Evangelical churches in Kenya held a five-hour long stadium prayer service on Sunday 22 October 2017 calling for peace and God’s intervention in advance of the repeat presidential election this week on Thursday 26 October.
Kenya has been bedevilled by violent protests since the Kenya’s Supreme Court overturned August’s General Election in which President Uhuru Kenyatta was declared winner. The Court cited “irregularities” in the transmission of the results. The opposition leader Raila Odinga, has launched series of protests and strikes since the elections, which have turned violent and led to deaths.
Evangelical clergy at the national prayer meeting called on Kenyans to unite and not to let elections tear the country apart. Teresia Wairimu, a member of the organizing team, quoted from Nehemiah 2:17: “Let us unite and bring the people together. Let us put our differences, divisions and opinions aside and build a nation for future generations.”
President Uhuru Kenyatta, who was in attendance with his deputy, William Ruto, prayed to God for forgiveness and unity among Kenyans.
“I know there are those who chided and criticized me for calling for prayers but I know the power of prayers. I forgive them for failing to understand the power of prayers,” he said. “But the most important thing is for all of us to remember we will still remain Kenyans whether you voted or not,” Uhuru added.
He challenged people not to let politicians divide them. “Your neighbour will remain your neighbour even after the polls and you will continue borrowing each other’s stuff like salt.”
President Uhuru held up a comparison with other African countries: “Our neighbours Somali have been in turmoil.”
Vice President Ruto quoted 2 Chronicles 13: “I know there is anxiety and doubts what will happen after 26 October but I want to assure you that if God did it in 2013, He will do it again,” he said.
Aden Duale, MP from Garissa town and the National Assembly’s Majority Leader, urged, “Christians, Muslims, and other religious faithful to pray for this country and trust that God will deliver this country.”
The event concluded with a prayer for Opposition chief Raila Odinga who has called his supporters to boycott the Thursday elections unless the chief executive of the electoral commission, Ez
ra Chiloba is removed and the electoral body restructured. Chiloba will be away on leave during the election.
Pope Francis, speaking to tourists who gathered for the Angelus prayer on Sunday (22 October) called for constructive dialogue in Kenya. “I am paying close attention in these days to Kenya, which I visited in 2015,” Francis told pilgrims.
The Pope said he was praying “that the whole country might be able to face the current difficulties in a climate of constructive dialogue, having at heart the search for the common good.”
Hassan John is West Africa Edito, GCN and Priest of Anglican Diocese of Jos