Today I drove my dad to a National Prayer breakfast. This is an event usually attended by dignitaries from within and abroad. Ambassadors, international business men, locally established tycoons and filthy rich politicians. Even the president himself never misses this occasion. Here he meets the people who call the shots in the economy, the people he must stoop to if he wants to lead a financially stable and peacefully country.
You might be wondering whether I am my dad’s driver. No, I am not. This is the only golden opportunity I have ever got to, to coming close to the powerful and mighty. I had to come, there is no way I could miss this so I gave his driver a technical leave. A leave I am sure he signed gushing unspoken curses.
According to the invitation card, dad’s only job was to prepare a 5 minutes prayer. The contents of which were to include a prayer for the nation, the presidency and the people in that order, a prayer for a stable economy, prosperity and peace among the people in that order. A guideline whose contents according to my interpretation were probably written by a lay person filled with wants and demands from the supernatural being. Nothing mentioning thanks giving. In all the jargon and vocabulary used how could he forget all the similes for thanksgiving? Appreciation, gratitude, approval, blessing, Asante… I wonder!
That aside, the breakfast is over and I leave disgusted and dissatisfied. Curse me not for leaving a prayer function all wound up. My intentions for meeting the rich and powerful might have been sinful in the first place; even tricking dad’s driver into an unwarranted leave is no holly act. But what happened here is detrimental and absolutely unforgivable. I am not at ease and my heart is troubled. I fell like my country has blasphemed and the supernatural might punish us all for this. Our president led us in a function which our creator was called upon, provoked and laughed upon.
Restricting the man of cloth, Lord’s representative in this sinful world, to a misguided prayer request was wrong. Talking politics in a prayer event aired live in national television networks is another mistake. A religious leader is trained on how to speak to the creator; he knows the nation’s need, weaknesses and wishes. The best you can do is adding to his list and not limiting him or her to your specific personal needs. How can an officer seated in a comfortable chair at Harambee house know the needs of Amina who lost her husband in Thika Road blast because some rogue sheik told him the story of 40 virgins? How could this man know how grateful Wambui is her son finally got the president’s attention and was appointed to head a commission? … And many more!
The sermon was short, hardly lasting 5 minutes, then speeches started; political aggravations, dividing the already divided nation. Speaker after speaker their mouth was so filled with vile and bile. If the previous speaker talked of the other political party the next talked of the other tribe. Because the other speaker had already hurled abuses to the west, the next boos poor Kenyans complaining of the president’s move to pay a corrupt deal and then the tribal appointments. It is a prayer meeting man!
And just as the event comes to an end they move to form clusters; business, political or ethnic defined. Here as I mentioned earlier the rich and mighty meet. The small fish run to the mighty to cut deals, to acquaint themselves with the rich and to present their bright ideas on how together they can swindle the taxpayer unnoticed. Trust me they are necessary in these kinds of meetings because the mighty are too lazy and dump to think for themselves. They love signing checks and wiring money but can never sit down to strategize on how to earn clean money from legitimate investments.
My dad, the other priest and I cannot avoid but look at them with loath and be repentant as we remain glued to our seats totally left out. The Sheik and the Kaya Elder too remain secluded afraid to join us because of our differences in matters faith. We are not moneyed, we do not have political influence and are chained by the morals values of our faith that forbids us from getting lured into corrupt schemes, yet we cannot leave. The dignitaries have to finish up and leave first. Just wait, wait and watch, wait and listen till when they are all done and happy.