Apart from the high cost of living, other issues dividing Kenyans are LGBTQ, devastating floods, corruption and premature political campaigns. HUDSON NDEDA, the chairperson of the Church and Clergy Association of Kenya, spoke candidly regarding the position of the church on these issues.
You have been vocal about LGBTQ relations. The Supreme Court pronounced itself on the matter, throwing the country into confusion. As the church, how can this controversial issue be handled?
Indeed, the Supreme Court threw the country into a state of confusion with its decision. The topic of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, or another diverse gender identity (LGBTQ) is not only ungodly, but it is also against our culture. Our values and constitution recognise God of all creation.
This includes men and women. The same God is clear on what marriage should be, between a man and a woman. LGBTQ is a foreign culture which some people want to impose on us. The church is on record condemning the ruling by the court. We have asked them, again and again, to reconsider their ruling.
Do you think the apex court raised valid concerns in allowing LGBTQ groups to register their association?
The apex court did not raise any valid reasons or concerns to convince Kenyans of their decision to allow the registration of LGBTQ associations in this country. Our constitution and the penal code recognise marriage between a man and a woman.
l think that is why they are poking holes in the penal code in an attempt to reduce punishment against those practising prostitution again against our constitution. One wonders why they cannot come up with ways to improve the lives of Kenyans.
The two evils they are pursuing are not important.
Based on the fact that the youth make up the largest part of our population, does it concern the church that young people are being lured into gayism?
The largest percentage of our population is the youth. We believe the two evils are majorly targeting them, to end our generation. Imagine if half of them marry people of the same sex, where will we be five or ten years from now? There are some instances the evil has now permeated schools where recruitment is now done. They are being lured into it using money, taking advantage of our levels of poverty and the harsh economic times.
What is the church doing to stop this worrying trend that is being amplified by social media?
As the church, we are trying our best to talk to Kenyans, especially the youngsters, about the dangers of involving themselves in LGBTQ. We also encourage parents to be vigilant so that their children don’t engage in this evil. They should be able to identify a change in the behaviour of their children. Unfortunately, this problem has not spared adults.
As a society, how did we find ourselves here and whom do we blame?
As l stated earlier, this is a foreign practice. It is not African. The evil is being forced on us. Just like other countries have done, including Uganda, we need to reject LGPDQ. Unfortunately, we are yet to hear the government’s position on this matter. Technology is good but it has exposed our children to many dangers. They can access websites such as YouTube where they get some dirty content.
Moving away from LGBTQ, the church has not come out strongly on the issues of high cost of living and corruption. Are church leaders afraid of the powers that be?
On the high cost of living, some of us have made our positions known; it is no secret that Kenyans are suffering. It is an issue we must face as a country and save Kenyans who are suffering. The government needs to come up with workable measures to address this problem. In my view, some levies can be suspended until the economy improves. Fuel in Kenya is expensive due to over-taxation.
The same applies to electricity. Fuel is key in production and this always ends up affecting the cost of essential commodities, including food.
In your view, what should be done to lower the cost of living and cushion Kenyans from high taxation?
President Ruto has been vocal about incentives and subsidies to reduce the cost of production. While the move is positive and farmers have started feeling the effects, the government needs to understand that taxing heavily will not solve our problems.
Deductions on pay slips are heavy bearing in mind the workers are further taxed when purchasing goods and accessing services. The best approach is for the government to come up with tax policies that are realizable and friendly to both the business people and customers.
Once again the floods are here, and the devastating effects have been obvious through the loss of lives, destruction of property and critical infrastructure. The national and county governments are passing the blame.
The country is unable to handle the situation. This is even though floods have been happening every time. This is due to poor preparations. The weatherman had warned about it.
The time has come for us to think of a permanent solution. This business of reacting when things go wrong must stop. We have lost lives and properties and this is unfortunate. Our level of preparedness is wanting. How were funds meant to mitigate the effects of the rains allocated? Why can’t we find sustainable solutions to these menaces?
There have been complaints of widespread corruption within the government. Do you believe President William Ruto is fully committed to fighting and eradicating the vice?
The vice has impeded development in the country. Those in positions of authority are stealing public resources on an industrial scale, yet the President is full of platitudes. He has not convinced Kenyans of his commitment to fight corruption. Remember corruption is a business. How do you expect electorates to have trust in you if your cabinet is full of globe trotters? Mr Ruto should not wait for the media to tell him to reduce expenses and wastage.
In your assessment, has the Hustler Fund had an impact on transforming lives and small businesses?
The Hustler Fund was and is still a good idea. However, I think it was rushed. The government needed to come up with proper plans on how best to implement it. If you lend someone Sh500 for example, what business do you expect that person to engage in? The money cannot even take care of two meals, let alone, start a business.
The country seems to be on a campaign mode with politicians competing to galvanize their bases ahead of 2027. According to you, what should be the priorities at the moment?
It is inhuman to see politicians in the campaign mood ahead of the next elections, ignoring the suffering Kenyans. We have urgent and important matters to handle, including the ones we have talked about. And these issues affect both sides of the political divide. We need actions, not the “I will do this or we have a plan”. We don’t need these endless promises.
The National Dialogue Committee has released its report. What is your verdict on the report?
Maybe just one point; they need to think about the country, not their political interests.