Makau Mutua is an interesting writer with the Standard Newspaper. His articles have historically brought controversy to issues ranging from culture to politics in Kenya. Though interesting, many of his articles degenerate into childish intellectualism and personal attacks. However, it is always interesting to read other people’s opinions.
In his recent article titled, ‘queries about one’s religion during job interview is illegal’ (standard online 7 may 2017), he digresses into matters religion, a field that he clearly has no authority or intellectual awareness to comment on. The sad thing is, knowing this handicap, he fails to write a disclaimer, which is required of any intellectual writing acknowledging this handicap and thus becoming ‘humble’ in his writing. Therefore, in seeking to make a case, he digresses again into intellectual nothingness. And in reading, one wonders whether he is an Atheist undercover.
In the spirit of full disclosure, let me say that all my writings are guided by my study of philosophy, theology, and apologetics. It is important to disclose, though this is not hard to gather from my works, that I am a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ as savior and Lord, and a priest within the ecclesia of Yesu Kristo. When I read the article by Makau Mutua, this statement intellectually angered me. “In fact, Prof John Mbiti, one of Kenya’s academic giants – the world renowned religious philosopher – famously wrote in his seminal 1969 book African Religions and Philosophy, “Africans are notoriously religious”. This statement was meant to lie to the reader that Makau has read John Mbiti’s works and could with authority quote him and use him to affirm his myopic conclusion on the issue he was presenting regarding religion and the Kenyan constitution. Makau Mutua has never studied Mbiti’s works.
Let me say that I studied John Mbiti, his life and works. My 1994 work, ‘the foundation of the African Idea of God: a Philosophical Analysis and critique from a Christian Perspective’ is reference material in more than 20 seminaries and found in 15 libraries worldwide. (Google Teddy Njoroge Kamau). In the works, I dedicated one whole chapter to the religious philosophy of John Mbiti. Makau Mutua in sighting John Mbiti sought to say that the preamble in Kenya’s constitution that declares, Kenyans, ‘ACKNOWLEDGING the supremacy of the Almighty God of all creation,’ is misguided. In fact he declares in utter childish arrogance that the drafters of the constitution were overcome by, “a momentary frenzy of religious zealotry.”
Such a statement tells me that Makau Mutua is a non-religious bigot who is driven, at least in this article, by his disgust that Kenyans can dare believe in God! But Kenyans do believe in God. In fact, John Mbiti, who is more of a religious biographer than philosopher, makes a case in the book quoted by Mutua that Religion is in the DNA of the African people. This is the same conclusion reached by Boraji Idowu, and is specifically argued by Jomo Kenyatta in his book, Facing Mt Kenya. (Read my works quoted above). It is on the basis of this historical fact that the drafters of the Kenyan constitution made it constitutional for every part Kenyan society be cognate of the existence of Divine Principle as the creator, sustainer and consummator of what is!
If God is part of the preamble in our constitution, it follows that Kenyans (Citizens) are bound by the preamble within all functions. Mutua argues blindly that the drafters of the constitution did not mean all Kenyans. Yet the preamble does not exclude, rather, it is mutually inclusive of all. Therefore, to argue that asking one’s religion in an interview is illegal is to ignore the fact that to know one’s religious affiliation is to affirm the harmonious orientation of one’s nationalism while performing their duties. There is nothing illegal about religion or asking one about their religious affiliations. What is un- constitutional is to discriminate against a person on the basis of their religious adherence!
Finally Mutua quotes article 8 of the constitution, which deals with the establishment of religion as prohibiting religious belief. Again Mutua is lost in his argument and shows his ignorance. You see, prohibiting establishment of religion does not mean prohibiting religion. Article 8 does not erase the preamble. What it does is forbid a Church of England scenario where a particular denomination ordains the queen and thus the government.
I urge Makau Mutua to read my work, ‘Reconstruction of an African idea of God: A Philosophical Analysis and Critique from a Christian Perspective.’ This will open his eyes to TRUTH.
Teddy Njoroge Kamau (PhD)
CEO BBN TV Kenya (EMG)
Diaspora Messenger Senior Columnist