Kenya (MNN) — In the fall-out since Kenya’s tense presidential elections last week, the losing candidate Raila Odinga will challenge the election results in Kenya’s Supreme Court. He made accusations of fraud in the polling process after losing to President Uhuru Kenyatta by 1.4 million votes.
According to The Guardian, some are concerned that Odinga’s refusal to concede defeat to President Kenyatta could lead to more violence as his supporters protest. Already, 24 people have been killed in clashes with police and ethnic groups since the election.
Kenya has a history of mistrust in their democratic processes. Bernice Gatere with Trans World Radio explains, “I think the mistrust comes from the fact that our election seems to be very tribal-based…. There were quite a bit of people that voted based on the achievements of the candidates; but to a larger extent, people still voted according to their tribal lines. And that is what makes this situation tense and volatile because people tend to associate with the candidates from their tribe.”
TWR closed their office in Kenya for two days as they watched the situation, and their reporters on the ground covering the elections stayed in communication. Gatere says that they were kept safe.
As the nation of Kenya has been generally divided along tribal lines, the Christian community hasn’t been unaffected. Gatere says in one of the local churches preached recently from Joshua 5. “Just before Joshua took over Jericho, he found this angel with an outstretched sword and he asked, ‘Are you for us or for our enemies?’… [The angel] told Joshua, ‘I am neither for you nor for your enemy, but as the commander of the Lord’s army, I have now come.’”
She says this passage of Scripture is especially relevant to what the Kenyan Church is asking right now. “We’re finding that even Christians were asking, ‘Is God for us or for our enemies?’ The bishop was preaching and saying that he has gotten very many calls from Christians, some telling him, ‘Our votes have been stolen! What is the Lord saying?’ Others are saying, ‘Thank God [who] is with us, prophecy has been fulfilled!’ And he’s been wondering, ‘How do I minister to these Christians who are all my sheep, but some are going through pain and others are rejoicing?’”
Ultimately, the Kenyan pastor concluded in his sermon that it isn’t about whose “side” God is on. “God is never for you or against you. God is always with you in the situation you are going through.”
Meanwhile, TWR is working to broadcast a positive message across the nation of Kenya. “It’s the message of peace,” says Gatere. “We have already started producing peace messages that we are airing on all our stations, and that is basically calling people to the peace that when the Lord left, he said, ‘My peace I leave with you.’ We are calling on our listeners to extend that peace that they have received from the Lord Jesus Christ to their neighbor.
“We are also asking for people to do practical things. If you have a neighbor who is from another tribe or from the other party that you do not support, make a deliberate effort to reach out to them and show them kindness and do practical things for them so they can experience the love of Christ.”
Right now, you can be in prayer for Kenya and the believers there.
“Pray that as the Body of Christ, [we] would rise above our tribes and see the God who has brought us together, who has loved us equally, irrespective of our tribes.”