Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Fighting Corruption in Kenya - What Shall we do?

Psalm 11:1-7 “In the Lord I take refuge. How then can you say to me: "Flee like a bird to your mountain. For look, the wicked bend their bows; they set their arrows against the strings to shoot from the shadows at the upright in heart. When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do ?" The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord is on his heavenly throne. He observes the sons of men; his eyes examine them. The Lord examines the righteous, but the wicked and those who love violence his soul hates. On the wicked he will rain fiery coals and burning sulfur; a scorching wind will be their lot. For the Lord is righteous, he loves justice; upright men will see his face.”

I am of the opinion that over all the arguments advanced on what, how and when of corruption, it remains a heart problem. It is driven and supported by hearts with a penchant to greed. It is greed rebranded.

The Psalmist asks us, when the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do? Indeed the righteous (men and women who love God with all their mind, soul, strength) in Kenya can do something. You and I are the ones to do this. Whether we shall do something including staying aloof is a choice we need to make personally. Inevitably our personal choice has public implications. Doing nothing will be a sign that we have resigned and approved that corruption is right. Martin Luther is on record as having said, “He that does not confront evil, commands it to be done”. It is thus true that evil will continue to prosper as long as good people do nothing.

So what must we do?

Seek Righteousness: We can only offer what we have and of who we are. Righteousness has to do with seeking to please God because we love Him and not just to obey a rule. Righteousness has to stem from a heart anchored and established on God. For God is righteous (Vs. 7). It goes without saying that you cannot love God and then go ahead to destroy the foundations of his people and his world. When asked the greatest Commandment, Jesus responded “Love the Lord your God….. and love your neighbor as yourself. For all the other laws are based on this”. Friends we must make laws (and indeed we have made many laws) on fighting corruption but none of this will make any impact unless we have hearts that are transformed. Not even a new constitution can stop this. Righteous people need to do something by being the messengers of truth taking it in every direction.

Be Upright: This is about being straight. It is being what people see and nothing else. It is about character. It has been said that we must watch our thoughts for they become our words, watch ours words for the become our actions, watch our actions for they become our habits, watch our habits for they become our character, and watch our character for it becomes our destiny. Character is above all, the most important thing in transforming a country like Kenya. Sun Tzu writes in His book The Art of War, “To win a war a general needs two things – character and strategy and if he must be without one then let it be character”. Amazingly, its is interesting that many of us, including all of you in this hall tonight, spend our lifetime working on our strategy but leave character to natural laws.

Do Justice: How fair are we in undertaking duties bestowed on us? How do we treat those under us? Are our actions based on love or desire to be superior and in control? Do we treat others as they ought to and as we would want to be treated? There are many laws in Kenya, but there is a scarcity of justice. Who will hear the cry of millions who have been unjustly treated? God is a God of justice and he ensures that we each get what we deserve. We never get more than what we deserve unless we have stolen. God is calling us as he did to the Israelites when they had abandoned his ways. He sent prophet Micah who prophesied, “What does the Lord require of you than to show mercy, act justly and walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8)

This i Believe. This I will do. This I encourage you to do.

In Service to God and My Country.

ARMS

NB: This is from a Sermon shared in Jomo Kenyatta University of Science and Technology Main Campus in Juja on 24 March 2010. Email me for full script.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Who is incharge?

In the recent past we have been treated to the usual political theatrics that characterize Kenyan politics and leadership. While even the least concerned of Kenyans would wish to remain unconcerned, the situation is such that everyone has paid attention. The constitution making is at a critical stage and Kenyans are faced by a myriad of challenges.

One wonders who is in charge of Kenya at the moment. The common response is to point at the other person who by whatever reason (election, appointment, contract) has a duty to provide certain public goods and services. This are the fellows we blame and curse at the top of our voice for things gone wrong. But what difference would it make if each of us took charge of what is happening in our part of the world? I am convinced that each of us has an influence over some of our part of the world. That could be among our friends, workmates, family, organization, social club etc. Who have you left to be in charge of making the desires you have come true. Or are we afraid of carrying the blame for things gone bad?

The best angle to start being in charge is the try angle. Try all you can and to your surprise most of the things you think cant work will actually workout.

Today, step out of your comfort zone and take charge of making a difference in your part of the world. Indeed each of us has a duty in making Kenya the best place there was to live in. Will you take charge and be the exceptional one or will you spend your life looking for the exceptions in others?

