Uhuru Bible Oath: His Spiritual Contrast from his Father, Jomo Kenyatta
With Kenyans discussing the historical significance of a bible that the president will use to be sworn in for his second term, the focus must turn to whether political spirituality is a genuine belief or it is done for political gains. In this case, President Uhuru Kenyatta argued against taking Holy Communion in an Anglican church during their 100 years celebration. He said that he was conscious of his cardinal (Njue) seeing him taking communion outside of the Catholic Church. This affirmed his commitment to the baptism he received as a child assigning him spirituality under the umbrella of Catholicism.
The conversation about the bible he will use was recently traced back to the bible that his father, Kenya’s first president Jomo Kenyatta used. According to reports and verified historical data, his father used the bible given to him by Pastor Timothy Kamau of Africa Inland Church Kijabe, and the founder of Kenya Christian Broadcasting. According to his Son, Professor Teddy Njoroge Kamau who is also a pastor and journalist, the history of the bible story goes back to the time of Mau Mau rebellion. Thousands of kikuyu men, women and children were detained in several detention centers. The founding pastor of Kijabe and father to pastor Timothy Kamau was appointed under Africa Inland Mission to head the evangelistic chaplaincy to the detainees.
Pastor Johanna as he was called would leave Kijabe mission church where he was the first African pastor and travel by train from kijabe town to manyani prison which is located 200 miles east of Nairobi towards Mombasa. He would spend days going from one shed to the other (kiugo in kikuyu). On his first assignment, the Mau Mau detainees refused to come out of their sheds. Before they could be forced out, Pastor Johanna who was born in 1885 and was an expert in Kikuyu culture and tradition insulted them in kikuyu, “Kai mure arume a muthemba ureko? Jamba ne kuonana nganja igathira!” (What kind of men are you. Warriors face each other to remove any doubt of strength). To these words, they all came out and from then allowed Johanna to preach to them in their sheds. According to a diary kept by the pastor, there were thousands of men divided into 400, 300, and 100. Also women and in contrast to the British propaganda, Johanna records hundreds of children present at manyani prison.
Johanna also had the privilege of ministering to Jomo Kenyatta during his imprisonment in Kapenguria. But it is his son pastor Timothy Kamau whose radio program became source of encouragement and spiritual comfort for the prisoner who would become Kenya’s father of the nation. According to Current president Uhuru Kenyatta, his father used to put them in the car on Sunday afternoon when he was in Gatundu. He would take them for a drive to enjoy nature and listen to Pastor Kamau’s program on VOK every Sunday at 3pm, Wimbo Niupendao. This program was voted the most listened to program in Kenya together with the news programs.
According to LBJ leaky, the renowned Kenyan anthropologist and father to Richard Leakey, Jomo Kenyatta became born again under the Scottish mission. Leakey writes in his book ‘ Kikuyu of Kenya’ that Jomo Kenyatta was a devoted born again protestant. And according to Pastor Timothy Kamau in his memos, he wrote that when a catholic priest went to visit Kenyatta after being released from prison and becoming Kenya’s first prime minister, Kenyatta informed him that he was a born again protestant and therefore would not go for mass. He however told the priest that he can have his wife Ngina and the children. It is this reason why Uhuru Kenyatta followed many of the Kenyatta family members to become a firm catholic. His father remained a strong Presbyterian though he was not a constant church goer.
Uhuru’s spiritual journey is therefore not superficial but an authentic and genuine following after the tradition of his father who believed that the republic of Kenya was not going to survive without people committing themselves to the saving grace of Christ. He believed that the church had a major role to play in Kenya’s education and moral development. It is for this reason his administration partnered with churches to encourage schools like Alliance high School and many catholic schools, offering them government sanctioned teachers. This relationship still stands today and supplements the need for education in Kenya.
Jomo Kenyatta personally gave the National Christian Council of Kenya free access to Voice of Kenya. He also personally gave pastor Timothy Kamau free airtime on VOK, personally ordering the increase of time for his program Wimbo Niupendao. According to Uhuru Kenyatta, Christian music is deep in his blood and forms his spiritual DNA. In taking the bible and asking for prayers, Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta is genuinely requesting for God’s grace as he takes the second oath of office.
BBN Radio and Television