But the irony gets worse. These are the same people who suffered many losses in 2007 when politicians became tribal warlords and negotiated sharing power using the lives of their citizens. It doesn’t seem to bother them that over 1,300 people died, 500,000 others were displaced, thousands of women raped, and no one has been called to account.
How do we reconcile that irony in our minds?
When I asked myself if one can beat that “tuko pamoja” logic, I realized that the logic is actually no different than the one we preach in church.
Thanks to evangelical Christianity, we now have a domesticated God who loves us so much, God would do anything for us, include dying on the cross. There is even a painting of a Caucasian Jesus holding some similar-looking girl in what would otherwise be a romantic hug. We’re also told that Christ understands everything we went through; He knows what it means to be human. With Christ, “Tuko pamoja.”
And that’s the same logic which Kenyans employ in politics. Sonko boxes metal sheets and hurts his hands, climbs over gates, rolls on the ground like a lunatic, dresses like a 22-year old who has no family responsibility, let alone responsibility of an entire county, and we think he’s one of us. And 800,000 of us vote him in. When the president wears sports uniform, takes selfies and drives himself home, we get amazed because we think we’re all the same. We forget that it has been at our expense that politicians got the money that elevated them to the status from which they now descend to our level.
To beat the “Tuko pamoja” theology, we need to present the Cross in not just its romantic side about love, but in the sober side about justice. Christ died not just out of His infinite love for humanity; He also died out of God’s sense of justice. Humanity had been condemned by sin to death. The price had to be paid, whether it was by the Son of God or the ordinary person in Mathare. When Christ became human, He too had to pay the same price. God didn’t give any waiver to Christ because “wako pamoja na Mungu” in the Trinity. Justice had to be done, and be seen to be done. Grace then extended that price paid to the rest of humanity. Just because we accept Christ’s grace doesn’t mean the judgment was waived. It just means God has accepted its payment from Someone else.
The Church needs to stop restricting the Cross to flattering Christians. It must also preach that Christ’s death was also the fulfilment of God’s justice. That Christ has earned the right to “tuko pamoja” because He paid the price of the condemnation. The president and the rest of the cohort of politicians, on the other hand, have suffered nothing for the 1,300 Kenyans who died, the 500,000 displaced and the thousands raped. If anything, they have gained from the ICC indictment, especially during the political campaigns. The withdrawal of charges against the fourth of the six ICC indictees is, then, not justice. It is postponement of justice. And as long as Kenya’s rich and powerful never get to pay the price for the post-election violence, as Christ paid for our sin on the Cross, “Tuko pamoja” remains a nice sounding lie for which ordinary, and mostly innocent, Kenyans will continue to pay the price. And bad theology if the Kenyan church doesn’t challenge it.