In Service to God and My Country.
ARMS

Friday, March 19, 2010

Raha Tupate na Ustawi (Plenty Be Found within our Boarders)

"Kenya has become a country of 10 millionaires and 10 million beggars", said the Late J.M Kariuki when reminding the leaders then of their responsibility in building a country where all have an equal share of the opportunities for development. Today one looks around and notices great scarcity in our country. What happened? What went wrong such that 47 years after independence, we seem to be making baby steps in the fight against our greatest enemies - ignorance, poverty and disease? Today, on top of this three we have added crime with impunity, tribalism and corruption.

There is scarcity of innovation in service delivery. We have scarcity of food in dry times and scarcity of storage and processing in times of rain. We have scarcity of good performance in national exams and when we have better performance we have scarcity of admission positions in the next level. We have scarcity of manpower in key industries and scarcity of resources to employ the many graduates that are trained in our institutions. We have scarcity of provision and scarcity of the will -spiritual, political and economic- to address the same. We have scarcity of unity and scarcity of determination to make bridges between our various nations.

In this state of affairs, our national anthem reminds us that we are to build a country where plenty is found within our boarders. The swahili version is even more powerful - Raha Tupate na Ustawi . It connotes joy and being established with no worry or cares for provision. Today many a Kenyan have no time to create, innovate and reach their highest potential as they are boggled down by the search for basic provision. Their dawn to dusk is characterized by the search for some elusive cash to make their lives better. Economic growth registered seems to have had very little impact on the development of the people especially for those on the lower levels of the income quartile.

But how can we find this joy and peace of establishment. How can we have plenty within our boarders? Is it by higher economic growth rates? Is it by implementing better economic redistribution mechanisms? Is it by devolving government to lower units that have authority in their respective areas? Is it by making greater fiscal transfers to the grassroots? This is the query that has been taking the better part of my thinking faculties.

Whereas, the above measures are key and important to institute and follow through I think we need to do two things.

A. Maximize on each area's competitive edge and comparative advantage: Each region in this country has its own potential. What if we invested in increasing in each regions potential? For instance making the North Eastern part the lead producer in Beef and related products, Fruits and Honey. What about various nuts (coconuts, cashew nuts and peanuts etc) in Coast as well as tourism. This is just to mention but a few. All we need is mapping potential and investing in it in terms of production and returns on investment.

B. Each to have just what is enough and rightful theirs: Kenya has enough for all of us but very little for any one individual who wants it all for himself. We have scarcity because some of our brothers and sisters have taken more than they need and what belongs to others. What if we each committed to just having enough and letting others have the rest that is rightfully theirs.

In all this lets be reminded and encouraged by the words of Zechariah that change in Kenya will not come by own power and might but by the spirit of the Living God (Zech 4:6 NIV). He is our father and has our best interests at heart.

What do you think we can do to make Kenya a country where there is plenty for each of us? For it is you and I who will make a difference in Kenya.

In Service to God and My Country.

ARMS

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.

ARMS.

Friday, March 12, 2010

They have died....who is next?

Today my heart is heavy. I am lost of words and my mind is on fire with all thoughts of revenge and every other thing that can avenge for the lives of men and women who have died due to an act of omission or commission by a fellow Kenyan. I more concerned because the very gun that fell them and the very hand that pulled the trigger is still with me. It is in my neighbors hand - the very person I live with and at times hope will protect me. This is a pain that every other Kenyan shares in.

The killing of seven taxi operators in the early hours of yesterday morning in Kawangware-Dagoretti have left me wondering where we are headed as a country. My friend Bernard says, " they have died...there are no graves to bury them... there is no maize to feed their dependents....their children have primary school to attend...its pain and more pain". And this is just one of the many incidences. If it is not the bullet, then it is arson, or hunger, or a lost job or a disease. Kenyans are faced with death in all its forms from every side.

Its greed and selfishness that surrounds our every day life. Who shall fight for us? Who shall stand and say no more? Who shall give up their all for our good? Who is it? Is it you or is it me?

I condemn all this evil in the strongest terms possible and wish to inform our leaders that we are closely watching how they are handling the lives of the people of Kenya.

In Service to God and Country.

ARMS.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

May We Dwell in Unity, Peace and Liberty


Dwelling in Unity, Peace and Liberty with people of all walks of life is certainly a challenging call. Thats the commitment we make when we sing our national anthem. Every single Kenyan desires to live a life of unity, peace and liberty.

I attempt to define the four terms in this in the context of our national building and the current situation.

