It all went silent when the COVID19 pandemic struck in Kenya, at least we thought so. Things went dark politically, for about two months, we didn’t hear much about or from the politicians. Then the landmark judgment came against the 67 years old Sirisia member of parliament John Waluke over corruption charges. A sigh of relief to Kenyans it was that at least in the wake of the pandemic, even sitting leaders could and will be convicted if found guilty. Then came the famous now annual battle of the division of revenue to counties in the senate. This year’s battle was on the proposed formula for the division of funds to counties.
The government was proposing division to counties by the size of the geographical area. At the same time, the opposition wanted to maintain the division by the population of the county among other proposed formula. This war became personal that we saw the state using the police to intimidate the senators into voting for its proposals by illegally arresting senators Steve Lelegwe (Samburu), Christopher Langat (Bomet) and Cleophas Malala (Kakamega). In the midst of all this, Nairobi county was handed over to a retired general while it stood at a verge of being dissolved. While some people are looting funds borrowed for fighting the Covid19 pandemic- Covidmillionaires. Not to mention the BBI and the 2022 general election among many other political issues happening.
God’s Institutions of Governance
Politics has everything to do with governance. That is to fight to form and run the government. God has devolved his power partially to human to two main institutions. The first institution is the family. Here God has given the parents the power to govern and administer justice through the rode (Proverbs 13:24; 29:17). The father is the head of the house, and the rest become his subjects. They are to listen to him and follow his guidance-this doesn’t mean that the rest of the members of the family are any lesser (Ephesians 5:23-33).
Secondly, God has given us the state/ government or political leadership to exercise authority over us and administer justice through the sward (Deuteronomy 13:14-15) to punish those who reject the law and cause instability in the nation. God has delegated to these political leaders the authority to protect, provide and preserve the people of a nation, for all leadership comes from God (Romans 13:1).
Our Civic Duties.
That said, the government of Kenya has enshrined through the constitution the rights and responsibilities of every citizen. In Chapter four of the constitution of Kenya, there are listed about 22 rights and responsibilities that we have as citizens. Among these rights are the right to vote, the right for fair administration action, political rights, right to human dignity and right to life.
Jesus answered a lawyer who wanted to conner him with tax law. He answered him by merely saying give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar. Letter in scripture, we see him paying tax for Peter and himself (Matthew 17: 24-27). Jesus, who is our Lord and God (Jude 25), lays to us here a principle and an example of a good citizen in a tyrannical political environment. The principle is as true to tax laws as it is true to all other laws of the nation, including political rights and laws. The principle is to do your responsibility as a citizen. If we do not do our civic duty, we will, in essence, be rebelling against God since he is the one who established the leadership, and secondly, we will be tarnishing Jesus’s teaching and example.
Another civic duty we have as believers is the duty to speak out to the leaders in case of abuse of power. I am so proud of the Kenya Christian Professional Forum- who went and sought to strike out the Kihika Bill- The reproductive health bill, that sought to legalize abortion and other sexual immorality. They hold rallies and call out Kenyans to educate them whenever the government is about to do something contrary to the rule of law. They are not the only group; there is the Kenya Christian Lawyers Fellowship, the then Kenya Council of Churches among others.
Worth mention in this section is four Christian heroes. John the Baptist who spoke against Herod for taking his brother’s wife (Mark 6:14-39). William Wilberforce who became a member of parliament in England and played a key role in abolishing slavery, Bishop Tutu of South Africa who rallied against the apartheid regime, and our very own Bishop Muge who was killed for speaking against the tortures, and illegal detention by the then Moi’s government. Without involvement in politics, we cannot speak out in case of injustice as these heroes did.
Our Spiritual Duties.
Our spiritual responsibility is to pray for the political class. There is an approximation of about a hundred verses on praying for the leaders, and the nation-this can tell you that the bible takes this so seriously. As earlier said, leadership is from God, and only God can determine their course. Prov 21:1 says that the heart of a king is like a river in God’s hand he turns it as he pleases. It is God who makes and destroys a nation- He makes nations great, and destroys them; he enlarges nations and disperses them (Job 12:23-25). These leaders are God’s servants, even the most corrupt of them all, and non is that bad in Kenya as compared to the Babylonian tyrant Nebuchadnezzar (Jeremiah 27:6). Therefore, our only hope is in asking their master God to turn their hearts for the good of the nation. In essence, God is in charge.
We also pray because God has commanded us to pray for the leaders and our nation (1 Peter 2:17). This command is not just for good leaders. But even for the evil ones as well. For when we pray for them, God will make us succeed in all that we do. God promised the Israelites to pray for the leaders and the country which they will be captive in (Jeremiah 29:7). What of us who aren’t in captivity, and enjoy freedoms the ancient world didn’t have?
We not only are supposed to take our civic duty seriously, call out our leaders when there is injustice, pray for them, but also, we have the responsibility to inform, teach and sensitize the society on what is happening in the nation, and what that may mean to the current and future state of the nation. Christian, you are supposed to do this peacefully following the rule of law. We are not to protest, demonstrate or picket. Ours is to behave nobly as our Lord did when they torched him and brutally hanged him on the cross by nails for yours and mine sake (Romans 12:18).
Yes, it should concern me.
All in all, should it concern us? Yes, it should. You should know the political situation of your country. If need be, you can be involved and be a player, and you might bring that fresh, clean breath we all need whether or not you win or lose elections. All these said, Christian, God is our final authority. So long as the law of the land does not contradict his laws, we will obey, if it doesn’t let us be bold enough and say as Martin Luther said I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I can do no other, so help me God. Amen.