Critics invoke 1 Samuel 8:11-18 to criticize President Ruto’s policies
President William Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance formed the Kenya Kwanza government about one year, one week ago.
UDA-allied politicians heavily campaigned using Christian ideologies, Bible verses and prayers- all to align themselves with President Ruto and his Christian stance of being a born-again believer.
Well, this Christianity and his numerous campaign policies did garner him attention and he went on to win the presidency by a slight margin, beating his opponent, Raila Odinga, by approximately 200,000 votes.
During the campaign season, the Christian Kenya Kwanza brigade vilified Raila Odinga, claiming he was against the development of Kenyans.
Especially when he touched on the issue of the banning of mitumba importation, that his family was against the church when Mama Ida Odinga called for oversight on Kenyan churches and their leaders and branded Raila a witchdoctor among other attacks.
At the same time, President Ruto’s tens of campaign promises whetted people’s appetites for some sort of change in the Kenyan economy and in government leadership after years of mega financial scandals and rampant corruption in government agencies.
President Ruto promised to lower the cost of living within his first 100 days in office, to reduce the cost of petroleum products and not increase the cost of electricity, promised to champion those living below the poverty line and improve their lives at the expense of the well off via his hustler programmes.
He also promised to employ 11,000 youths to plant 1.5 million trees in Nairobi, lower the cost of maize meal flour that cooks Kenya’s staple food, Ugali, build 250,000 new affordable houses every year, build 100 dams and 10000 small water reservoirs by June 2023, give new mothers three months supply of free diapers, reduce fuel taxes by removing some levies including the Value Added Tax and provide free National Health Insurance Fund Cover for all Kenyans.
Once he got into office and the clock began ticking, either the promises were not started, or the reverse was done.
For example, the cost of maize meal flour skyrocketed past the Sh 250 mark for several brands, fuel taxes doubled and now retail at historic highs of above Sh 200 a liter, the cost of electricity is up and there has been a scandal linked to this in terms of Kenyans being overcharged and there has been no news of a free diaper program for new mothers among other disappointments.
Well, a section of Kenyans, joined by opposition allied politicians, continue to either criticize the Kenya Kwanza government for failing to keep its campaign promises or regret casting their votes for Kenya Kwanza regime.
They continue to receive harsh criticism for overburdening Kenyans with several new or increased taxes to generate revenue.
At the same time, the government is on an international borrowing spree. Unemployment also continues to be a thorn in the government’s side, as evidenced by over 7,000 people applying for military positions where only 350 recruits were being sought in Embakasi last week.
But then, many people often lack the words to express their disenchantment with President Ruto and his government. And because he says he is a born-again believer, a section of Kenyans are now using the Bible to criticize him, and the most popular scripture is 1 Samuel 8:11-18.
For context, the Israelites grew tired of Samuel’s sons, who had been appointed judges. These sons did not follow their father’s law and, instead, were only interested in making money for themselves, so they collected bribes and did not judge cases honestly.
The Israelites turned to Samuel and demanded a king to rule over them, just as other countries around them did. Samuel did not like this request and he prayed to the Lord.
The Lord responded by saying Israelites had rejected Him and were worshipping other gods. The Lord then told Samuel to tell the Israelites they will have the king they desired and proceeded to tell Samuel how the king would treat the Israelites.
The following was God’s explanation and what some Kenyans are using to criticize President Ruto:
1 Samuel 8:11-18 (NIV) God says, “This is what the king who will reign over you will claim as his rights: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. 12 Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. 13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers.
14 He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. 15 He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. 16 Your male and female servants and the best of your cattle[a] and donkeys he will take for his own use. 17 He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. 18 When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.”
In the one year that President Ruto has been in office, Kenyans nicknamed him Zakayo, after Zaccheus the wealthy tax collector in the Bible, for his penchant of digging deeper into Kenyans’ pockets, taking more than the law allows the government to tax and making their lives harder to persevere.