By Mugeni Okuku
It’s with a heavy heart that I write to you this letter for if I may borrow from John the Baptist I am not worthy to even undo your shoelaces. I am just a sinner counting on God’s Grace to save me. I admire the work you are doing for God’s Kingdom.
I write in regard to the recent media reports that you led a section of Pastors to state house to congratulate the president on his election victory on the just concluded elections. While in itself it wasn’t a bad gesture, my attention was drawn to the statement that you made to the effect that this was the “most peaceful election ever”. It is this statement that really grieved my heart. Throughout the campaign period the media was awash with stories of torture, kidnappings and deaths attributed to state operatives.
We had close to 100 people who died as a result of riots following the arrest of one of the presidential candidates. I must admit that election day was calm but elections are not limited to election day. Alot of violence took place in full view of the whole world with senior minister publicly saying the police and other security organs had orders to shot to kill.
We have many people incarcerated in both gazetted and ungazatted places. Some of them appearing in court in visibly sorry state as a result of torture.
It’s against this background that my heart grieved when I read the statement attributed to you.
As my heart was grieving I remembered the words of the German sociologist and economic theorist Karl Marx who said religion was the opium of the people.
I have reflected on his statement and I am conflicted on whether to believe him or not. What has kept me from believing him is the thought that God sent his only son to die for our sins.
In the good old days people used their positions to advocate for social justice but alas today as long as we are insulted from injustice we don’t care what happens to others.
The people being persecuted my be the “wretched of the earth” but we have a duty as believers to stand up for them. In John 10:10 we are told that all may have life in it’s fullness. Not some but ALL.
A prominent Lutheran pastor in Germany – Martin Niemoller famously wrote:
First they came for th socialists and I did not speak out – because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the Trade unionist and I did not speak out – because I was not a Trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews and I did not speak out – because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak for me.
It’s my sincere prayer that as believers we stand up for those in trouble least the words of Mathew 25:42-46 will come to haunt us (For I was hungry, and you didn’t feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn’t give me a drink. 43 I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite me into your home. I was naked, and you didn’t give me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’).