• The idea of praying our problems away is a fallacy propagated by self-serving leaders
In Kenya and most of Africa, politics has become more radicalised than ever. It is an ‘us versus them’ mentality. I cannot say how many times I have written an opinion column that was well balanced and neutral only to be called out for favouring one camp over the other. I have said this many times and will continue to shout it out loud as long as I have breath in my lungs: the only camp I side with are the people, the regular mwananchi.
African leaders have normalised political positions as the threshold for power and accumulation of wealth. We have completely forgotten the struggles of the common man, whom we exploit for votes then forget about until the next political campaign. Meanwhile, the said leaders spend most of their time in office, going on television to make big promises that are completely out of tune with the realities of the people. Worse still, they ask us to pray for the bad things to go away.
Those who believe in God know that prayers are good, they give us hope, direction and the will to ease our burdens. But even believers know that prayer is not the answer to socioeconomic problems. If prayers were the answers to all our problems, then clergymen would rule nations, not political leaders. We did not elect politicians to pray over our misfortunes, we elected them to implement solutions that will aid in the well-being of the nation and of course its people.
While leaders kneel down in prayer, young girls and women are being exploited for sex in the coastal towns by foreigners. While we close our eyes and raise our hands to the heavens above to wash our sins, farmers are staring blankly at their barren and drought-ridden lands. Meanwhile, politicians are making a spectacle out of the disasters that are facing the common man. They make the poor believe that the drought and famine are God’s will and the harder we pray, God will absolve us of these problems.
The funny part is, we have been conditioned to believe that any questions or qualms we raise about these prayer sessions are blasphemous. That we cannot simultaneously believe in God and man’s ability to find innovative solutions to natural disasters.
Enough is enough! We have had enough of the facade and ridiculousness of politicians and leaders. God might be all powerful, but he made man competent enough to take care of himself. Isn't there a great saying that says, “God helps those who help themselves?”
There are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of specialists in each field and sector of our country. Why can’t we catch up with technology by enlisting the help of young people with innovative solutions? Must we always blame nature for everything? Administrative offices are lagging in their duties as their leaders are busy insulting each other on national television. Meanwhile, no one is enforcing the law as criminals are getting away with reprehensible deeds.
Alas! We have placed our fate in the hands of those who believe that prayers are the only solutions we need. That some things are God’s will. We are in a bus, headed for a fatal crash, nobody wants to steer us away, nobody wants to slam on the brakes or even jump out of the moving bus, but everyone wants to scream, “Jesus take the wheel!”