Sorry, our gallant prayer warriors, God isn’t listening

Monday June 10 2024

L-R: Kenya’s First Lady Rachel Ruto, President William Ruto, Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua and his wife Dorcas praying at the Moi International Sports Center Kasarani in Nairobi, Kenya, on September 13, 2022. PHOTO | NMG


The National Prayer Breakfast took place on May 30, 2024. This gathering is held annually and brings together politicians, clergy, high-ranking public servants and business people at a top city hotel.

Over a sumptuous meal, the supplicants present God with a national and regional wish list. On the list are items such as peace, prosperity, restoration of honesty and good sense to politicians, end to corruption, rain, good harvests, end to road accidents and disease, etc.

The first such meeting was held in 2003. But, after two decades of holding such gatherings, it would seem that either God ignores these supplicants or the prayers — hypocritical as they are — fail the moral test for consideration.

I say this because, since 2003, the congregants pray for the same things. Surely, after 20 years, God should have, for example, restored honesty and good sense to politicians. Or, at the very least, ended road accidents that claim so many lives every year.

In an earlier column, I pointed to the staggering fact that Kenyan road deaths over a two-year period surpass the number of American soldiers killed in Afghanistan and Iraq over many years of war.

In my view, there is a more fundamental reason why God refuses to answer these prayers. It is that He has given us the intellectual and moral wherewithal to deal and solve these problems. It is similar to giving a farmer good land, water, fertiliser and pesticides in order to grow crops and yet he keeps coming to beg for food, year after year.


We have it in our power to solve all these problems. The ethnic violence that claimed many lives in 1992, 1997 and 2007 was instigated and facilitated by politicians. Don’t take my word for it; read the Judge Akiwumi Report.Therefore, stopping ethnic mobilisation and incitement by politicians would be a huge stop towards national peace.

National prosperity is the result of an objective, systematic, consistent strategy of implementing innovative socioeconomic policies.

Politicians don’t need to have their morality and reasoning restored to them by God. They just need a thorough soul searching to rediscover their moral and ethical compass. You don’t need God to end corruption. On the next benchmarking trip, those who govern us should ask the Chinese or Koreans how they deal with their corrupt officials. Sometimes, the Chinese opt to send culprits of egregious thievery to God for quick judgment.

As for rain, let’s stop clearing forests to build malls, and when the rain comes, let’s harvest the water in huge reservoirs for — pun unintended — a rainy day.

To end road accidents, enforce traffic rules and build better roads. To deal with disease, stop running a moribund health care system.
The congregants also prayed for the Pan-African Parliament in South Africa. I have a divinely inspired idea: Scrap it! As for the AU, fundamentally reform it.

See? The time wasted praying at the breakfast meeting could have been better utilised.

Tee Ngugi is a Nairobi-based political commentator