Dear Kenyans...... The 17th edition of the #NationalPrayerBreakfast may have ended a complete failure, despite local and international attendance
The 17th edition of the #NationalPrayerBreakfast may have ended a complete failure, despite local and international attendance of politicians, a president and diplomats from across the globe.
How #PrayerBreakfast2019 failed its promise:
As an annual “spiritual” occasion, and in the belief, that there is power in prayer and in joining with people of faith with same intentions. The #NationalPrayerBreakfast designed to pray [AND give thanks] for national gains, and more specifically with this years’ #PrayerBreakfast2019 theme; The Dawn of a New Nation were as timely, as it was appropriate.
Coming at a time, when the nation is reeling from heartbreaking governance concerns, when as a people, Kenyans, continue to look for answers to the numerous afflictions … growing culture of violence, climate change, unjustifiable famine ….. and so on …all which instill nation corroding pain.
A background which urges the importance for Kenyans to pray fervently for a spiritual awakening of our national values. An awakening, the
#PrayerBreakfast2019 failed to stimulate.
The #PrayerBreakfast2019, failed to inspire a …. sense of urgency … and energy … an an awakening in public life, and in the general population. A need desperately required. The promise of The Dawn of a New Nation presented nothing new. Neither the singing, nor cleverly nuanced political prayers, and speeches which were attempted exercises in eloquence [by politicians] were new.
I suspect the #PrayerBreakfast2019 will be one we look back on with profound regret and acknowledge that we were on the wrong side of history. The days’ events merely seemed to lull [any discerning] Kenyan into a sense of comfort with song and prayer. And glossed over the fundamental challenges of this country.
God Requires more – I think!
While prayer is a necessity, as we inquire God for guidance, much as we pray, yet if we back off and fail to make the efforts to resolve the problems – using AVAILABLE instruments of good governance. the prayer is in futility.
In reality, it only firms-up the existing perception of ~ talk and no substance ~ leaving the nations’ corroding pain unfazed. Among deep concerns, the fight against corruption still remains a vivid painful blister.
“… we live in such a tangible world.. AND ……Governments are meant to be about delivery … nations look for the fulfillment of promises…”
What Rescued the Day
Lord Michael Hasting, returning for a second year, his well grounded refreshing insights, presented with an infectious sense of humor spoke to our hearts and minds. He saved the national occasion of #PrayerBreakfast2019 from being a mockery – Prayer, and yet, no complimenting ACTION.
As keynote speaker, he elevated the occasion [and nudged the political leadership] to serve a “higher purpose.” Quoting Martin Wolf he pointed out that , “… we live in such a tangible world.. AND ……Governments are meant to be about delivery … nations look for the fulfillment of promises…”
In the quote, which captured, ONE of the Kenyas’’ MOST URGENT expectation. …Action …Action…. …Action .. in the fight against the runaway corruption.
Presidents’ Speech – #PrayerBreakfast2019UhuruChallenge
While His Excellency, President. Uhuru Kenyatta prayer was far TOO short, and squandered an opportunity to engage with destiny. He however challenged, those in attendance “….we can sing from the roof tops, but all our people want of us is to DO WHAT WE SAY …..”
A curious gloss over a series of thorny questions, such as corruption, and for which Kenyans require practical solutions to their afflictions from his government. At what point should we stop appeasing – and implicitly condoning – this failure by the elected leadership to fight for the country’s national values and principles. Where do we draw the line?
History teaches us of the danger of being afraid to speak truth to power, and the risk of failing to defend our national values from inept leadership. At this challenging time, when a “culture of violence and corruption” is gaining a foothold in Kenya, it’s more important than ever, that we remember that lesson.
Bench-marking Anti-Corruption Agenda
Confident bench-marking [a often ab-used word] needs no introduction, we share anti-corruption lessons from the Actions of the President and government in Republic of Peru.
Shared below is an outline, in the belief, Decide, whether the Kenya government lackluster approach to tackling corruption is calculated and deliberate.
Peter Ouma Muga
Where Anti-corruption Is A Centerpiece Of Government Agenda – PERU Example
President Martín Vizcarra
President Martin Vizcarra has made anti-corruption the centerpiece of his government.
He was Vice President, until President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, who was less than two years into a five-year term, resigned rather than face impeachment over corruption allegations. Upon being sworn in, Vizcarra stated in regards to corruption, “we’ve had enough”, and promised to lead the fight against corruption.
Brief Pointers on Anti-corruption Record
- His political career has avoided corruption issues, an achievement The Washington Post described as “one of the rare examples” in Peru. Peruvian author and Nobel laureate in Literature, Mario Vargas Llosa, stated that Vizcarra’s “credentials are pretty good” and that although other Peruvian politicians have faced political controversy, Vizcarra “has acted within the law”.
