July 29, 2017
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Do you all remember what was going on in the States a little less than a year ago, in November of 2016 to be exact? Yes, that’s right…it was the presidential elections. Wasn’t that fun? Or was it not so fun after all? I’m sure you were all fed up with the whole process by the time election day rolled around.
Well, we are also right in the middle of an election process here in Kenya. In fact, we are almost at the tail-end of the campaign. And we are all fed up with the process here as well. The current president of Kenya is even in Kitale today campaigning, which brings lots of extra people to town, lots of police and security, lots of traffic, lots of noise and lots of headaches. The main campaigning and advertising tactic for politicians in Kenya is to hire a pickup truck, load it full of enormous speakers and drive it around town all day blaring music and campaign slogans. And there has been a lot of that seeing as every elected position in Kenya is up for grabs right now – President/VP, Members of Parliament, Governors, Ministers, Cabinet. Everything. Local, regional, and federal. And it all comes to a head as Kenyans head to the polls on August 8th.
So, while we will be glad to have this election year in the past, we head into August 8th with a bit of anxiety and trepidation. You see, elections in Kenya are not quite the docile affair you expect in the States. We really have no idea what to expect as a result of these upcoming elections. In 2007 there were riots, thousands of people were killed all over the country, churches were burned with people hiding inside of them, businesses were destroyed, and supply lines were cut off as tribe went to war against tribe. This went on for about 2 months. In 2012 the elections were held mostly peacefully and there were only little pockets of violence across the country. But this year is shaping up more like 2007 than 2012. The same tribes are involved and the same man is running for president that lost in 2007 and who sparked the riots back then. He has already vowed not to accept the results as legitimate if they should go against him. That will lead to more trouble here in Kenya.
I have tried to keep my finger on the pulse of what is going on around here. There are European Union representatives here that predict trouble. Also, the last few months I have been asking a lot of people here in Kitale what they are thinking. Many think we will have no trouble. But many others are not so sure. Most business will be shutting down over the elections and will not be re-opening until they know it is safe to re-open. At home we have been in preparations also. I’ve purchased extra cans of diesel for the car, extra tanks of gas for the stove, extra water, extra food and extra phone credit. Most of the other missionaries have left or are leaving Kenya in the next week in order to avoid the elections. They will return when things have settled down. But we are not able to leave Kenya on account of the fact that we cannot travel with Chloe outside of the country. We will have to ride out any storm that may arise. We are placing ourselves in God’s hands and praying that everything will go smoothly and that He will protect us from any potential violence that may occur.
Please also be in prayer concerning our elections here on August 8th. We are really more concerned about out Kenyan brothers and sisters than for ourselves. If there is trouble they will be the ones most likely to suffer and not us. There is much unrest and people are not happy with the current administration. We do not wish to see our Kenyan brothers and sisters hurting and killing each other.
Lord, may there be peace in Kenya throughout this election process and may the peace that results also cause Your kingdom here to grow, prosper and bring You much glory.
Until next month, beloved.
May God’s peace and joy be with you.
For the glory of God in East Africa,
Roger & Julie Tate (and Amy, Josiah & Chloe)
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