Thursday, August 5, 2010

Was it peaceful or just Calm?

A flashback to 2007 December 30 in the light of yesterdays referendum voting has left me wondering which of the two was the real Kenya? Both had the drive to vote for change but with totally different outcomes. No one can even tell there was any voting yesterday and this makes me feel very proud.
But was it peaceful or just calm?
I am no prophet of doom neither do I enjoy conflict but I am disturbed. I am disturbed that even as we went for the vote we still have so much swept under the carpet that we hope will sort itself. I am disturbed that our brothers and sisters remain in tents as no one is keen enough to re-settle them. I am disturbed that many a kenyan voted for or against a document they had no idea what it contains or has for them. I am disturbed that politics and partisan interests remain a key driving force in Kenya and public means are used for private ends. For if politics was not the main thing, why then did bill boards with messages for Voting YES or NO have pictures of some persons who have declared their intentions to run for presidency in the next elections? Why were there cold fights about who will gain most from the referendum in terms of political mileage? Why is the discussion now on which politician delivered votes and who did not deliver and not on the millions of Kenyans who have borne the pain of bad leadership and how they stand to gain or loose in the new order?
This are the things that disturb me. The politicians are already sharing the spoils while Kenyans remain in their sorry state or affairs. This thoughts calls us to go flat out and work for peace by uprooting all causes of conflict in the country and no one should be spared if they are the cause. only then can we set our country on the path to success otherwise the scenes of 2007/8 will not be far from us.
One of the interesting observations in this referendum is that Kenyans have all that it takes to make this country new and that they want change. A change that is not just on paper but real change that impacts their lives positively. With the results showing a clear YES win, one is left with no doubt that in 14 days time Kenya will have in place a new order. But will Kenyans have a new order internally? As the paper is signed by the president, are Kenyans also signing new page individually and collectively. A new page of responsibility, honesty, abiding by the rule of law, living in peace, love and unity. A new page of respect of opinion and celebration of diversity. A new page of integrity and justice that is not about "just us".
For the change we so desire must start with each of us. We can not expect to remain the same and joy ride on the change from others. Indeed, if it is to be, it is up to us. Lets work for our country for in here lays our prosperity.

In Service to God and My Country.

ARMS

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Final Thoughts on Referendum Eve...

Friends, we are Kenyans in Kenya for such a time as this. Much more, we are Disciples of Christ in Kenya that He may be glorified even through us. We have not always lived to this expectation. When called to courage, we havefeared; when called to reconcile, we have divided; when called to act wehave often ran away and when called to love we have hated. I am encouragedto note that destiny is in the future and that we have a minute by minuteopportunity to arise and shine. But are we committed to this course? Are we ready to pay the price for the prize, carry the cross for the redemption?Are we just keen on the returns or blessings? Are we given to walk the roadof the higher calling for which we are being called to? A path least usedand even unpopular,but right nevertheless which the Lord is calling us to.

I am grateful for those who have taken time to understand the document before come Weds 4th Aug 2010.On this day we shall either approve or disapprove the document. Grey areas have been pointed out and so have been the strong point. In a diverse society there can be no one straight road and thus a constitution is a negotiated piece with giving and taking, gaining and loosing.

The decision before us is a political one with implications on every aspectof our lives. It is a choice that requires us to weigh what we are willingto live with. We must at every time remember that the reason we are seekinga new constitutional order is to have a country where each citizen can havethe opportunity and support systems to reach their highest potential. Alevel playing field where all have an equal opportunity in enjoying thebenefits that our great country has to offer. As one of my good friends puts it “YES is a drive to fix the politics, while the NO is a drive to fix thevalues”. Question is which one is most critical and which one can only youand I do. But a keener look on the Kenyan society as is now, reveals that the problem we have may not be solved by simply enacting a new constitution.The problem that Kenya has is one of abdicating personal responsibility andoutright disregard for the rule of law (read impunity). This then calls usto a higher duty that is over and above a new constitution. That we must beready to change our attitudes and ways of life if we are to see prosperity.It’s a call to forget the former ways of corruption and impunity.

The constitution may fix the hardware (systems) but I doubt it will fix thesoftware (people) which is largely responsible for the state Kenya is innow. We must appreciate that we cannot legislate on peace, love and unity.This must of necessity stem from willing and transformed hearts. This newKenya must be built in the hearts of Kenyans otherwise we will remain underunder siege and as a people without a birth right. Kenyans must arise andbuild their Kenya, just like the Japanese, the Chinese, the Americans andothers have done. No lasting solution will come from outside. Others can support but we must be out doing the real work. Thus come Wednesday, we mustall vote and be proud of our vote.

A new page in Kenya’s history is in the offing. This is regardless ofwhich side gets more votes. Of interest is that both those voting YES andthose voting NO have a point of agreement. This is that the PCK is notperfect. The point of departure is that the YES Camp want it passed thenamended while the NO Camp wants it amended then passed. This is in myopinion is a good thing. The challenge is on how we get both sides to worktogether after the referendum to ensure that we have the contentious issuessorted for therein lies the stability of the country. In the absence of thiswe are simply cooked!. We are cooked because the reasons you and I arevoting yes or no are not necessarily the same as why the politicians aredoing so. This calls for us to arise in prayer and action, the Martin LutherKing Jnr style and demand that Kenya and Kenyans be respected and treatedaccordingly. More so ensuring that Kenyans are the drivers of their owndestiny with the help of God.

Ours is a role to build a loving, peaceful and united country. And this wemust do with all the zeal and zest we can command. We must vote and work fora responsible nation, teach and practice the values we desire to seeexhibited, and be an example of the change we want to see. Lastly we must asa church always recall and emphasis that a well governed country is notnecessarily a godly one, thus we must keep on with the great commission ofmaking disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father,Son and Holy Spirit.
God Bless You All.
In Service to God and My Country.
ARMS
NB: This is a speech I gave in St. Andrews Church on Sunday, 1 August 21010 as Wrap Up to the Serialization of the Proposed Constitution of Kenya. This version is edited by John Ngichu