Pastor James Ng’ang’ a of Neno Evangelism is one man the media can’t keep off of. He is as controversial as he is a comedian. More than a handful of times, the televangelist has graced our TV screens for all the wrong reasons – and the media can’t get enough of him.
The hawker-turned-pastor is revered and loathed with the same measure. On one hand, we have his followers; people who deify the arrogant-speaking pastor to a point of calling him ‘dad.’ This cohort is in his church every Sunday and won’t budge even when he threatens to chop off their manly parts. On the other side, we have the self-righteous Kenyans meeting on Twitter and social places and abhorring his methods.
Maybe you and I fall in the latter group. But are we better than the pastor? Are we righteous enough to cast stones towards the ‘man of the cloth?’ In the court of public opinion, the man deserves thousands of electric volts passing through his body. But if we were all stripped bare, how many ills do we harbor in our endeavor to climb corporate ladders and carve a better life for ourselves? Or better yet, how many times have we looked away while these ills were carried out?
Every Day is a Good Day to Loot in Kenya
The string of corruption and impunity cases awash on our TV screens is worrying. Every day, public coffers are siphoned dry, public hospitals pharmacies are emptied into private pharmacies, children are studying in roofless classes, patients are dying on KNH’s corridors, innocent people are dying at the hands of police officers, innocent university girls are dying in the backseats of politicians’ vehicles, and many other ills ravage our society.
A day is not complete, in Kenya, before stories of stolen funds, harassed citizens or murdered people fill our screens. The situation is ubiquitous – these stories are all over the world. However, the systems mandated to protect the common Kenyan are dysfunctional (if not nonexistent). Stories of mass shootings and men-of-color being segregated are common in the US – but you know what makes us different, our systems partake in the same ills they need to protect us from.
Every crop of leaders we elect evolves to be worse than the last. Which leads me to wonder, what would make you (the reader) different as a leader? Would you propagate the same ills we see in public offices? Would you look the other way when the ills are meted on Kenyans?
We are All Sinners
While we can point a finger at Pastor James Ng’ang’ a and express our loathe as much as the 40 characters of Twitter allow, we are not saints. Either we have engaged in some of the ills that will see the world to its deathbed – that water bottle you threw through the window of your moving car, that bloated budget you gave your boss for signing, that neighbor’s kid you watched go hungry the whole day, and so many other smaller sins you may be part of.
Why do we – the self-righteous among us – always see Pastor Ng’ang’ a as evil? My guess is because we are not party to the kind of ills he practices. He runs a business that some of us feel should not be a business but a place to honor God. If you have been in Nairobi or any major town in Kenya long enough, you would be forgiven to think almost everyone you don’t know is evil.
Are Kenyans inherently evil?
We are living in troubled times. The world is becoming faster paced. Kenya seems to be just joining in on the race. The frantic rush to belong has left nothing to be desired of our good old hospitality. To be where we need to be, we trample on anyone and anything that stands on the way. We take jobs we darn well don’t deserve only to deliver crap.
There is a belief that some people are born noble and pure – goodness runs through their veins like blood. The same goes for evil – there is a belief that some people are born ignoble and impure – they wear malice and badness like skin. Is it that the latter are inherently evil? Is this latter group defining the face of Kenyans? Are we worth more than what we are seeing every day in the media? If you won the contract to build the controversial Kimwarer Dam, would you carry out the entire project without embezzling a shilling? Would you?
We are more inhumane today than we were a few years ago – these are not my words, watch the 7 a.m. news today. Have you, in the recent past, devalued another human being? You need not be vocal about how you feel towards other people; it is your heart and what it feels about your drunkard neighbor. It is the feeling you get when you walk past someone you loathe.
Yes, politicians have done their fair share of ills. But, what about us, the keyboard warriors? What changes are we making by starting cold wars on the streets of Facebook and Twitter? How different are we from Pastor James Ng’ang’ a if all we do is fight other communities on Twitter and Facebook? If we follow evil orders, can we claim to be the good Kenyans? Are we good because we are missing out on the chance to be evil?
And why are we worried that a Kenyan will send Safaricom to an early Telco grave? Is it because Kenyans are evil? Or do we all harbor a mini-Pastor-Ng’ang’ a in our Kenyan bones? And oh, this piece has nothing to do with the Bible or religious beliefs.