired the man.
As a reporter with one of Kenya's mainstream newspapers a few years ago, I once covered an event at which he was one of the keynote figures.
On another occassion, he was the guest of honour at a university graduation ceremony I was at: good thinking was evident, good articulation of ideas on the country's education sector at the time.
Here was a leader I greatly admired, - I think I'm more at ease saying that in the past tense at the moment. 
To be honest, I do not even know what they stand for at the moment.   
In my view, the man and the organization lost it the moment they became a little too cosy with the establishment, including accepting to be co-opted into some arms of government on parameters I'm yet to grasp (by the way, whatever happened to that anti-corruption thing?).  . 
Its second fall, I submit, arose in its deliberate and succesful harnessing of the spirit of "ecumenism" (someone needs to ask about the basis of such unity in the Body of Christ in this country)) to defend the status quo (the Wako draft); something they were never really honest about. 
I now have Christian friends who are claiming they need not hear anything further from the NCCK and associated clergymen; they want to be left to their own conscience in matters of life and faith as they were "abandoned" ahead of the referendum.
In other words, no further "no nos" from the Church on abortion, sexuality, corruption, etc.   
Infact, one reader of this blog (read comments on the post at the very bottom end of this page) has recommended that they resign.
And therein, I say, might lie the trouble for the NCCK protocol. 
These guys have lost the moral authority to lead both the Church and the country.
The glory has left.
It's that simple and difficult.

To help you stay safe and secure online, we've developed the all new Yahoo! Security Centre.

I forgot to say this that other time...

I attended the Orange rally at Nyayo a few days ago.
What I saw in the hungry eyes of poor men, women and youth around me was a dire hunger for leadership; they very literally adored Raila Odinga et al and the earth upon which they stood. I was on this terrace directly opposite the dais / pavillion; save for Church, I had never seen such a hunger in the eyes of a people. Mingling with them and jostling for comfortable positions from which we could see and listen to politicians accross us, I couldn't help thinking we - together - were sheep wandering aimlessly and dangerously on the Kenyan landscape, without a shepherd (political). I felt mushy and sentimental at the thought, but it still hasn't withered away after the referendum polls. Something is still stinking - nay, it is rotten - in the State of Kenya. No, I'm not reading from Shakespeare. Raise your nose high up, - the stench will get to you even before you say "Apep!"

Yahoo! Model Search - Could you be the next catwalk superstar? Check out the competition now

Does it pay to be a Kenyan?

A friend e-mailed me to ask the above question, with the following text: 
A man dies and goes to hell.
There he finds that there is a different hell for each country.
He decides he'll pick the least painful to spend his eternity.
He goes to Germany Hell and asks, "What do they do here?"
He is told "first they put you in an electric chair for an hour.
Then they lay you on a bed of nails for another hour.
Then the German devil comes in and whips you for the rest of the day".
The man does not like the sound of that at all so he moves on.
He checks out the USA Hell as well as the Russia Hell and many more.
He discovers that they are all similar to the German hell.
Then he comes to the Kenyan Hell and finds that there is a long line of people waiting to get in. Amazed, he asks, "What do they do here?"
He is told "first they put you in an electric chair for an hour.
Then they lay you on a bed of nails for another hour.
The Kenyan devil comes in and whips you for the rest of the day.
" But that is exactly the same as all the other hells why are there so many people waiting to get in?" asks the man.
"Because there is never any electricity, so the electric chair does not work.  The nails were paid for but never supplied, so the bed is comfortable to sleep on. And the Kenyan devil used to be a civil servant, so he comes in, signs his time sheet and goes back home  for private business."
So, does it really pay to be a Kenyan?

Yahoo! Messenger NEW - crystal clear PC to PC calling worldwide with voicemail

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Two considerations following the Orange thanksgiving yesterday

1.  Church and State relations:  Lest the pro-Orange Kenya Church falls prey to what bedevilled the NCCK, the ACK and the Catholic Church just a short while ago, I suggest it keeps its focus on that old and rugged cross in its engagement with the country's political elite so as not to end up relying on the arm of flesh.  Global church history indicates that every time believers have sought and / or wielded political power and control / supremacy over nations, the results have almost always been less than Godly.........................
2.  Understandably, the thanksgiving allowed for persons from other faiths to pray alongside the Christians....but there was one faith present (not Muslim or animist) whose real or perceived hold on the country's politicsshould be a cause for concern for anyone who truly cares for this nation, continent and world...........

Win a Yahoo! Vespa NEW - Yahoo! Cars has 3 Vespa LX125s to be won Enter Now!