Dwelling connotes living and conducting ones life in a certain geographic area. This may imply conducting some work and engaging in a means to make a living. In the context of a country there are different geographical areas that one may live in and inevitably there are other people in the environs.

Unity has the the direct assumption that there are other persons who live in the area or that have a direct/indirect impact on your life. In our context we find ourselves living in the same geographical area called Kenya. We come from all walks of life and have differences of language, race, tribe/ethnic group, cultures, religions and much more. In such a context we have a choice to live on our own or to seek to live in harmony with others. We have a choice to make our differences our point of conflict or our point of uniting. I am convinced that our diversity if well utilized is our greatest strength. Unity is not uniformity; rather it is a focus to a common purpose. At its best unity is when each of us is doing their best and bringing their best effort to the table of decisions and development of our country. The strong uplifts the weak, the rich supports the poor, the fast encourage and make up for the slow etc. But in a state where the weak are mistreated and taken advantage of, it is impossible to have unity. We have to work extra hard to ensure that as much as is possible we bring every Kenyan to the table of decision.

Peace is not the absence of conflict, it is the deliberate act of managing conflict and resolving contentious matters at their earliest. If you like peace is the work of always pulling out the roots of any weed of conflict as soon as bud shows up on the earth. Studies on conflict and even our own day to experiences show that what ends up becoming a huge conflict started as a small issue but was either ignored or deliberately fired up of sectarian interests. In Kenya, peace is often confused with calmness (or what one commentator has called cease fire). Just about two years after the Post Election Violence occured and some are already indicating that there is peace. I am of the unfortunate opinion that we do not have peace, rather we have conflict rich calmness. Why do I say so? The issues, the underlying causes of the conflicts in the past seem to remain unaddressed. For instance we are yet to address corruption with impunity, land ownership wrangles, human rights abused inflicted on fellow Kenyans and much more. As a result there is clamour for capture of political power by different communities so as to be able to sought out ( some read this as "to revenge"). In this kind of a context it is difficult to talk of peace. To live in peace with fellow Kenyans is a deliberate decision that you and I need to make. Some people make it difficult to live in peace with them and no wonder the advice from the Holy Bible in Hebrews 12:14 To strive for peace with all men. Peace is expensive because it calls for personal sacrifice and a willingness to compromise some hard lines so as to accommodate the other person.

Liberty means freedom. and for me the greatest thing that freedom should enhance, is the opportunity for all Kenyans to seek and achieve their highest aspirations both individually and collectively. Thus it follows that such people will never be equal. People who are pursuing their aspirations in a supportive environment will always be difficult to manipulate. Lawrence Reed advances the argument that free people are not equal and equal people are not free in his paper, seven principles of sound public policy (see http://www.mackinac.org/3832). Therefore one understands where every effort to ensure liberty is oftenly opposed. Because in a manipulative system, that ours has become, there needs to be unquestioning foot soldiers. Once you make them free then you loose them. They are free to choose you and free to choose your opponent.

Thus we dwell in everything else minus sufficient presence of peace, unity and liberty. That explains why one meets faces of frustrated people who work long hours to no avail. They struggle every day to live a comfortable life.

What then shall we do? Just like new wine destroys an old wineskin, it is impossible to find peace, unity and liberty by using the same old systems that have facilitated disunity, conflict and oppression. Failure is doing the same things, the same way but expecting different results. In my mind two things stand out.

A. Change of Software: With this, I refer to each of us individually changes our attitude and way of doing things. I hold the view that a safe journey is a result of two things, with a constant of God's guidance. This are a good driver and a functional car. Thus we must focus and get right the drivers of national building and these are the individual kenyans. We need to remove the current faulty operating system that is characterized by no respect for public property, impunity, corruption, blaming others for own fault and greed in all its faces. In place we need an operating system that is characterised by personal responsibility, the rule of law and integrity in all aspects of our national fibre.

B. Change the hardware: Even the best of drivers knows that his success depends on the condition of the car. I must submit that we are driving a faulty car. It has shown all signs of malfunction but we keep on. two things are likely, it will either crash and kill us of it will stall and cost us big time. Fixing it will cost us so much more. We must as a matter of urgency change our hardware - call it reforms or whatever else, we need a system change. This must cover all facets; education, land, leadership, development models and resource allocation.

Then and only then shall we start the true journey of dwelling in peace love and unity.

Be part of this change.

In Service to God and Country.

ARMS.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Are you the leader Kenya is looking for?

