Jesus Wouldn’t Be Jesus If He Was Kenyan

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I read an excellent piece by the Nation’s Rasnah Warah this week titled, ‘If Jesus was Kenyan, he wouldn’t wear a beard or open-toe sandals’.

Channeling the granddaddy of Kenyan satire Wahome Mutahi alias Whispers, Warah, with comic aplomb, speculated on how Christ’s life would have panned out had he been born Kenyan. One of the beauties of online publishing is that feedback is instant.

Not everyone gets satire and this was evident in the comment stream for Warah’s piece. Some chose to attack Warah for taking liberties with Biblical facts (FYI Jesus was not Kenyan!) while others – I kid you not – decided to pick a Kenyan tribe for Jesus that would best explain his circumstances in Warah’s piece.

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Yes folks have no doubt about it, if this comment stream was anything to go on, Jesus’ Kenyan tribe does matter. According to most of the comments, depending on his tribe, Jesus would either be a victim or a villain of Kenya’s system of predatory economics. He would either be a motor-mouthed televangelist auctioning away his miracles on the cheap or a never-do-well politician with a briefcase party angling for State House as ‘the chosen one’.

I’ve given this some thought and I think I know where these people who want to pin a Kenyan tribe on Jesus are coming from. In a country as morally ambiguous as our own, it’s tempting to believe that the ‘system’ would have corrupted even an unassailable symbol of moral purity such as Jesus. In other words, for whatever reason, some us feel Jesus caught a lucky break by not being a citizen of this republic. There goes Jesus, Son of God, but for the grace of not being born Kenyan.

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Speaking of tribe, this week half of the headlines in the local press captured the ongoing carnage in South Sudan. Africa’s youngest republic is in the throes of civil war thanks to bickering political (read tribal) factions who refuse to put their nation’s interests ahead of their own.

One of the most illuminating pieces I’ve read about what’s happening in South Sudan is an interview given by Mabior Garang, the son of the late SPLA leader John Garang, to New Vision press. Mabior does a lot of headline worthy finger wagging in the interview but the most interesting takeaway for me was the part Kenya and other East African countries had played in the lead up to all of this.

According to Mabior, a South Sudanese Governor, had previously warned President Salva Kiir that the profligate habits of the country’s leadership enabled by East African countries were fomenting trouble;

“We have all failed including us seated here together with you in government. It is only our children who are going to study in good schools in East Africa. When we fall sick we are air lifted out of the country. It’s our children who are eating ice cream. The children of the local people are not eating ice cream. Let us all sit down and have a dialogue and see how to resolve the leadership crisis and see how we can move forward.”

Right from get-go, South Sudan was a bastardised replica of the Kenyan republic right down to the flag and national anthem. We were supposed to help this young country work out the patterns of a functioning republic. We might not be the best example but, in this neighborhood, we’re all they’ve got.

If the stories of the mansions in Runda and Lavington are true, instead of hand-holding South Sudan we’ve played a part in helping its leadership ferret away its wealth. As you read the screaming headlines and the harrowing tales from South Sudan this week, know that some of this blood is on us.

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This week’s story of government excess comes to us courtesy of State House Spokesman Manoah Esipisu. This paper broke a story this week that revealed how the State House Spokesman had written to several ministries requesting that they contribute between one to six million shillings for “Showcasing The Jubilee Government Agenda”.

Yes, you read that right folks, Jubilee wants Ministries to use your taxes for their partisan agenda. This has Moi era redux written all over it because it harkens back to the days when MPs and Ministers had to follow Moi to every Harambee and give their contributions.

Given how plainly wrong this is, you would think ministries would be fighting it but instead, some like Energy PS Joseph Njoroge have written back to Esipisu expressing their eagerness to further the party cause. In fact Njoroge said that his Ministry would be pushing parastatals under it to make their own contributions.

“We have also written to the parastatals under this ministry to make contributions towards achieving your request for Sh4,363,250. By a copy of this letter, the CEOs of these parastatals are requested to expedite and make good the commitment,” read Njoroge’s reply.

All this is made worse by the fact that Esipisu wasn’t working on a shoe string to begin with. The country’s seven State Houses and lodges have a budget of Sh1.8 billion. So what to make of the government’s PR fundraiser? One answer comes from a recent poll by Steadman Synovate which puts the percentage of Kenyans that are unhappy with the Jubilee government as high as 57 per cent.

It appears Esipisu has realised that it’s much easier to say things have gotten better than to actually make them so.

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Apologies but I am contractually bound to make this joke. An honest Kenyan politician, a truthful preacher, a kind lawyer and Santa Claus were talking when they all noticed a Sh1000 note on the ground.

Who picked it ? Santa Claus of course. The other three don’t exist.

Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.-The Star

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