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Responses to ‘Women's rights and Kenya's constitution: Challenging “men of faith”’

Responding to an article by Beth Maina and Cenya Ciyendi, Nzilani writes that ‘the anti-constitution campaign by various church leaders in Kenya is an attempt to exert their authority and power in the face of the government’. Ciiru Njehu hopes Kenyans will ‘recognise the hypocrisy of the church leaders’, while K?riak? wa K?nyua says it ‘is time for the “voiceless” to speak-out for themselves’.??

Articles like these should be circulated as part of the civil education going on prior to the referendum!

I agree that the anti-constitution campaign being led by leaders of various Christian churches in Kenya is an attempt at exerting their authority and power in the face of the government (another equally masculinist entity); competing masculinities. This is clear from the claims they are making which are NOT based on written fact and their disconnection from what happens in the everyday lives of so many Kenyan women. These church leaders should be dealing with the root causes of all the unexpected pregnancies (which have been well outlines in the article), before they start pretending to provide "solutions" to problems which they are in fact part and parcel of!


Ladies, Thank you for the great article. It is my hope that the church's attempt to derail the constitution will fail. The church's main role should be teaching about good morals to their congregations, which would go a long way in addressing some of the root causes of the unplanned pregnancies, rapes, defilements that lead to the abortions they strongly oppose. Unfortunately, since their primary role of teaching morality has failed miserably, they are forced to choose a cause that is enshrined in the 10 commandments, "thou shall not kill" by targeting what is actually majority of their followers and the most oppressed group in our nation.

The irony of it all is, apart from the Catholic Church that has taken an official stand against the death penalty, the protestant churches that are members of NCCK; do not protect the sanctity of life when it comes to criminals. Where are the press conferences expressing their outrage at extrajudicial killings and mob lynching of suspected criminals?? Of course, the irony is lost as our own media, that is supposed to be educating the public, is too lazy to do their homework and call them out on the double standards! 

The idea of including all aspects of our society in writing the Bomas Draft was noble and this business of inclusion should have ended there. The final making of the constitution should have been left to the experts, but in the Kenyan case, I’m not sure the Committee of Experts are the best choice as they could not even decide on the obvious matter of the structure of the executive. The United States of America, which is arguably the best constitution in the world, was written by a very small group of people. 200 years later, the document is still evolving because the myth of a perfect constitution does not exist!! 

I hope Kenyans will recognise the hypocrisy of the church leaders and refuse to answer their call and be able to recognise the good that is in this draft.


I thank you for your thoughtful article. Isn’t it amazing that most of us “men of the cloth” almost always pretend to speak on behave of the “voiceless”! As Gayatri Spivak asks, “Can the Subaltern Speak?” It is time for the “voiceless” to speak-out for themselves! 

I would like to add that the issue of religion in most occasions raises people’s emotions that we at times are unable to think rationally. I think the underlying problem is a psychological one. Psychologists refer to it as compensation or simply passing the buck. In this case we fail to acknowledge our own failures and simply blame it on the pro-abortionists and Muslims. I was in Kenya recently, and was surprised by the kind of lifestyle lived by the ministers of the Gospel. One needs to visit his local pastor's home and then visit a couple of the ministers' parishioners and you will be surprised by the economic disparities thereof. Ministry is no longer a calling or a passion but a lifestyle. No wonder our Christian leaders are quick to blame the Kadhi courts and Islamic expansionism for the rapid rise in Islam mainly in our poor communities such as Kibera.

The second point that I would want to draw your attention to is a political one. When I read such ultimatums as the ones given by church leaders, I see political mischief in the guise of Christian activism. The issues on abortion and the Kadhi court are more political than religious. The Christian leaders’ perspective is based on limited knowledge on misinformation, ignorance of constitutional making and prejudice. Their position is backed by half-truths and misrepresentations. It compares to fear-mongering evident in America today - which is basically championed by the American Religious Right. Christian fundamentalism is as dangerous as Islamic fundamentalism! The current Christian leadership in Kenya is behaving as though it was the left wing of the Jihadists in Somali or Nigeria only this time clothed in cassocks and holding Bibles (instead of wearing turbans and holding guns).

Although Kenyans’ amnesia is astounding, one does not need to seek far and wide to read this political mischief. Before 2007 general election and the violent events that followed, most of the Christian leaders now marshalling support against abortion and Kadhi court were busy rallying their troops behind candidate “A” (mainly the one from their tribe) while opposing the “enemy” of their candidate. But did the Christian leaders answer to their higher calling? The IDPs are still languishing in hovels and abject poverty. The Church seems to have lost its moral voice. Unimagined scale of violence continues to bother every right thinking Kenyan; people are being murdered at will; Mũngĩkĩ killers who are now hailed as Christian converts remain free – and what have the Christian leadership done about these things? Your guess is as good as mine.

Brothers and sisters, what is my point? It is simply this, before we can accuse others of the speck in their eyes, we must first take care of the log that continues to hinder our beatific vision of the Kingdom of God. We need to wear sackcloth instead of mourning the expansion of Islam. We need to return to the God of old, who still demands that we walk upright, love justice and walk humbly before Yahweh. God cannot be mock! Kenya’s destiny is in God’s hands and no Kadhi court or Islamic scholar or Muhammad’s sword can sway the hand of Yahweh. Let us do our part and let God be God! God will take care of God’s own. God is the Author and the Finisher of our Faith! We should not be casting stones at Islamic fundamentalism while we ourselves live in glass houses. The God I worship has no time for such “righteous” grandstanding. God is interested in a humble and a contrite spirit - a spirit that bears the Spirit of the Living Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, the one whom the Father raised by the Power of His Mighty Hand.