Fellow Kenyans as we continue to reflect on the words and spirit of our national anthem, I am compelled to share with us what I believe comprises the kind of leaders our great nation needs to move forward.

This I quote and paraphrase (In Italics) from Leadership Author Dr. John C. Maxwell, in His book Developing the Leader within you (1993).

Kenya is in dire need of leaders;

Who use their influence at the right times and for the right reasons;

Who take a little greater share of the blame and a little smaller share of the credit;

Who lead themselves successfully before attempting to lead others;

Who continue to search for the best path and not the familiar one;

Who add value to the people and the organization (country) they lead;

Who work for the benefit of others and not for personal gain;

Who handle themselves with their heads and handle others with their hearts;

Who know the way, go the way and show the way;

Who inspire and motivate rather that intimidate and manipulate their followers;

Who live with people to know their problems and live with God in order to solve them;

Who realize that their dispositions (attitudes) are more important than their positions;

Who mold opinions instead of following opinion polls;

Who understand that an institution is the reflection of their character;

Who never place themselves above others except in carrying responsibilities;

Who will be as honest in small things as in great things;

Who discipline themselves so they will not be disciplined by others;

Who encounter setbacks and turn them into comebacks;

Who follow a moral compass that points in the right direction regardless of the trends;

Whose word is their bond;

This are true characteristics that any one desiring to lead this great nation should ascribe to. The advice of Charles Evans the late, a former Chief Justice of the United States of America, to the judges on 3 March 1939 comes in handy, " We are here not as masters but as servants, not to glory in power but to attest our loyalty to the commands and restrictions laid down in our sovereign, the comrades of this institution in whose name and by whose will we exercise our brief authority".

Let us all be firm in deciding who leads us but much more let us be this kind of a leader in our part of Kenya.

In Service to God and Country.

ARMS.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Justice be our shield and defender

Today is International Women's Day and I wish to join in hailing praise to our women who have played a great role in ensuring that this world is what it is today. God new what he was doing when he created a woman. I highly doubt that the world would be as beautiful, cheerful and filled with all signs of happiness without our dear women. But it has not always been easy for them. As a matter of fact women have and continue to bore the brunt of injustices that characterize our world. The labor hard in farms and industries but are denied the opportunity to control the very income they participate in bringing. They are victimized for crimes they never committed and are many at times denied the opportunity to own and inherit property of their departed family members even when they are the rightful next of keen. They bear the pain of child birth, rearing and support while at times receiving no support from their male partners. In what I observe as an increasing male scarce society, women are bearing burdens they should not. sadly to note is that the scarcity of men is not just physical absence but actually abdication of responsibility in the homes. God help us men to always take our ruightful positions without fear or favour for as John Hagee observes, " When men fail, the church falls and the society collapses".

I turn to our reflection of the day - Justice Be Our Shield and Defender.

" Justice delayed is justice denied and an injustice in itself", goes an old saying (emphasis mine). Kenya is a prime case study of justice both delayed and denied. In every corner of the country is one crying for justice to be done. No one can claim to be free from the effects of injustice as long as one of us is unjustly treated. Martin Luther King Jr. best expressed this when he observed, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly". We are all intertwined in the mesh of injustice in two main ways. By either propagating it or by keeping silence as it is being propagated. S/he who does not oppose evil supports it. A simple example is when I have sat quietly in matatu (bus) while the conductor overcharges someone who is unable to defend themselves. Have you ever been part of watching injustice propagated but kept quiet because you were not the victim.

It is a natural flow that with the blessing of God of all creation on the land and nation that there will be justice in the land. The land we envision is one with justice as the shield and defender. The shield and defender pre-supposes, and rightly so, that there will be dangerous aims at the people of Kenya and thus the need to be protected by a just system and people. But this seems to have evaded us in many ways. This blog observes that there has been an effort to establish a law on almost every matter that is affecting the country including the recent enactment of the National Cohesion and Integration Act, 2008 (earlier named Ethnic relations bill). However, many laws do not necessarily imply existence of justice. This is because, justice is a matter of the heart. True justice is advance by a just heart and not laws. The citizenry must be ready to read the letter of the law and live the spirit of the same. But what makes justice in Kenya such an elusive thing? Why are so many hurting of injustices, while those responsible enjoy their freedom? Why is no concrete action being taken to address this injustices? Why are all efforts towards justice met with resistance or interfered with? Why is it that the reports of commissions of inquiry that touched on critical matters of justice such as The Ndungu Report, Akiwumi Report and others never implemented? Were they a PR exercise meant to hood wink the powerless public?

