- In 2007/8, the church found that the blood of ethnicity was thicker than the blood of Christ, and took sides in the ethnic conflict. The Bible tells us that Jesus Christ once drove out people who were desecrating a holy place. The temple that is Kenya is being desecrated by the unholy alliance between the church and the political class.
In 2007/8, Kenya exploded into ethnic violence. The violence was on such a scale that the ICC determined that it had reached the threshold for crimes against humanity.
After a semblance of sanity was restored, the country vowed to never again to allow itself to sink into such barbarity. And yet incredibly, the same bloodthirsty script is being prepared, page by page, by the same alliance that had written the last one: The alliance of the political class and the church.
This depiction of the church as the unholy accessory to tribalism and ethnic violence may seem farfetched, but a quick review of its history of close association with a tribal, corrupt and oppressive political class will quickly establish its culpability.
In the years following our Independence, the church not only refused to condemn state capture by an ethno-fascist clique, but in fact began to propagate the false religious dogma that leadership came from God.
So, even as critics of the regime were tortured, carted off to detention or brutally murdered, the church would fervently praise God for blessing the country with a God-fearing leadership. Thus Jomo Kenyatta and Daniel Moi, through constant deification, were turned into demigods.
Ali Mazrui, in his essay “The Monarchical Tendency in African Political Culture,” refers to this process as the “sacralisation of political authority.”
In the 1980s and 90s, rebel church men like Timothy Njoya, Alexander Kipsang Muge and Henry Okullu would go against this deification of the political leadership.
To the horror of the church, they began to speak out against the regime’s brutal and rapacious excesses. It was only later that the church would emerge from its hypocrisy and join with other Kenyans to demand an end to the decades-old Kanu dictatorship.
But it would seem this was a brief redemptive moment for the church. Soon, it was back to its old habits. Those who took power in 2002 and again in 2013 were deemed the new God-ordained leaders, and their opponents became the agents of Satan, exorcised from our midst by a new invocation: “Shetani ashindwe!”
As corruption, tribalism and lethargy made a comeback, the church and the political class devised a new way to consecrate their relationship – an annual gathering known as the National Prayer Breakfast, which has now become a major national calendar event.
At these meetings, various politicians and church leaders praise God for blessing us with a pious leadership. Ostensibly meant to pray for the nation, the meetings are in effect part of the deification of political leadership Ali Mazrui had analysed in his paper.
The National Breakfast Prayer has to be the most cynical and the most hypocritical idea ever conceived by a state-church covenant, for at this gathering, lords of all the evils that bedevil Kenya come together to break bread under the sanctity of the church: Lords of corruption, lords of tribalism and hate speech, lords of violence…
As such, the event is immoral, extremely offensive, and a mockery of the teachings of Christ, or Muhammed or Buddha.
Over the past two years or so, various people have warned that, left unchecked, tribalism and its alter ego, hate speech, would only escalate to incitement and an eventual explosion of ethnic violence. No less a person than Chief Justice Willy Mutunga has added his voice to this concern.
And yet everywhere we look, we see church leaders laying their hands on politicians known for their irrational hatred of people who do not belong to their ethnic group. These leaders who have been blessed by the church are now pushing their hate agenda closer to its logical conclusion.