Monday, December 05, 2016

I am my own king

If you believe that Jesus who was the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God, the Prince of Peace, the Son of Man, Emmanuel, the One Who Died for Our Sins, the one whose blood covers us, the one who saved us...I'm getting distracted...if you believe that Jesus Christ is on your side in your political quarrel, stop reading now. If you believe that Jesus Christ has directed you to enter elective politics, please stop reading now. If you are a man of the cloth and believe that Jesus Christ is on your political side and that He has called you to serve Him in political office, please take whatever device you're using to read these blasphemous words to the senior-most man of the cloth you can find and ask him or her to cleanse it and to sanctify it in the name of Jesus Christ.

The First Book of Samuel, at chapter 8, describes how the children of Israel, despondent at how Samuel's sons had disgraced their offices, went to Samuel and begged him to give them a king to judge them as the other nations were judged. Samuel prayed to God who told him that the children of Israel hadn't rejected Samuel but had rejected God Himself. God sent Samuel to warn the people about what a king would be like,
11 And he said, This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen; and some shall run before his chariots. 12 And he will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties; and will set them to ear his ground, and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots. 13 And he will take your daughters to be confectionaries, and to be cooks, and to be bakers. 14 And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your oliveyards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants. 15 And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants. 16 And he will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work. 17 He will take the tenth of your sheep: and ye shall be his servants. 18 And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the Lord will not hear you in that day.
I have seen the most remarkable post about a bishop of the church who wishes to be elected as Kiambu's second governor. The substance of the utterance attributed to the bishop isn't important; it is the usual anti-Raila screed that finds purchase among the political leadership of Kiambu. What I find important is the arrogance of a class that we were (at least those of us who are confessing Christians were) warned about by God Himself purporting to warn us about other kings!

This Kiambu bishop will not be the first man of the cloth to want to lord it over us; Moses Akaranga in Vihiga county has beaten him to the punch as has Mutava Musyimi who represents Mbeere South in the National Assembly. Mr Akaranga has already disgraced himself with his inability to oversee a halfway honest government; Mr Musyimi will forever be remembered for his robust defence of Charity Ngilu, when she was water minister, of accusations that she was corrupt. But it is the arrogance of this bishop to purport to know who among the politicians is to be trusted that takes the biscuit.

I have tried to remind my readers that political action is not a passive activity. If you wish to improve the quality of public services, it is immaterial whether or not you trust your elected representatives; what is material is whether you treat them like the kings they believe themselves to be. So far in our experiment in self-governance, we have treated our Black and coloured elected representatives like kings, fawning and scraping at their feet like servile serfs, grateful for whatever scraps of public service they deign to give us. They exist to be served; we exist to vote and genuflect every time one of them breaks wind.

Our political education will remain incomplete so long as we see elected representatives, especially the ones who cover themselves in the cloth of faith-leaders, as more knowledgeable of our rights, our needs and our desires than we ever could be. As the governed, we have always been told by the ones we elected what we needed whether we needed it or not. It is how we ended up with an airline that we can't run or afford; a cement factory that we can't run or afford; sugar factories that we can't run or afford; publicly-funded banks that we can't run or afford; large dams of doubtful economic or industrial value; and so on and so forth. We have now been told that we need nuclear energy and a standard-gauge railway.  It is our political miseducation that holds us hostage to outdated notions of fealty to tribal and religious kingpins.

Bob Marley sings, "None but ourselves can free our minds" and our mental liberation begins with questioning the reason for the existence of our modern-day kings. I don't mean that shit about servant-leadership that flowered briefly in 2012 and got snuffed out in inane arguments about madimoni. It is about the sovereignty of the people, individually and collectively, to decide their fate without fear or favour. I will be damned if the camouflage offered by the church that was built by the blood of Jesus will enshroud my mind and blind me to the awful truth: God doesn't want me to have a king for I am my own king.

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