Friday, October 26, 2007

debut blunders

When former Arch Bishop (now cardinal designate) Njue was appointed by the pope some time this month, i got a call from a very unlikely source. it was a writer with nation business daily. i had known him before at a friendship level. but this time when he called he told me it was purely business. he wanted to know the reaction of a staunch catholic at the occasion of Kenya getting her second cardinal. Well i said it was a great thing but appointment of cardinals was a prerogative of the pope in rome just as ministers were appointed by the president. but he wanted to know the significance and whether that would excite catholics and rejuvenate the faith in kenya. i said that i was not sure. but i wanted to compare Njue with the late Michael Cardinal Otunga. the church in kenya has been following on the beatification of the late cardinal and faithfuls have been asked to report any incidences of successful intercessions (prayers answered after praying through the late cleric) i hear a number have been reported so far. but why have kenyans even tried to do that? because Otunga was unique and fiercely religiuos. we remember him at uhuru park together with muslims burning condoms, we remember his rigid stand against any form of abortion, stand against rights abuses and so on. but we also remember that Otunga was a rare kenyan breed who not only corrected Moi in the pastoral letters but also on his face. he was not the type to juggle issues and double speak. so how different was the new cardinal? Kenyans still did not know his firm stand on moral issues. we only knew his stand on political issues. in any case he had shown more than once his partisan stance. so i concluded to my caller that Kenyans may not find as much excitement on his appointment as what Otunga used to generate and it remained to be seen if kenyans would hold him in such a high esteem.

on telly the same day, Njue did not disappoint me. he was there on his first public appearance declaring his stance on an emotive and divisive issue as majimbo. one would have thought that he would have given it more thought or addressed it more soberly. after all majimbo was never contentious and was in all the 3 draft constitutions including the wako draft which the catholic fathers told us at that time to support

He however repeated it yesterday flanked this time by other catholic fathers. according to him, kenya needs to grow up first as a united nation before thinking of majimbo. question is, how long is old enough. kenya is 43 years old already and we are worse off than in '63. and again what is a united nation to me and you? what does a united nation mean? as at now if you are in marakwet, or turkana, you cannot believe you are in kenya. similarly if you are from nairobi's western side, and you happen to visit mwingi, you would not believe you are touring the same country. but why? cause of skewed resource allocation.

the bishops said majimbo will bring tribalism. ok i know these bishops lead a very sheltered life and they probably dont know that majimbo will not bring tribalism, coz tribalism has been here for very long and it has become worse. we see it everywhere, in jobs, churches, trade, campaigns resource allocation etc. am told even when kenyans go abroad they still stick to their tribesmens and women only and in the US of A , certain cities are know to have only certain tribes. Even the dishing out of districts is glaringly tribal. in fact the next best thing would be to turn these tribes , into administrative units. the BEE and affirmative action in south africa can loosely be termed as official tribalism.

so i was disappointed at cardinal's first public announcement. instead of hitting at majimbo, i think we were better off talking about tribalism and giving practical examples of how to tame the vice now instead of scare mongering. But churches have always avoided talking against tribalism. the only pastor i swa boldly attacking the vice was the same old pastero of the House of grace church.

However during the debate in newsline yesterday, the two former commissioners gave majimbo debate a very sober approach and they suggested that kenyans address the fears that the majimbo debate generates so that we can adopt it since according to them, majimbo was currently the best and only way to ensure equitable distribution of our national resources


  1. I attended 8am Mass at Holy Family said by Fr. Maloba Wesonga on 21/10/07, and in his sermon he was so categorical that Catholicism has always been run in a system equated to Majimbo. In addition he said the idea that it has not been tried in Kenya does not mean its not practicable.
    Reading between the lines you can see that "maybe" yesterday's statements by Njue was some sort of coercion from some quarters.
    Now Njue was speaking as if majority of Kenyan Catholics had been consulted and given there opinions.
    Why was it so necessary to call the press conference, and yet during the '05 referendum they did not do the same.
    I would have wished the statement to have read "WE CATHOLIC LEADERS" and NOT "WE CATHOLICS" coz the former excludes me and the latter includes me.

    Blunder indeed


  2. it really doesnt matter what the cardinal says. people will ignore them the way they way they did in 2005.


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