Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Redeeming the Soul of Our Country - Practical Actions

Since the end of last week, I have been reflecting on practical steps of transforming Kenya. There have been many ideas advanced on how this transformation will come to our motherland. I am a firm believer in solving a problem once and for all. However, appreciating the intricate nature in which societal challenges web into each other, this will be a great task. I underscore that no meaningful change will be pain free. As the popular saying goes, “No pain no gain; Know Pain much gain”. We must be ready to pay the price for the prize we want. We must be ready to fight and save our country.

It’s in seeking this strategy that Jeremiahs account of his commissioning by God to prophesy to a defiant Israel came to my mind. Jeremiah comes into picture at a time when Israelites in Judah are lost in their self indulgence and sin. He was a son of a priest. Jeremiah is called by God to do a great task armed with only one weapon - His mouth. But like many of us he has all reasons why he is not the right man for the job. The work at hand was risky even to death and he was still young. He complained of his inability to speak but was soon to realize that what God calls for He provides (He has already provided for). God reminds him that He (God) knew him before he formed him in his mother’s womb and he had set him apart before he was born, appointing him as a prophet to the nations (Jer. 1:5 NIV). God commands Jeremiah to go to everyone He sends him to and to say whatever He commands him to say. He was not to be afraid as for the Lord would be with Him and would rescue him. This suggests before hand that Jeremiah would find himself in dangerous situations, in the destructive jaws of greed, injustice and idolatry that would try to crush his very life. But God would rescue him. (Vs.7-8).

God reached out His hand and touched Jeremiahs mouth and says to him “Now, I have put my words in your mouth"(Vs.9) and then gives him the grand assignment.

Today, and as earlier noted in this blog and other media, Kenya is in a deep mess. Crime with impunity, injustices and greed in all its form are threatening to completely wipe Kenya from the map of the world. We have sunk before, but never this low. And it is in the midst and as a result of this mess that I am convinced that God is raising a Jeremiah (This may be several people in different parts of Kenya) to do the six things outlined in Vs. 10. God is appointing these wo/men, just as he did to Jeremiah, over nations and kingdoms. In a previous post we observed that Kenya has remained one country with many nations. Interestingly, it is among these nations that the so called political elites have been working hard to establish their kingdoms. Painfully as it may sound, even some “Wo/men of God” have also been working at establishing their kingdoms among (within) these nations.

It is over this mix of nations (ethnic groups) and religious, political, economic, class and other kingdoms (those already established and those in the making) that God is raising a Jeremiah. I do not know who that is, but I am convinced s/he is there. Could you be the one? Am I the one? Remember Jeremiah was an ordinary person like you and I. Phillip Yancy and Tim Stafford in their notes in the Student Bible (NIV, 1986) notes that, “He feared death, he wearied of ridicule, he hated standing alone against the crowd”. That sounds like me. I love the comfort of my nest and would like it to remain undisturbed. However, and as Yancy and Stafford further note, “Yet he obeyed God, and in the end his message proved true. Today, he stands as a far greater man than than the kings in their luxurious palaces who imprisoned him and burned his writings”. Are we keen to fit in or stand out? To please men, as they get destroyed or to please God and save men?

I ask again, will we stand up and stop all this destruction of our national fabric? Let’s arise at this critical moment and be remembered as the people who in the face of destruction gave hope and built their country.

So what must we do? I humbly submit six practical things that we need to do hand in hand.

i. Uproot: There are huge trees called corruption, impunity, and tribalism that started as small shrubs but were ignored. Now they have become mature trees with their roots in every vein of our national fabric. Merely cutting their trunk will not solve the problem; they must of urgency be uprooted. A problem that is not tackled at the root cause is bound to persist and can only get worse. Persons responsible for these crimes must be uprooted from their economic and political bases and sent to jail.

ii. Tear Down: There are well established evil systems that cover our country. It is a mesh and a wall. Today our ethnic, geographical and other boundaries have become barriers to national building. Even our education selection system (quota system) has become a big barrier as it deliberately bars some Students from ever interacting with each other. This has a led to citizens who engage with on another based on stereotypes – they know others as thiefs, killers, proud etc - all because they lack exposure. These must of urgency be torn down (demolished). WE must demolish everything that stands on the way of national building.

iii. Destroy: This implies completely removing from the face of the earth. Cancerous cells continue to multiply unless they are destroyed. The monster of tribalism, corruption, injustice with impunity is so dangerous that if it is not destroyed now it will destroy our country completely in the near future.

iv. Overthrow: You overthrow those who have are in power and especially men and women who have choosen a self-centred route. In this route, all they do is seek self gain and glorification. Whereas overthrowing is rarely a peaceful game, I believe it is possible to overthrow our failed leadership with the vote. These should be followed with an uncompromising adherence to the rule of law where every wrong doer gets the due punishment while those on the right are rewarded.

v. Build: The greatest tragedy is to tear down, destroy and overthrow without knowing what to do next. As we engage in the above mentioned we must know what we want to replace the corrupt systems. We need to build bridges across our ethnic groups and communities. We need to build a culture of trust, merit, integrity, honesty and hard work. We need to build a system where the input determines the output. Where God the father and not god fathers have the final word. Where one can grow and live to reach their highest potential without having to affiliate to an ethnic or any other grouping.

vi. Plant: Every vegetation and life in general starts with a seed. Its success depends on where it is planted and how well it is taken care of. National building is a process and thus we need to plant the right seeds to be able to get the right results. In planting and harvesting the process is as important as the product. Let’s breed and plant the right seeds. Seeds of peace. Seeds of true democracy – practices and values. Seeds of merit and rewarding of the same.

I am persuaded to the core of my existence, that Kenya needs this bold actions to be able to rise to her rightful place in the league of nations. We have what it takes; are we willing to take it and use it to redeem the lost soul of our country?

This I ponder and this I will do.

In Service to God and Country.



  1. Change begins with one man. Can i stand to be counted? Can you stand to be counted? What are we doing in our little way, to help Kenya be the country we want her to become?
    I may be pointing fingers at our politicians /leaders, saying they are corrupt - yet i skip the queue at the bank.
    Every one of us has a responsibility to tear down, uproot, destroy and above all build, and plant; in our niche, home, office, church. If we all pulled together then we will make a difference.

  2. I totally agree with you that change must start with each of us individually. Do your part for I am doing mine.


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