“My concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right.” Abraham Lincoln.
The Alitalia ‘Shepherd one’ plane carrying Pope Francis touched down JKIA at 4.30pm Wednesday, half an hour earlier than expected. His itinerary on the ground perfectly in sync with the programme sent to us. Bang on time and so intricately flawless. The organiser’s ability to ensure his meetings were done with such timeliness is everything ‘African time’ is not about.
I am part of the news team handing coverage of the pope’s arrival, and it has been one of the most interesting events I’ve had to cover. As a financial journalist I have never pictured myself having conversations on TV about the Nuncio, the Nunciature and liturgical vestments such as the Chasuble with a former Swiss Guard and a Reverend father. I brag, because I have packed up more vocabulary in two days than I have in perhaps the last few months. The Catholic faith does come with some incredible jargon.
The pope’s visit comes with a heightened sense of spirituality. Conversations I steered in studio attempted to draw parallels between religion and government, and the role of religion in shaping a country’s path. It was interesting to see Kenyans talking to us on twitter and directly to studio say it was a great time for the country’s leadership as well as ordinary Kenyans to reflect on their roles in creating an environment that fosters peace and unity.
Pope Francis, a man deeply and evidently passionate about youth and family appealed to Kenyans to “Go back home and love your family, if you want to change the world’. How apt, for a generation where the family unit is transitioning to gadget driven relationships, where “Whatsapp’ groups are replacing long dreamy phone calls and coffee dates, E-cakes and E-chocolates are replacing birthday dinners and are killing the art of conversation, which was usually refined over tea and biscuits in our homely homes.
The Holy Father pleaded with Kenyan youth to embrace the tenets of African traditions, which are built firmly on respect and a strong community. The simplicity of the family unit however might not do enough justice to the ability of that small unit to create and foster strong values that last a lifetime. The take home for that was that we must start at the Nucleus if we must change this country. Our children must have integrity and ethics embedded into their DNA if this country is serious about fighting corruption, because it perhaps will take a generational change to hit the reset button.
I also immensely enjoyed conversations about inter-religious dialogue, in which the Pope referred to as a necessity and not a luxury against the backdrop of heightened terrorist attacks across the globe in recent times. It is a conversation that must be deliberately up-scaled to also contain the rise of ethnic profiling which could easily teeter into Xenophobia.
The tone that Pope Francis set at the beginning of his Papacy was consistent in visit in Kenya, as issues on Climate Change, Youth and Poverty were high up in his agenda. The challenge however is whether the Pope’s message will dry up as soon as he takes his Alitalia flight back and when the rains stop pounding. Will Kenya’s now spiritually awakened leaders live up to the prayers of the pope and Kenyans? Human nature dictates that Utopia is a wonderful place to live.
“Pray for me” said President Uhuru Kenyatta to the Pope. I believe it will be a couple of prayer filled days as the religious community in the country will join the pope in praying for him. He and his government badly need a miracle. I will say a prayer for UK as well, I am embarrassed to say that I have never prayed for him, but that’s done now.
Fox News jumped right into the fire after the station aired a news report about the Pope headed into ‘ War-Torn Africa’. Kenyans on twitter, not a group that gets easily bullied once again took the time to put them in their place the ‘#someonetellCNN’ way’. I love Kenyans!
Drum rolls please!! Quite an impressive list of new appointees to state Departments was announced this week. Former Googler Joe Mucheru was appointed Cabinet Secretary of ICT, Former head of Equity Investment Bank Wilson Nyakeira, all of 33 years old was appointed P.S, some interesting names there like Fatuma Hirsi formerly of Nation media Group, Paul Mwangi, former advisor to Kagame on Infrastructure, Zeinab Hussein, Former McKinsey Africa lead & Patrick Mwangi from the World Bank. Someone deserves a bubbly!
Moses Kuria is also spending the weekend in the cells (or is it Karen Hospital), such timing! Missed the pope and the rain, but I see messages circulating online that he has decided against running in Gatundu in 2017. Politics, My friend, in the words of Groucho Marx “ is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.”