- Vizcarra served as Minister of Transportation and Communications, for about one year. During a series of floods in late 2017 and early 2018 which devastated much of Peru, he was tasked with managing the crisis. With allegations of bribery and bureaucracy plaguing the construction of the Chinchero International Airport in Cusco, Vizcarra cancelled many contracts until an investigation by the Comptroller’s Office was completed.
- The Washington Post stated that “Vizcarra’s decisive response to a graft scandal engulfing the highest tiers of the judiciary … has some Peruvians talking of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to restore integrity to public life and revive citizens’ waning faith in democracy”
- Transparency International also praised the move, stating that “This is a very important opportunity, one that is unlike previous opportunities because, in part, the president appears genuinely committed.”
President Martin Vizcarra support for anti-corruption is “visible.“ His governments’ stance [ACTIONS] against a long line of corruption scandals in which four former presidents and the leader of the opposition are implicated in a massive bribery case involving the Brazilian construction Odebrecht is unambiguous.
The government has an unambiguous Prosecution agenda too.
José Domingo Pérez, the Public Prosecutor in Peru
José Domingo Pérez the forty-five year old prosecutor has set an admirable international template, on how to prosecute powerful politicians and former heads of state on corruptions charges.
Samuel Rotta, head of the Peruvian branch of anti-graft group Transparency International, recently singled out Pérez as the face of a generational change, with tech-savvy prosecutors coming of age and taking over from often politically compromised more senior attorneys.
Brief Pointers on Anti-corruption Surge
- He heads a focused search for justice which saw Alan García, the domineering former president of Peru, shoot himself in the head, rather than be taken into custody by police sent to arrest him by José Domingo Pérez, the young prosecutor spearheading his country’s investigations into major kickback scandals involving politicians Odebrecht mega-scandal.
- Odebrecht, the Brazilian company charged with corruption, has admitted paying nearly $800 million in bribes to politicians from Argentina to Mexico to secure massive public contracts, sparking criminal probes in multiple countries. In the United States, where the money flowed through the banking system, Odebrecht settled with the Justice Department for at least $3.5 billion in 2016, thought to be a world record in a corruption case.
- Pérez who has rock-star status in his homeland, has seen people unreservedly cheer him for finally going after a political class long regarded as both deeply corrupt and untouchable. Chanting his name in the streets is not uncommon. Otherwise innovative women declare on Facebook their wish to have his children.
- A devout catholic, Pérez has appeared unfazed, rarely giving interviews. Insists, he is just doing his job. Little surprise, he receives death threats and, for the first time in his 14-year career, requires round-the-clock police protection. “I sleep well at night because I am doing my job well, and I hope that society accepts and understands that this is a long process,” he recently told Peru’s Trome newspaper.
Cynical Public Awaken – nobody is indispensable
Netting Allan Garcia, a Former President, jolted cynical Peruvian public out of a long-held assumption that the justice system turns a blind eye to powerful politicians committing flagrant acts of dishonesty.
By cornering García, regarded by some as the most brilliant orator and political strategist of his generation in Latin America, Pérez had all but completed a full sweep of Peru’s leading political figures.
Indeed, García, was the third ex-president Pérez has targeted. García’s predecessor Alejandro Toledo is in California fighting extradition, while Peru’s most recent president, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, is under house arrest. Both are accused of taking illegal payments from Odebrecht. With his implacable pursuit of the trio, the corruption-busting Pérez has established an international template for how to prosecute former heads of state on graft charges.
Mr. Rotta, heads of local Transparency International chapter however does not regard the prosecutions of former presidents as inevitable. “It’s too early to say that this is the new normal,” he adds.
Back in Kenya – a foggy anti-corruption agenda
Undoubtedly, the Kenyan governments fight against corruption is lackluster, and corruption is eating the Presidents [legacy] Big4 Agenda for lunch.
Confirmed, sadly, during the #PrayerBreakfast2019 when the Kenyan political elite in addition to [repetitive] singing [and meaningless] prayer, jostled to speak about corruption YET failing in legislative oversight and or using available instruments of good governance to fight it.
Validating a long held public perception that a large section of the current elected political leadership in Kenya have surely lost the sense of fear that once inspired a healthy respect for the voters – who placed them in those positions.
Life Abhors a Vacuum:
Failure to learn from the Peruvian example, among others, surely pits this kind of leadership against the Kenyans’ expectation and against destiny. It leaves Kenyans little option, but to continue to seek alternative leadership as “sons of hustlers” will inevitably join the high table providing alternative leadership could become the new normal – as GOD answers the Kenyan prayer for change.