Job vacancies

The following are the available vacancies... please circulate to friends :-
RELEASE DATE: 23rd NOV 2005 jioni
TITLES: Mininster and ass.Minister in the following depertments
     Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife
Ministry of Information and commmunication
Ministry of Transport
Ministry of Local Government
Ministry of Gender, Sports, Culture and Social Services
Ministry of Water and Irrigation
Ministry of Regional Development Authorities
Ministry of Energy
Ministry of Trade and Industry
Ministry of Lands and Housing
Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources
Ministry of Labour and Human Resource Development
Ministry of Co-operative Development and marketing
Ministry of Justice and Constitutional affairs
State Law Office
1. Favourable advisory skills
2. Banana
If you dont hear from us (press release)in the next two weeks please consider you application unsucessfull
canvassing will lead to somewhat disquallification (depending who the canvasser and the canversee are)
The govt is an equal opportunity employer (though some are more equal than others)
If you think you are the right candidate please apply to recruit@statehouse.ka.lucy (gov)

How much free photo storage do you get? Store your holiday snaps for FREE with Yahoo! Photos. Get Yahoo! Photos

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

An open letter to the Orange team

Dear ladies and gentlemen - I have purposely refrained from calling you "movement" because you are yet to fully convince me about the direction and ultimate purpose of your unity. However, you must rest in the confidence that mine was one of the millions of votes that endorsed the leadership you have so far - and ably so - provided to the challenge of shepherding our hopes and aspirations. I'm writing to ask you to: 1. Consider keeping your word on the review process, - don't you go the "pumbavu" way. 2. Consider staying the course in de-ethnicizing our body-poliik. 3. Consider, in as much as this shall depend on you, playing ball with our banana brethren for the purposes of processing an all-inclusive constitution. 4. Consider exiting the country's political stage when, in the wisdom of time, you'll have obviously done your patriotic bit for this great country, - don't let the glory get into your head so much as to want to ride on the crest forever. 5. Consider honouring the most High Living God with your public and private lives, - I doubt you could have proceeded any further without his tacit backing. There are millions of prayerful men and women within and without Kenya who unceasingly committed this nation to God against much spiritual opposition. Blessings! Jesse Masai.

Yahoo! Model Search - Could you be the next catwalk superstar? Check out the competition now

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Kenya after 21st: The way I see it

1. The state is and shall, for all intents and purposes, remain intact (inefficiencies of our civil service notwithstanding). However, the government - already out of sync with itself and a considerable portion of of the populace - shall be shaken to its core. I'm not talking about a military coup here, I'm talking about the end of a political era and the beginning of another. I'm also talking about the end of some careers and the beginning of others. More on that further below. 2. Mainstream Christianity has lost out on its credibility in the process and it shall have an uphill task regaining it again (and here I'm talking about individuals on both sides of the political divide). For obvious reasons, no believing and practising Christian is going to ever believe some of our so-called "men" and "women" of God on anything again. The Orange-Banana debates have shown us all that the Church is orthodox in its beliefs but very liberal (even hypocritical) in its practices some times. This disparity between knowledge and expected experience has caused an unprecedented cognitive dissonance in the minds and hearts of people (Christians or not) who previously looked up to the Church to provide spiritual and social leadership (refer to http://www.voteorangekenya.com/forum/index.php?topic=22.0 for summary of my thoughts on this). It is my humble submission that there is going to be a new revival in Kenyan Christianity, one that will have men and women hungering for a new visitation of God upon their lives and this country in ways we've never seen before. A new crop of Christian leaders is going to emerge in the process, - one that will not be afraid to take a clear stand for God on topical issues of the day and exhort their congregations to live for God and Him alone no matter the cost. Those are the people whose lives in this country are going to count for eternity. These are no ordinary times (I hope and pray you understand)! 3. Political leadership in this country is definitely going to change, perhaps even earlier than 2007. I take the position that Kenya is destined not just to better the lot of her citizenry but also provide leadership in the region as well as the entire continent. I believe we are called to be a nation that nurtures and blesses her own children as well as those who are hurting besides us (Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia, etc). I believe Kenya has been called to be a blessing to the nations. However, successive regimes have not been faithful in leading us along these paths (there is every evidence around you to indicate that our best days remain ahead of us). A new political leadership has to emerge out of this referendum process that will change our status from merely being a nation of potential and promise into one that actually lives out that vision. I do not know precisely when we shall have a clean break with the selfishly myopic kind of politics we are being treated to over the proposed constitution, but it is my firm belief that Nov. 21 shall mark the start of our journey towards that new future. There are leaders who - in their foolish pride - have dedicated this country and its people to untold darkness; and there are leaders who - in their faithful humility - have chosen the less travelled road of walking in the light over the issues at hand. Both kinds are going to reap the fruit of their labour in the fullness of time. Conclusion: At hand is not merely any other vote but a contest for the heart and soul of Kenya by not just the individuals we see on both sides of the divide but also the forces of good and evil. Kenyans must decide the kind of century they want to continue walking into. In doing this, they must consider not just their own priorities and concerns but also those of the God who ordained the being of this nation and very definitely reigns over it (some will, sadly, only acknowledge this too late in the day). In my prayers for this country, I rarely pray for the unity so many are clamouring for ("unity at all costs"); I pray for a clear-cut decision on that day that will not only expose the deep fissures that exist within and around us but also provide a working basis for honest national reflection and re-building.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Christians must heed God, not their leaders!

