I lost my brother on October 10th 2010. He was 25 years old, in the prime of his life. The bus he was travelling in (Mash) from Kisumu to Nairobi plunged into a stationary lorry that had a mechanical breakdown near Gilgil.

It was raining and foggy, the retarded owner of the lorry didn’t care to put any sign showing that danger was ahead. When the bus driver tried to swerve, he plunged one side of the bus into the lorry. My brother, seated in the first seat became the first casualty. And in a violent manner. The force uprooted his seat, throwing the chair away as his lifeless body went flying out of the bus into the tarmac. When he had landed on the tarmac, a bus ran him over.

While I’m Christian and I believe in the power of prayer, I believe more so in James 2:14-26 which says, “faith without works is dead”. I think it’s backward in the 21st century to send the clergy to cleanse roads when we can actually invest more resources in making our roads safer. We are sending the clergy to pray for accident-free festivities when we had a whole year to fix what has become one of Kenya’s worst black spot?

While those who went to pray might have the right intentions, their priority could be to use their influence to push the government to invest more in making our roads safe from dangerous drivers, clueless pedestrians and mechanically faulty cars. The National Police Service is still considered the most corrupt institution in Kenya according to the East Africa Bribery Index.

But our traffic cops love bribes more than human safety. They would rather arrest you to get a bribe than to avert a looming disaster. NTSA is more concerned about grabbing headlines through outrageous and legally unenforceable proposals than dealing with road carnage.

Our politicians are more concerned with PR than alleviating human suffering. Most of them see human pain as a pedestal upon which their careers can be catapulted to a whole new level. And there lies the problem.

It’s an untold pain to lose a loved one abruptly through a road accident. It’s the kind of pain that can kill a human being. It’s devastating to collect your loved one in a government mortuary when his body is broken in several places while his head is severely damaged beyond recognition.

I still remember the wail my dad gave out when he saw his son’s body, because all along when he was travelling from Kisumu, he was in denial. I remember how he broke down when he saw the lump of flesh that was his son whom he had bid farewell just a few hours ago. I vividly remember, how my mother was crushed, her spirit and soul barely survived the ordeal.

But when death on the road is just mere statistics to you, you may not take it seriously.  Statistics show that most accidents are caused by human error, not demons. But because Kenya enjoys too much religiosity, we always want to find ways to blame the supernatural when we could just use logic to solve some of our problems. Why on earth would God give us a brain not to use? Let’s be a proactive nation, where we move and act than just pray about situations.
Such images of a praying nation really do hurt me. Because we use prayers as a scapegoat & to justify our incompetence and inactivity. If we held leaders more accountable, and our institutions worked, we would not be needing to cleanse any roads.

 Strange fires

A story that is often under preached in the church can be drawn from the book of Leviticus 10:1-2. Aaron’s eldest sons, Nadab and Abihu committed a fatal sin by entering the tabernacle with a profane fire, a common fire, that afforded them no protection. Even though they were the priest’s children, the transgression they had committed was so great that their death was not mourned.

Today, I want to tell Kenyans without mincing my words that the political class is taking us for a ride through their religious activities. National Super Alliance has their set of pastors who issue specific prayers in line with the coalition’s agenda. Jubilee, on the other hand, has accumulated enough clergy who have specific prayers meant to appeal to their ears.

Our country is in deep thick shit. We are almost arriving at the beyond return zone but our collective hard headedness and folly won’t allow us to hit a reverse gear, not just yet. Instead,  we are now drowning in a cesspool of confusion even as we dangle detonation buttons in our hands because that is how much we love our country. We want to destroy it so that we can earn from the proceeds of building it.  Seems like the political class have vowed to drive us to the very edge of destruction.

Dear Kenyans, resist any attempts to use religion to blackmail and confuse the populace. Let’s pray allow e can, but afterwards, we should ask accountability questions.

Author: Dannish Odongo

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