One can only concluded that there lacks will to give justice to they that deserve it. Those in power use oppression to rule of the people and thus have intention to address the citizens concern. But it is also true that they (those in power) are responsible for causing the injustices and thus addressing them would mean shooting the very hand that feeds them. It is case of sheep's welfare being in the hands of the wolf.

Enough is enough. It is time to make justice a reality in Kenya. Over and above the myriad of commissions established in the country there is need to make sure that justice flows like a river to all people. The worst injustices are those committed by citizens to citizens. Its neighbours who burn and evict their neighbours from their homes? It is employers who mistreat their employees? It is religious leaders who take advantage of their followers by underpaying them and overworking them?

I invite us to not only demand that justice be done, but that we provide justice. What if we each made it our responsibility to do justice and protect those in our part of the world from the injustices of this world. What if we made it our passion and daily core to do what is just. Do you treat those under you in a just way? Does your house technician, juniors at work, fellow students, team know you for justice or injustice?

Its as we do our part that the whole part will be done. May the Lord help us in making Justice a reality.

In Service to God and Country.

ARMS.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Bless this our Land and Nation

As noted in the previous post, our national anthem is the one thing that Kenyans are agreed on. This could be for the very reason that it contains the aspired future of the nation. How I long for the day that the words of the anthem shall be lived and experienced and not just sang as is the case now. Indeed that day we shall exclaim 'Truly Blessed are we'.

Blessing and being blessed is as old as the human species. In our traditional cultures the gods were sought to bless the land and offerings were made to invite such blessings, to give thanks for the blessings and in the case of wrong doing to seek forgiveness of the gods. Different religions have blessings from God as a key principle of existance. In the christian faith blessings from God are central aspect of the doctrine. Prayers, offerings and other rituals are made to seek God's blessings. This blessings though at times interpreted in terms of quality of life such as state of ones health,peace of mind and good relationships, the quantity is also highly considered. In recent times, quantitative aspects of blessings have taken a centre stage. This is in terms of material wealth. This has been the catch phrase for many a prosperity preacher. While not intending to do an expose of the form and shape blessing take, the author is keen to underscore that true blessing has both qualitative and quantitative aspects. Also this true blessing can be seen and experienced by people in their day to day life.

Bless This Our Land and Nation
'Bless this our land and nation' does go our second line of our national anthem. Its a prayer requesting the God of all Creation to favour and advance good tidings to two areas of Kenyans life-our land and our nation. Does Kenya as a country(The geographical space on the earth) have this two things. Yes we have land that is diverse in productivity and landscape. And yes it needs Gods blessing for optimal production to support the people dependent on it. We need Gods blessings in the highlands, low lands, waters, forests etc. And do we have a nation that can attract God's blessings. Do we have a unity of purpose that brings. A more intimate look at kenya one realises many nations in one country. My friend Njonjo Mue advances this position in greater detail in his article One Country Many Nations (Njonjo, 2007 http://kenyananalyst.wordpress.com/2009/01/22/bless-this-our-land-and-nation) . The process of bring our diverse nations into one united nation that is established and strengthened by the strengths of each community seems to be far from success despite almost 47 years of independence. Each community seems to have focused more on building its power base. It has degenerated into a battle of supremacy between nations with each wanting to dominate over the others. We are alive to the saying 'Its our time to eat', used to imply each communities desire to have an opportunity to control and where possible eat a big piece of the national cake. It thus no wonder that instead of political elites from the various communities mobilizing for national unity,they mobilize on ethnic and selfish lines. These they do while claiming to be pursuing the best interests of 'their people'. Ethnically motivated conflicts best explain this drive for power. It has become a society of getting power using whatever means necessary. One then understands the lethargy in undertaking crucial reforms in governance system. This was what the Agenda IV of the Kenya National Dialogue & Reconciliation that sort ought the 2007 Post Election Violence violence and political crisis. In such a state where the leaders feed on the blood of their people by sharing the spoils as Kenyans die of da sword and hunger, it is difficult for God to bless our land and nation. Unity is a condition that God uses to bless humans. Psalm 133:1-3 tells us that it is pleasant when brethren live together in unity for there the Lord commands a blessing and life for evermore.

What then must we do to attract Gods blessing to our land and nation.

