Monday, March 04, 2013

International Prayer: Republic of Kenya

In 2007 what was supposed to be a victory for democracy turned to violence as one of the most developed nations in Africa plunged into chaos. Tribal warfare would escalate eventually resulting in the deaths of 30-40 people who had taken refuge were died inside a church on New Year’s Day. Included among those who were burned in the church were women and children. The incident would become an embarrassment which continues to haunt the Kenya today.

The Republic of Kenya is home to the Great Rift Valley and the northern part of the Serengeti Plain. Located in the eastern part of Africa along the Indian Ocean, Kenya shares borders with Uganda and South Sudan to the west, Ethiopia to the North, Tanzania to the south and Somalia to the northeast. At 580,367 sq. kilometers, Kenya is twice the size of Nevada (according to the The World Factbook [CIA]).

The Maasai people of Kenya gave the Serengeti the name Maasai Mara. At 1510 sq. kilometers the Maasai Mara National Reserve is home to 95 species of mammal and 570 species of birds (according to Included among the reserves residents are a number of lions, the area claiming one of the highest density of lions in the world. The reserve also serves as the northern point of the annual Wildebeest migration, serving as their home from June until October. The wildebeest are joined by a number of Zebra and Gazelle who keep them company during their trek between Kenya and neighboring Tanzania. It is this migration which serves as a star attraction, drawing a number of tourists to this African nation.

Tourism was one of the industries threatened by the violence following the 2007 election. Prior to this Kenya was said to be one of the most stable nations in Africa. But as the election progressed outside observers began to question the results. Eventually the incumbent president would be declared the winner, the Election Commission having him sworn in even after its chairman agreed to investigate reported irregularities. The opposition refused to accept the results, threatening to declare their candidate the victor in their own ceremony. The divisions, mostly along tribal lines, turned violent being described by some as genocide. The memory of this violence now haunts Kenya as the nation completes a new round of elections.

As I write this post the election reports from Kenya describe the day as being mostly peaceful. Pray for the people of Kenya as they await the results of the elections. Pray for answers to the nation’s high unemployment, as Kenya has an unemployment rate around 40%. Pray for a nation where over half of the people live in poverty. As is often the case in developing countries, water quality is an issue. A lack of investment in infrastructure only adds to the problems. Pray for a government where corruption is said to be a major problem.

Over 85% of the people of Kenya are Christians. Pray for their continued growth and for them to serve as a light to neighboring countries. Let us stand with our brothers and sisters in Christ in the Republic of Kenya, lifting them up in prayer as this year’s elections open a new chapter for their nation.

Remember, across the seas or across the fence, we find neighbors who are facing hardship. Pray and make yourself available in case God wants to use you to help someone else.

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