Nothing to show 100 days since Pope visit

Saturday March 5 2016

Dancers entertain Pope Francis when he arrived at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on November 25, 2015. Looking on is his host President Uhuru Kenyatta. One hundred days ago today, Pope Francis arrived in Kenya for his first visit on African soil. Pope Francis said the role of the religious is to wake up the nation from its slumber, indifference and apathy. Where are these good people? PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Dancers entertain Pope Francis when he arrived at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on November 25, 2015. Looking on is his host President Uhuru Kenyatta. One hundred days ago today, Pope Francis arrived in Kenya for his first visit on African soil. Pope Francis said the role of the religious is to wake up the nation from its slumber, indifference and apathy. Where are these good people? PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By GABRIEL DOLAN
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The first hundred days in office is a traditional milestone to measure the impact that a new administration is making.

Muhammadu Buhari hit the road running in Nigeria in his first hundred days arraigning former governors in court and making moves to recover $6bn stolen by former ministers.

Nearer home, John Magufuli has just reached the same landmark.

Popularly known as ‘the bulldozer’, Mr Magufuli has an approval rating of over 90 per cent in Tanzania thanks mainly to his anti-corruption and anti-waste campaigns.

The notion of ‘100 Days’ was first popularised by Franklin D Roosevelt way back in 1933.

FDR, as he was known, came with a new programme that he called ‘New Deal’ to put an end to the Depression and get the USA back on its feet.

Ever since, leaders everywhere see the first hundred days as a window of opportunity to mobilise public support for decisive actions that represent change that is popular and progressive.

One hundred days ago today, Pope Francis arrived in Kenya for his first visit on African soil.

He visited State House, prayed in the rain, bolstered slum dwellers resolve, addressed the UN, and challenged the youth while capturing the headlines and the public’s imagination.

POPE'S IMPACT

But did he impact? Has his example been emulated by local prelates? Was his visit a mere boost to Jubilee after the ICC trials? Did religious and political leaders really want to hear his provocative, radical teachings?

Francis planted trees saying that tree-planting was an incentive to reverse injustices and to confront the ‘faceless private developers’.

However, we now know that foreigners are building a four star hotel in Karura Forest on land that was allocated on the day that Daniel Moi handed over to Mwai Kibaki in 2003.

Uhuru Kenyatta asked for the Pontiff’s blessing in the war on corruption.

However, Mr Kenyatta was recently found wailing at the walls of Jerusalem over the same vice, but is doing precious little while his regime’s rottenness is continuously exposed.

The Pope told Mr Kenyatta and dignitaries assembled in State House, “I encourage you to work with integrity and transparency for the common good”.

In Kangemi he told the poor “How can I not denounce the injustices which you suffer?” but the church has gone silent ever since despite the growing ethnic tensions, endemic looting and low public morale.

PROPHETIC LEADERSHIP

Ultimately, it is Cardinal Njue and his team of Bishops who should demonstrate the seriousness with which they are taking the Pope’s messages.

There is a dire need for prophetic leadership. Prophets don’t just name injustices but call for change and offer hope even in the most hopeless of situations.

This is no time to be sitting on mitres or observing from the safety of the sanctuary.

It is imprudent if not immoral too to accept weekly harambee donations from politicians whose lieutenants have been adversely mentioned in NYS scandals.

Francis repeated this week that the church doesn’t want ‘dirty money’.

The window of opportunity has been missed. But the need for prophets of hope remains.

Francis said the role of the religious is to wake up the nation from its slumber, indifference and apathy. Where are these good people?

[email protected] @GabrielDolan1