White stripes and shield were added to Kenya's flag after independence to signify peace - and the willingness to defend that hard-fought liberty
Heartbreaking violence followed the last Kenyan election. Much has changed since but the world is watching closely as the country votes on Monday, reports one of our partners.
The Kenyan elections, postponed from last year, are due on 4 March.
The world is watching, having been taken by complete surprise by the violence that erupted in some parts of the country after the last election in 2007. Thousands died, hundreds of thousands lost their homes.
One trigger for this eruption was that many believed the election had been ‘stolen’ by various illegal practices such as deliberate miscounts and ballot box stuffing. One local joke was that many voters, now dead, were more vigorous than when they had been alive!
Some people in our area have already left their recent homes and moved back to their tribal heartlands, fearing a repetition.
Yet hopes are high that this time, there will be a peaceful process and transition of power.
The situation is complex, and multi-factorial. These elections would test any electorate, anywhere in the world, as votes will be cast for candidates for six elective positions, including President, Senator, National Assembly and County Governor.
Kenya has a new Constitution, which has established 47 counties with substantial local governmental powers, and has created new and untried institutions.
But, old power blocs continue to vie for dominance: former rivals within the political elite have taken their parties into surprising coalitions.
One such is that of Uhuru Kenyatta, a Kikuyu who has forged an alliance with William Ruto, a Kalenjin.
All previous Presidents have been either Kikuyu or Kalenjin, two of the Big Five tribes that have dominated Kenyan politics since Independence.
Since much of the previous violence in North Rift was between their two tribes, this coalition has massively reduced local tension, for which we give thanks!
However, opinion polls suggest that this party is neck and neck with that of its main rival, led by Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka, who are Luo and Kamba, representing two others of the Big Five.
Points for prayer
- that unsuccessful candidates accept defeat gracefully
- that in the likely event of there being a run-off vote for President, candidates calm their supporters rather then incite them
- that unemployed and desperate youths – of whom there are many, particularly in the slums – don’t riot and rampage
- that tribal elders don’t call out their militias
- that the police promptly attend call-outs and don’t over react
- that Al-Shabaab – an offshoot of Al Qaeda – is prevented from further attacks in the border regions
- that the Mombasa Revolutionary Council are similarly restricted
Another partner in Nairobi, offers this prayer for Kenya, saying, "For now, whoever their favoured candidate, the vast majority of those I speak to are prayerfully optimistic that the winner of this election will be Kenya."
A prayer for the elections:
Lord of our Nation, King of Creation
Blow the wind of your Spirit across our land in this season of elections:
A Spirit of wisdom to guide our choosing;
A Spirit of Hope for a new tomorrow;
A Spirit of love, for those with whom we differ;
A Spirit of justice to defend the poor and needy.
In defeat, makes us gracious.
In victory, makes us generous.
And in all things, unite us in your Son, Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace.