Sowing the wind: God in the 2013 Kenyan elections!

We ought to be cautious not to mock God in the rush to attribute the election of the Jubilee Coalition to God. The Hon. Uhuru Kenyatta, president elect in his acceptance speech dedicated this victory to God.

President elect Hon Uhuru Kenyatta addressing supporters

President elect Hon Uhuru Kenyatta addressing supporters

There was jubilation in a service on Sunday where the Hon. William Ruto the deputy president elect said that God, in a special way, had given the Jubilee coalition victory in the March 4 General Election.

“The same God who gave us victory against all odds will do more exceedingly and abundantly for us. It will be more than the people of Kenya want. God is going to do great things for this country,” said Ruto. At one point, Ruto was given the microphone to address the congregation but he broke down and was unable to make any statement.

Was this God as he claimed?

I struggled when two of my friends George Ochieng Awuor and Capt. Samuel Gitari posted on Facebook, “The voice of the people is the voice of God!”, thus implying that in the declaration of Hon. Uhuru’s win, God had spoken and we must say Amen and move on!

Was this victory a miracle from God, so we should dedicate it to God? Was this God’s voice….? His own Voice?

Hon. Ruto wept as he addressed the congregation on the jubilee victory!

Hon. Ruto wept as he addressed the congregation on the jubilee victory!

I am unwilling to accept this notion without probing it, lest I find myself among those that mock God. St. Paul’s cautions: “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.”. (Galatians 6:7 ESV).

What are we to understand by mocking? The term to ‘mock’ in its scriptural sense, means to act hypocritically; to make false pretences or professions. So when we pretend to love and serve him when we do not, we mock God; when we act in a false manner, when we are insincere and hypocritical in our pronouncements, when we do not mean it. Anything that amounts to insincerity is mockery, anything that is only pretence, and does not represent the state of the heart. To mock in ordinary language means to dishonour. In this sense, it is that God is mocked by not being honoured. But the irony is that He is not dishonoured really, but only so far as man is concerned.

With that in mind, I question the notion: “Vox populi, vox dei” – the voice of the people is the voice of God”. This is an old Latin proverb. The whole concept of democracy is based on it. It has a lot of truth in it. There are numerous instances in history when people have brought down corrupt governments and monarchs once they have awakened. While this is so, there are also instances where the peoples’ voice was wrong.

In the 1932 German election, the Nazis got 37.4% of votes, becoming the largest party in the Reichstag (Parliament) by a wide margin. Here in fact Hitler came to power through peoples’ vote. Yet the agenda of his party was Crystal clear from the beginning. Should the mob’s voice also be called peoples’ voice? The mob is often wrong. What about the cases of lynching and destruction of public property? So here also the peoples’ voice is not right.

Like all proverbs “Vox populi, vox dei” also has an opposite proverb: ” Nec audiendi qui solent dicere, Vox populi, vox Dei, quum tumultuositas vulgi semper insaniae proxima sit.” It means, “those people should not be listened to who keep saying the voice of the people is the voice of God, since the riotousness of the crowd is always very close to madness.”

No one expressed this better or more eloquently than Alexander Hamilton, one of the founding fathers of USA who said: “The voice of the people has been said to be the voice of God; and, however generally this maxim has been quoted and believed, it is not true to fact. The people are turbulent and changing, they seldom judge or determine right.”

In the 2013 elections historical animosity, tribal consideration, aspiration embodied in particular candidates, special considerations and revenge were key determinants as to how people voted. So when we invoke God’s name on what we have done ourselves, when we follow our own whims and that are incongruent to His will, we will be adjudged to have mocked God. The people’s voice has the power to become God’s voice when they follow his principles.

There are several parallels for our context in this event in the life of ancient Israel, recorded in 1 Samuel 8. All the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel the old prophet at Ramah, and said to him: “Now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.” (1 Samuel 8:5)

No one can blame the elders of Israel for rejecting Samuel’s sons as their leaders. They simply did not measure up. It was their reason for wanting a king that was suspect. In and of itself, the desire to have a king was not bad. God knew was this coming. Four hundred years before, God gave instructions to Israel about their future king (Deuteronomy 17:14-20).

But this drive to be “like all the nations” was a real let down. It implied their refusal to be under God’s direction. G. Campbell Morgan, commenting on Israel’s request observes: “This is the revelation of the supreme wrong. They had been chosen to be unlike the nations, a people directly governed by God.”

Even so, God may not impose his choice on us. God may give us what we want and then deal with us regarding the consequences, as he did with the Israelites. We get it wrong if we think the Lord’s granting the request will always be God’s approval. “Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me…” the Lord tells Samuel (6-8).

God did not heed the voice of the people or grant their wish because their request was good or right, but because God was going to teach Israel through this. Sometimes, when we insist on wanting something bad, God will allow us to have it, and then we have to live with the consequences. Since Israel was demanding a king out of bad, carnal reasons, God will give them a bad, carnal king. Israel will get what they want, and will be hurt because of it.

God saw this and warned them: “Now therefore, heed their voice. However, you shall solemnly forewarn them, and show them the behavior of the king who will reign over them.” (9) The sense in this verse is that Israelites got their minds made up. Not even God would change this!

They will soon learn that information creates responsibility. In telling Israel this, Samuel was not only helping them to make an informed choice; he was increasing their accountability for making the right choice. They couldn’t say, “We didn’t know.”

God wanted Israel to know there would be problems connected with having a king. Even though In Israel’s view, they already had problems that would be solved by having a king. While those problems may have been solved, God wanted them to know a king would bring other problems. They should carefully weigh the benefits against the problems.

The LORD, through the prophet Samuel, is giving fair warning. He will take … He will take … he will take … He will take … he will take … He will take . . . And you will be his servants. And you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen: Why would Israel cry out? Because they wanted a king for unspiritual, ungodly reasons.

However, the people were in no mood to hear all this and they demanded a king despite God’s warning. They said, “No, but we will have a king over us, that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.” (19-22)

So the LORD said to Samuel a second time, “Heed their voice, and make them a king.” In a sense, this almost funny. They are rejecting the rule of God, yet they cannot escape it, because God will appoint their king. God will never step off His throne, even if man asks Him to.

There is a sense in which one can never be a leader without God sanctioning it. However, God lets us to freely choose the way we go; our own way or his way. Every one of the presidential candidates presented us with baggage that we would have to shoulder had they ascended to power. Now, if the challenge against Hon Uhuru Kenyatta collapses, Hon Uhuru and Hon. Ruto will be our God-given leaders of our choice. We will have to live with the consequences of choosing them to be our leaders. As my friend Njonjo Mue quipped, “Assuming they won, we as a nation have all volunteered to become their human shield against justice!”

I doubt we were voting God’s rule in 2013 elections. All indications are that we were both vile and benign. Yet, if we voted to resist the rule of God, we will soon discover that we do not benefit from our choice, in the way that we might have expected. When we resist God, we only hurt ourselves!

As we celebrate or lament the election, let’s remember that, as a former British Prime Minister, Stanley Baldwin once said. “There is no compulsion to accept the rule of God, yet ultimately there is no escaping it, for he appoints the king.”

Rev. Canon francis Omondi
Is an Anglican priest of
ACK All Saints cathedral diocese


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  1. Canon Francis, this is a beautiful reflection which calls for the prophets in the land (the church should be) to continually disciple leaders and potential leaders, and lay bear Kingdom principles in leading God’s people as stewards.

  2. Rev. Sylas

    Thanks Rev that good commentary and appopriate use of scripture. I fear many of us would like to look at Kenyan election this way so we keep arring in the name of God.

  3. Pastor Moses

    Thanks reverend for this balances thelogical presentation.i blessed god for you.the best we can go for now is not trying to convince others that our choice is God’s choice,but know that a king must not be from God for God to make him do the will of God.the heart of the King is like rivers of water in the hand of God He direct it wherever He want.we as the church we need to pray for the will of God to take place in this nation.prayer, prayer and prayer only will get the will of God manifested in this nation.amen.

  4. Eshuchi Mukholi

    Is this what you are saying? Hosea 8:4 – “ They set up kings, but not by Me; They made princes, but I did not acknowledge them. From their silver and gold They made idols for themselves—That they might be cut off.In a world where Satan is god, Authority comes from God. This is not a very easy issue as you have articulated. Petr and paul asked Christians to obey all civil authorities as from God. Clearly Roman structures of Rule were if I may say so very human part greek and part roman. I think for individual Christians it is our attitude to the authority as from God. We are citizens of two places. by honouring one we honour the other. But to come back to you point i think in the modern times we engage in a lot of frivolousness. When my football team wins I attribute it to God. What about the Christian who supports the other team? If I missed a plane and it crashed what do I say? What would those who got it say? Mimi ninamshukuru Mungu kwa amani walakin hata wakti ule wa fujo za PEV ilitunyorosha. Pastors who could not sit on the same table actually did that. What kina Kinyatta and Ruto are doing is desplaying the state of our discipleship in Kenya. As it has been said its an inch deep.

  5. Sir Ericko

    Thanks Canon for this in-depth analysis that has enlightened us about what we do in spiritual perspective. The voice of God is always heard through weaker personalities, like the prophets, but I must say Kenyans must be ready to act as human shield to justice for these leaders just as your friend Njonjo Mue has observed.

  6. Elly Gudo

    The current political status has some serious ramifications on the church. Like all other Kenyans, the believers have a political opinion and inclination. If this is not handled wisely and tactfully, it has a potential of a creating a wedge among the believers. The chief reasons for this are:
    1. Whatever the side they support, each group believes God is with them
    2. Some believers do not necessarily base political choices on God’s Word
    3. The devil will capitalize on the stalemate and bring division

    As believers, we must keep our eyes on on God and not be ignorant of the potential dangers ahead. Ultimately, only one person shall become the president but that should not be used by anyone to divide the body of Christ. We are of the same family and belong to the Body of Christ. Let us remain united. “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35).

    Pray for unity and love in the Church of Christ. Pray for the gospel ministers to steer the flock towards Godliness and oneness. Keep watch.

  7. Enos C

    it made great reading, Rev.

  8. Awesome article. Well written and very eye opening. God bless Kenya!!

  9. Newton G

    Thanks Canon for the great work and we pray that God will be glorified in all his ways. This is a good theological reflection and it should help us who are called to be the teachers of the word to teach the people not seasonally but through out life.
    The testimonies may be hard to subject to analysis and so I may not comment directly on the President elect’s case and his deputy on how they dedicated their victory to God for God knows their hearts than we do.

    Onto to the issue at hand, your last quote for a British PM Stanley Baldwin has a lot to say on the whole issue you have raised here if you go by it; “There is no compulsion to accept the rule of God, yet ultimately there is no escaping it, for he appoints the king.” what does he appoints the king mean to us in this context?
    When we talk of the people’s voice being the voice of God I think its always wise to let people understand that God being the gardener gives a harvest that is proportional to our sown seeds – this is in accordance to His justice. On the other hand we are given an opportunity to go to him and seek his mercies and in his own love he pardons us of our inequities if we go to him in repentant hearts. My prayer is that Kenyans will seek God in all their spheres of life and not mainly for what they can get from him but to also give him the praise and worship for who he is. God bless you and keep you as he enables us to be able to discern through his Spirit.

  10. Kelv Christaholic

    i see no problem when a man recognizes that it is by God’s grace that he has emerged victorious. God uses our votes to place Hisordained leader to power, even though i agree that somtimes we may fail to listen to His voice and elect our own choice rather than His choice. very few men are able to associate their success to God and i think this is a good beginning in our nation when those in authority recognise that it is by God’s power they av made it

  11. Eeh, Francis, this is prophecy! I pray for this country and we prayed for the elections. You have said it and especially the second half of your message confirms Kenya’s position. hear this, ” a leader given to a nation may be God’s judgement on the nation especially when demanded for”.
    kudos and post it to the Kenyans!

  12. John

    Thanks for this Canon. Yes, God has probably fulfilled the wishes of the people in the way in which, as in Samuel, the people demanded! The challenge comes when the elected leaders don’t live up to what they now claim, God’s will. So, besides the baggage the elected leaders (including those not elected) came with to the elections, the other measure will be how they live out the values of the God they now claim has made them elected in authority, including how embracing they will be to those who were their competitors or perceived enemies, and how they respond to those who will demand that God’s values be espoused by these leaders. Simply to associate one’s success to God does not make it God ordained…..there have been leaders who have even proclaimed their nations Christian, that has never made those leaders or the people of those nations live out Christian values. ‘God has ordained’ has huge implications for those who claim and upon those this is claimed for.

  13. Jotham

    Thanks Canon for the insightful article. The discussion could be extended to many other areas apart from the political leadership of the nation. For example, when bishops or church leaders are elected, could we for certain declare that it was the will of God that candidate X and not Y or Z is elected? Usually, it is said it’s God’s choice. Again, if we read Acts 1:21-26, there is a sense in which God uses elections to make His choice known. However, for this to take place, the candidates offered must fulfill His requirements for the position. That is when one can say the voice of the people is the voice of God. Whether it applies in our recent presidential elections, I cannot tell. I still don’t understand Njonjo Mue’s observation. Could you unpack it for me?

    • Thanks Jotham for the comment we need to open this further to probe the church leadership on these grounds too. Njonjo Mue is referring to The Hague issue. Many hold the thought that the real reason for the duo seeking presidency was to get the immunity that comes with incumbency and that will stave off Hague trial or other pending trials.

  14. CHAKA

    It opened my eyes to thew other side of the coin

  15. Jackson

    Ideally the voice of God should be yes and amen, but my worry is the 21st century church is it still adherent to her course or we the church need God even more than the world do? I would rather be the last Bishop to comment for everything unless i am convinced that God is speaking to me. What today’s church is doing is more equally to what the world is doing. God forgive us for the church we are leading is not the church your son Jesus initiated, help us God. Thank you man of God for this.

  16. Wazalinya

    Thanks Canon, many people would want to associate victory with God so that it sounds Godly and everyone should see it from their perspective, so that those who are God fearing people like many of us may have nothing to commend about.As a sign of humility one would sit back and ask is there any truth in what others are saying against this victory that I am celebrating? Listen to me, just because someone has invoked the name of God, it doesn’t automatically become God’s way or will. If you attribute Victory to God and you give a deaf ear to what other voices are crying out that you have muzzled their human dignity by not allowing them to see what is truth and false about your victory then you mock God.

  17. Rev Omondi, this is well articulated. We leave in a world where it very difficult to differentiate between true believers and non believers. Every man and woman evokes the name of God whenever they are faced with issues in life. Even a thief would confidently ‘thank God’ (whoever that God is) for a successful theft errand! May God the Almighty have mercy on us. These are the last days, as stated in the Bible and we ought to be careful and ask the true God, the Creator of Heaven and Earth to fill us with His Holy Spirit so that we can discern the truth from false, goodness from evil, holiness from pretense and above all, may we seek and pray that we may hear God’s voice in our daily affairs, lest we mention God’s name in vain.

  18. Kate

    “The voice of the people is the voice of God” – is this statement scriptural? i don’t agree With it.

  19. Kate njagi

    Thanks canon for the article. while i agree with you that the voice of the people is not always the voice of God, i find it very hard to agree that the election of uhuru and Ruto is not the will of God. I know how kenyans prayed and fasted asking God to give us the right people. Why would we be so convinced that the two are not God’s choice? Remember God’s way of judging is not necessarily our way. I know the two started by crisscrossing the country asking for prayers. why do some people find it hard to believe that God forgave them? Any way, while we respect each others views, let us know that its only God who know whether the two are His choice or not

  20. Canon, you are spot-on in challenging the position that the outcome of this past election reflects God’s choice. I doubt that we can declare with certainty that it is or that it is not. On what basis would we do that? We can only speculate and so some believe it is while others doubt that it is. Does God prescribe leaders to nations, tribes etc? I don’t think so. He gives us guidance on qualities and issues to consider when making such choices. I think these ‘prophesies’ reflects the tendency for Christians to baptize their decisions by evoking God’s name. The voice of the people is rarely the voice of God but God respects people’s decisions! Christianity is a theocracy not a democracy. As to whether this is a good choice for Kenya, time will tell. Your writing is a good blend of scriptural and historical analysis. Keep it up!

  21. It is natural to take sides in this matter. I hear all you people. All said and done, at this juncture, we can only pray that God uses the CJ Willy Mutunga and his team, to administer justice. Remember there’s nothing that you can come up with that is beyond God. He wants to see you rise higher, and it starts with your thinking. Think bigger, think expansive. God wants you to excel and go beyond where you are. He wants to see you fulfill the desires of your heart! Keep standing strong in faith and dreaming big, and you will see the life of victory He has prepared for you!

    “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him.” I Corinthians 2:9

  22. Benjamin Mshila

    Rev. I value your analysis and contribution. The will of the people is always misconstrued depending on whichh those side your are supporting and yes, at the end of it all, we are not judges and will respect God’s chosen one. Let us wait to see what transpires with regards to the ICC issue. Ben

  23. Taz

    Reblogged this on Kenya after 2007 and commented:
    An interesting, philosophical view point on the 2013 Kenya elections from a Kenyan Anglican priest. Food for thought…

  24. Timothy Byakika

    Its difficult to say whether the president elect is the peoples choice and hence Gods choice. Lets be patient and follow this up later in the week. God works in mysterious ways indeed!

  25. Mopa

    Rev. I think the fact that they gave thanks…recognising God for their status…is the more important thing.If it is decided that they remain to lead our country, atleast we will be sure that they have given God control of their leadership.I didn’t vote for them but I was impressed by their thanksgiving & seeking God at every opportunity.

  26. Mama Mu

    Thanks for this article.I do however wonder about the church as a voice today.Sometimes I find the church has become something I no longer know how to describe.To step aside of March 4th,2013,lets observe the referendum on the new constitution.After 70% of Kenyans voted for the constitution,I had one Bishop remark ,”God may not have heard the cry of the church,but He heard the voice of the poor.” I’m afraid I think the church is made up of individuals whose hearts are biased,and our minds are often less than objective.We should all be very cautious when we swing one way or the other,because I am yet to believe neutrality is possible in or out of the church.I don’t know that the church should claim to ‘hear’ the voice of God on political matters,poverty is bigger than politics.What is God saying about that?

  27. Cannot be put better. You have said it all here. The LORD is God. I think we need theologians like you around, but please groom others like myself to develop boldness and eloquence to articulate information as you do. I believe that there are more leaders who think your style, but penning it down or voicing it audibly becomes a big challenge. Some do not try, because they are seeking to please either. I have heard of leaders (Church leaders) who only waver on either side. Let us stand firm as Church leaders, but neutral when it comes to petinent issues of political interest. Thanks again.

  28. Reblogged this on FredOkono and commented:
    A fascinating and thoughtful piece!

  29. paul gatimu

    sisi wana cord hatuna neno tumekubali bora wangoze kenya kwa haki nawatimize ahadi walizo ahidi wakenya nasibague walio wapigia kura na wenye hawakuwapigia kura GOD BLESS KENYA.

  30. og

    The Lord is God. please preach this: Romans 8:37-39, 1 John 4:9-11,1 Peter 5:6-7

  31. Kariuki Apollo

    A good article indeed. However i have two reservations. 1. The OT examples given in the article in regard to God’s choice must be discussed in the context of theocracy not necessarily democracy.. We can draw parallels but definitely Kenya is not a theocracy. Even in the Samuel event they refused the direct rule of GOD but it is still GOD who directly gave them Saul. 2. the author argues that, “When we resist God, we only hurt ourselves” now who determines the choice or the rule of God? Who is Samuel in our Kenyan story? … we need to avoid a “pigeon-hole” like theology. I think for now it is only God who can determine whether UK’s victory is his will or not. I foresee a situation as the author predicts, where things go wrong (depending on who is seeing it) in this government we will hear “When we resist God, we only hurt ourselves”. Now we have seen church leaders across the denominational divide pray and anoint politicians across the political divide. They all prayed exclusive prayers for them. It will be wrong for anybody to argue that God heard or didn’t hear the prayers. Suppose God had no preferred candidate among the contestors. Only God knows which prayer he answered and which one he didn’t. It will be equally wrong for those who prayed for Uhuru to claim that God heard them jsut as it is wrong to claim that God didn’t hear the prayers of them that prayed for the other candidates! My view is that God was nowhere near when we were voting. No matter who could have won, the politics in Kenya as it were are ethnic based and hence full of hatred and division and anybody who drags God in such an event is of the devil.
    “Vox populi, vox dei” is indeed a theological LIE.

