Kenya (MNN) — Kenya
is still rejoicing over the adoption of a new constitution. There's a general wave of excitement over what the "birth
of a second republic" will look like.
Dale Dieleman with
Worldwide Christian Schools says their team
is pondering their own future within that picture, with the country at a crossroads. "There's this cautious optimism, and yet I think
they are going to be very observant and still participate in influencing
parliament and wanting to have a voice in that process."
Government reports say that more than 72 percent of
registered voters went to the polls. Those numbers are the strongest turnout for a national vote in Kenya's
A lot was riding on the vote. The Kenyan Church was vocal in
its opposition to certain provisions in the draft, specifically over abortion
on demand, a devolution of power from the presidency, and special conditions
that create Islamic courts.
Dieleman says those issues remain on the table. "Going forward, there are concerns,
because everything hasn't been hammered out to their satisfaction."
Analysts have wondered if the door opening to Islamic courts
might eventually equal a loss of freedom to practice or share the Christian
faith. "The presence of Islamic courts
won't be immediately felt." However, Dieleman says, there is cause for
concern." I think what we have observed in other countries in Africa where
there's been more and more Islamic presence, is that in local elections, in deciding
local issues–particularly concerning the courts and how justice is delivered
and dispensed, we have seen discrimination
against schools, against churches, against Christians in business."
There's still pressure on the politicians to implement the
constitution and maintain peace, especially as the legislation lays ground
rules over land rights issues.
It's too early to make any predictions on impact, but
Dieleman remains hopeful. "I haven't
heard from our partners any major outcry of concern. I think as Kenyans, they
want to be supportive of the government and of the new referendum, especially
going ahead with really being a new country, founded on a new constitution. They
want to be supportive of that."
No one has forgotten the storm of protest following the 2007
national election, in which land rights and tribal politics took center stage. The landslide win gives the government the
mandate they need to get to work on reforming
the post-independence system.
WWCS works with three schools in Kenya: Kameris Christian
School in Alale, Konza Teacher's College in Konza, and the SUD Academy in
Nairobi. Student sponsorships help the
students stay in school, and the schools are growing at a fast pace.
The ministry collaborates with other churches and groups to develop
Christ-centered schools that can sustain themselves. Their vision: to glorify God by ensuring that all children
have access to Christ-centered education. This means eliminating economic and physical barriers. You can help. Click here.