Monday, January 21, 2013

What the Party Primaries in Kenya have shown us

The last few days have seen the Political Parties nominate their candidates for the various positions in the coming 4th March Elections. The party primaries were interesting in many ways. The most positive observation is just to see parties have nominations, this for me is a good start of things to come. However, from the said nominations a number of lessons are worth noting. 

First, Regardless of how good your ideas are, you need touch with the people. Politics is 10% ideas but 90 % personal touch. People want to know you feel with them and understand their issues. Ofcourse there are places where some money did the magic (ofcourse very temporal) but in the overall those with strong grassroot touch won the day.

A second lesson is that it takes time to reform a system. Fixing the car is the easy part, fixing the driver is rather hard. It requires a hard decisions and courage to act. So no surprises that some politicians are still on the hung ups of the old system - vote buying, rigging, intimidating returning officers and causing violence. When we enacted a new constitution in August 2010, many of us relaxed hoping that it would lead to change. That has been largely challenged as MPs (a majority of them) have worked to water down any provision that would be to harsh on their old way of doing things. The celebration and rest must now end. We need vigilant people to ensure that our country is progressive. 

Thirdly, is that people can only be pushed too far. This is especially when their expectations are not met and yet their support is taken as a granted. This is particularly important for those desirous of leading this great country in various positions, they must work to serve the people. 

Fourthly, that maybe not all positions should be elective as it ends up attracting the most popular and not necessarily capable person. Governor is such a position that I think should have been appointed with the approval of County Assemblies. Ofcourse democracy interprated as the rule of the majority means that whoever they elect gets the position.

Lastly, is that a country is not changed online. Many of us the good professionals, elites and middle class, were very active on the social media describing the candidates we thought would bring the change we desire but never went to nominate them. Come 4th March we have no choice but to elect from among those who have been short-listed for us. Hope we will make better choices then and give our country the leaders it deserves.

In Service to God and Our Country
Abraham Rugo Muriu

Monday, January 7, 2013

A Fresh Start

New Year Word at KTN Tukuza Show on Sunday, 6 January 2013

Jeremiah 29:1-11

As we start 2013, it is a great moment to be reminded that God has the best interest for us. He is good to the core even when things are worst to the roots. He has and always will be for us. This may not look so when we have no idea where school fees will come from, when we remain jobless and when our business may not be doing as well as we expect. For others, it is that everything is so good that God has equally lost meaning. We think He is the God of the poor and we do not need Him. Yet there are those of us who want more of Him. We want to rise higher in our devotion to God and service to humanity. Whichever group you fall in, God’s word in this year of jubilee is clear. In Jeremiah 29, the Israelites are in exile in Babylon and Jeremiah writes them a letter whose content is very relevant to us in Kenya.

1.     To settle down (Vs. 5) – not to take our situation as though it be a passing wind. They are to build houses, plant gardens and eat what they produce. We live in a world where we are always on the run from one pursuit to another. God wants us to settle down even in our hearts that we can build a strong relationship with Him and his people. Let us make up our minds to settle down. That is to be ambitious with contentment and not greed. Only settled people can build this our nation together. To settle down to the fact that our diversity is our strength. That every person has a right to enjoy the best this country has to offer.

2.    They are to increase in numbers (Vs.6) – Marry, have children and give their children in marriage. While this may not be literally taken as it meant to them then, there is a desire in God that we increase. That we improve his world. That we leave the places where we are in now, better than we found it. That we draw more people to his loving grace. Be it in the spiritual realm, in the economy, in politics and in all others spheres let us increase in 2013. Let us increase in honesty, in integrity, in love, in faith, in hope and in service to humanity.

3.     To seek the peace and prosperity of the place they are in. To pray to the Lord for it, for if it prospers they too will prosper (Vs. 7). It is interesting that their well being was tied to the well being of Babylon. This is an equally true principle that our prosperity is tied to the prosperity of our country Kenya. We see this all the time in economic, social and political crisis - that everyone suffers when things go wrong and that people are ‘happy’ when systems are well. We thus cannot ignore what is happening around us for in the end it affects us. This is an election year and we need to be involved, some to vie for positions, others to campaign but all who have registered need to vote. This we are to engage in remembering that the true source of prosperity is the blessing of the Lord.

4.  To watch against the deception of the false prophets (Vs. 8-9). God’s word as recorded in scripture stands in all times. He blesses obedience and punishes disobedience – regardless of who is involved in it. He blesses hard work and curses laziness, regardless of who is involved.  We live in a world that has redefined what is right and what is wrong. However, this does not change what God’s word says. We are to watch against such and also watch against being the false prophets who give others false hopes.

5.    In God’s time he will come and save us (Vs. 10). For the exiles it would be about 3 generations (70 years) before God would take them from Babylon back to their home in Jerusalem. For us we await in faith that God will meet our desires here on earth. Also for the glorious day when Christ shall return to take us home. This is the gift that God gives to those who have choose to put their trust in Him (Rev. 21:12).

For the Lord knows the plans He has for us, plans to prosper us and not to harm us, plans to give us hope and a future (Vs. 11). God has allowed us to see this year so that we will be part of the solution to his world; to make his will be done and to serve our fellow human beings. To give hope to the hopeless and to hold the hand of the weak. To reverse the trend of getting things and using people, to honoring people as God’s vessels of noble use. I am convinced that God is doing a new thing and I pray that none of us will be left out. That we will stand to be counted. To be counted among those that did the right when others were doing the popular. Who helped the weak when others were taking advantage. Who were honest when others were being corrupt. Who followed their hearts conviction and stood for the truth even when it was fashionable to lie. God has a plan for good and let us wait for indeed He is doing a new thing. Shall we partake of it?

Some thoughts on future of Universities and Scholarship

It was my pleasure to give input on this topic at the just concluded DAAD Young Scholars in Africa Conference held in Nairobi, Kenya. As one...