Reading and listening to recent statements by various church leaders on the law review process, ordinary Christians and Kenyans at large may genuinely be at loss on what has become of a people that are often clearly decided on temporal issues of the day as well as eternity. Church leaders in this country have played an indisputably vital role in agitating for a new political and constitutional order, going as far back as the 1980s and 1990s when the likes of Dr. Henry Okullu and Bishop Alexander Muge would give the establishment a prophetic earful. No doubt history will also take a favorable note of the times, money, effort and prayers other Christian leaders subsequently put into the law review process. But I doubt historians – and the Christian God I also believe in – will suffer their on-going “chameleoneosis” on the same any gladly. The reportedly 43-member Kenya Church declared a clear “No” to the Wako draft a few weeks ago only for some of their members (who had been attending meetings leading to the announcement) to later say they weren’t decided yet; they still need more time to study, consult and – supposedly – pray before making up their minds. It is instructive that a majority of these Churches went easy on the review process in the Kanu days and are reportedly still at home with remnants of the previous regime in the current scheme of things. On the other hand, the influential Roman Catholic Church and congregations affiliated to the National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) and the Ufungamano Initiative have been reported to have given the Wako draft a shot in the arm by declaring it “better” than the current one and “worthy” for consideration by Kenyans, - but with a rider: Each Christian is to follow his conscience in voting either for or against the proposed constitution. Like the Kenya Church, this latter section of Kenyan Christianity has increasingly been identified with pro-establishment ideals and projects in the Narc days, leading some to question the nature and extent of its biblical authority on some issues of the day. One need not be a prophet or even a believer to realize that both sides of the Christian divide have been sucked up in the Kanu-LDP/NAK power games to the extent that they can no longer speak truth to power. Reactions to the Wako draft by the two streams of Kenyan Christianity betray a desperate desire to remain relevant and loyal to evolving political constituencies and ethnic power-bases in ways and means similar to the politicians they so much want us to believe they are unlike. The unspoken but latent line in what these men and women of the cloth nowadays seem to pass on is that true power lies not on that old and rugged cross but in the corridors of raw political and economic power that, in the worst of times, they preach is no comparison to the 6,000-years old Christian story. To blindly laud one side for saying “No” or the other for staying non-committal while pursuing “civic education” is to miss the one salient point here: These shepherds have, by both choices, abandoned their flock and sought to pursue the paths of least resistance; paths that will not invite them to review their theology and practical commitment to a honest world vision that the review process obviously requires of them. Apart from glossing over the Wako draft and playing up to the gallery on issues they say are dear to them, none of them has offered to – say – characterize the document in light of the Scriptures they believe in. How, for instance, would the presidency, judiciary and legislature as envisaged in the proposed draft specifically jell in with the Christian ideal of public affairs and social justice? No doubt there is a viable body of Christian knowledge and tradition on all these matters, but why aren’t they getting all that flowing? Certainly, God is not silent in our world and neither should they be by either of the paths they have chosen to tread. The saddest commentary here is that they seemingly do not appear to be learning from the disastrous experiences occasioned by such Christian bigotry and selfishness as has been exhibited in recent Church history. In Nazi Germany, the “official” Church cohabited with Hitler as the likes of theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer warned of the accruing apostasy in the face of the Holocaust; many would later wish they had heeded the young man’s call to Christian, intellectual and moral honesty in the face of reflexive nationalism and lopsided patriotism. In 1960s America, White Anglo-Saxon Protestants wondered why Dr. Martin Luther King’s Jesus would be so concerned about the civil rights’ movement so many years after the war of independence. In 1994 Rwanda (reportedly 80.83% Christian), the depth of discipleship there continues to draw increased scrutiny in the face of mounting allegations that Hutu and Tutsi Christian leaders may have knowingly played a role in the genocide. As it is, the Church stands to be a victim of its own short-sightedness and political short-termism (engineered by the ruling class) in a process it previously shepherded but now, and belatedly so, considers flawed and fraught with “concerns” about which they now are seeking “further clarification.” Clearly, it had a historic and strategic responsibility to help distill the process and content from the competing visions around it and the obvious political and religious interests vested therein. Reflecting on this, writer Pamela Evans once remarked: “Church leaders who have a little sense of their own worth before God’s sight can over-value popular acceptance of their own ministry to such an extent that they develop a chameleon-like character, serially reflecting the many colors of opinion within their Church. Trying to serve God faithfully and keep everyone happy simultaneously doesn’t work. Infact, it often leads to paralyzing indecision, accusations of compromise or both. God doesn’t award prizes for window dressing competitions or popularity contests. So why do we behave as though he did?” In his seminal book The Contemporary Christian, theologian John Stott sums it up well when he says: “I fear that contemporary Church leaders are guilty of serious unfaithfulness. A few are brash enough to deny the fundamentals both of the historic Christian faith and of traditional Christian morality, while others seem as blushingly unsure of themselves and of their beliefs as an adolescent teenager.” Need I say more? Editor's note: Further reactions to this piece may be found at http://www.voteorangekenya.com/forum/index.php?topic=22.0