Three things stand out that we need to do as Kenyans;-

A. Unity - This is not uniformity (being the same and doing the same), it is pursuit of a common purpose based on common principles but upholding our diversity. It is working together by each doing what they are best in. It is maximizing on each others strength. Every leader must thus

B. Faithfulness : It is clear from the parable of the talents that faithfulness (Mathew 25:14-30) is rewarded with much more and while laziness is punished. But more interesting is that it does not matter how much you have, what matters is what you do with it. In Kenya we have many a lazy people who survive by stealing other peoples sweat as well as corrupt people who rise by oppressing others.

C. Walking the Talk: This is about being people whose word is their bond. People who say what they mean and mean what they say. We have witnessed many a person (some of who are national leaders) say one thing in public and do a totally different thing in private. They preach the water of peace in public as they excessively partake the wine of destruction in private.

This is my call to all people of Kenya and especially those entrusted with public resources be they human, natural, financial, technical. Important to note is that each of us is entrusted with part of our land and nation. Are we faithful in managing it?

May this lead you and I to more intimate search of our ways and may we purpose that from this day onwards we shall do our part in attracting the God of all creation to Bless our Land and Nation. On Monday we continue on Justice be Our Shielder and Defender.

Blessed Weekend.

In Service to God and Country.

ARMS.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Oh God of All Creation

The National Anthem is certainly the one thing that all Kenyans agree with. It does outlines the values and principles as well as the desire country that every Kenyan would love to live in - a country of justice, plenty, liberty just to name but a few. But it concerns me that that the daily life of Kenyans as portrayed in various media and interactions seems to be devoid of this values, principles and vision that are contained in Our National Anthem.

This blog will focus on an exposition of the anthem line by line with an intent to arouse, remind and revive our individual conscience as to what is required of us in making Kenya what it ought to be i.e. The Light of Africa and the center of world class development in the southern hemisphere. Kenya Vision 2030 terms this as "A globally Competitive and Prosperous Country with a High quality of life" (GoK, 2007)


"Oh God Of All Creation"

This is the first line of our national anthem. It ascribes to The God of who made and sustains all creation. At His word all that is was made and at His very word it can all be destroyed. Psalms 24: 1-2 reminds us that The earth is the LORD's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; 2 for he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters. Indeed God is the one who created and sustain Kenya. He not only created the earth and all in it but also created human beings to take care of it. But we have not always been faithful for we have many at times destroyed the natural creation. If this was not the case there would be no debate about global warming and all its attendant effects on climate change.

In Kenya we are alive to the reality that unless we individually and collectively do something about our environment then we will have little to live on in the coming years. Our children will read and see pictures of forests that were the desert they live in. They will see pictures of elephants, snow capped Mt. Kenya, Flamingo filled Lake Elementaita and Lake Nakuru. They will read and hear about the big five animals that Kenya was once famous of. And all this they will as they drink water from Tanzania, Use Electricity from Uganda, Eat Cereals from Europe and Drive cars from Asia. And because Kenya will be too broke to afford anything- they will doing all this using loans from other countries.

Creation cries for care and support to continue to produce that which it is designed to produce. Gods gift to us is the creation in all its beauty; Our gift to Him is care with integrity of this creation. God has given Kenya all it needs to be all He intended of it. Think of all the animals, parks, rivers, mountains, minerals. Above this think of all the Kenyans within and out of the country and the exploits they do. In His wisdom He has put us in this country for such a time as this. I am convinced that you and I are the right people, for the right job and at this very right place. WE are the people who can change this country for good. The Japanese have built their Japan, Germans have built their Germany, Americans have built their America among others and so must Kenyans build their Kenya

What then does The God of all Creation desire of us in this circumstance where the country needs true leadership and direction into a path of prosperity based on social, political, cultural and economic integrity. When the Israelites had become rebellious and were living for themselves ignoring Gods call, He sent them Prophet Micah who informed them that God required three things;

a. To act justly - advancing fairness to all Kenyans. To reward merit and punish the wrong.
b. To love mercy - This means treating those who need help with a sense of kindness and love. This is true because we will not all be on the same level and asThe Late John F. Kennedy rightly observed " A country cannot protect the few who are rich unless it helps the majority who are poor"
c. To walk humbly with your God - Humility is being and doing all you are supposed to do without boasting about it. Its being yourself with a sense of contentment as you seek to achive greater good.

Lets work with all we are in making Kenya a coveted destiny and give all honour to the God of all creation and then we shall be assured of his blessings. Check out the next post on Bless This our Land and Nation.

In Service to God and Country

ARMS.