    • So glad to see your response Kariuki.
      1. I am not under illusion that Kenya is a theocracy. I was compeled to write this article to allow all to acknowledge that Kenya as a liberal democracy. Here God does not choose our leaders for us, we are given that responsibility. I wanted to stop my own colleagues from he blanket thought that this was God. We did it and we must get God out of it.
      2. I know a little more than try parallels here. I used the text best in my opinion to show that people’s voices cannot be Gods we are prone to choose in the acsent of our appetites and aspirations. Which are often incongruent to Gods principles and will.
      3. I would have written this same article even if it was not Uhuru and Ruto in power. For know many who often said this very saying…
      4. A unbiased reading of this article will reveal that we agreeing on the point of not ladling our own vices divine!

  32. martin

    u said it uaself God will never leave his throne 2 man. en at the end of it all God will select a king that the man wants. ma aknowldgment is that God made they victory possible. en he himself has tha authority 2 judge. so don discourage people 2 accept tha will of God. not unless u av a leader that God wanted 4 them.

  33. I agree with most of your sentiments. I am not sure if UhuRuto was the choice from God. I suspect they may not have been. However, that said, I feel as a nation and as the church we must now arise from wallowing of whether these were God’s choice and just pray for them. The Lord is able to use them despite and inspite of them not being God’s choice for us. I look at Saul and he was not a great leader and probably not God’s first choice, but God still used him to fight many battles for Israel. That for me is the important thing. We all need to stop wanting to be right or wrong over these presidency, and just pray for this nation. God can still use these two. That is the pill I have had to bear over the last few weeks coz they were not my first preference either. But I could sit on the periphery with gun blazers waiting for them to fail or I can cry to God for mercy. I look at our voting patterns and I know either way were were going to need that mercy. We were going to need God NOT TO DEAL WITH US AS WE DESERVE, but mercifully. As a church that I believe is the important message. To honour this 2 coz they are the authority in place for this season and pray for them.
    And second thing God has been convicting me over is we do not honour coz people deserve to be honoured but becoz they are the ones in authority and therefore God requires I honour them. Taking this to the church, it means for example regardless whether I think a bishop was God-ppointed or not, i need to honour them coz they are the bishop’s. I look at David and he had several reasons to dishonour Saul, good reasons. But he takes the high way road and even prays for this man. We need to learn from him, regardless of our political views. Only then can the church be THE LIGHT OF A VERY CONFUSING WORLD / TIME.

  34. Erastus Omolo

    Canon Omondi,
    This is great thought and it is for all of us to chew and consider before God or neglect to. That the issue of elections came to an end and got firmly decided during the Easter week-end can also be telling the country a serious message whichever way one looks at it. .Let me throw a spanner into the works – during the first Easter, Christ was judged and sentenced according to the choice and demand of men BUT perfectly in the will of God to die for our sins, and crucified he was with two others – a thief and a robber etc. Before the drama of Calvary, a few key things happened – Simon of Cerene was forced to help Christ carry the cross, a thief Barabas was released on peoples demand, and Cephas on the warning of his wife washed his hands saying I will have nothing to do with the blood of this man. Looks very confusing and contradictory BUT God was at the center of it all. That was during the first EASTER in history. God is talking to Kenya, we are expected to listen!! I am happy Cannon that your piece was written well before the case closed and judgement given!!

  35. It is interesting and ‘worrying’ to hear the diverse views. The real questionthat am hearing is the position of God in competitive democratic politics? How is God’s position to be understood when those praying have differing cultural preferences?

  36. Eshuchi Mukholi

    So who says that there are no prophets today?

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