The Beatification of Irene Stefani is a lesson to those who think Raila’s good deeds for Kenya will go unremembered.
By Janet Mwikali-White
Like in Politics, we all have 2 destinies; either in the annals of history or dustbins of history. Raila has for sure earned his place in the annals of Kenyan history. and one century from now, his name will be greater than Uhuru, Moi, Kenyatta and Kibaki combined.
And watching a sister’s life being celebrated, makes me begin to get it when Raila says, he doesnt have to be president, and that he can sell mandazi. What we do in this life is all for posterity, and its not about whether we become president, King and so on; but that the impact of what we do should be measured by how many hearts we touch, lives we transform, and people we liberate. Mandela, Raila, Mahatma Ghandhi and so on will be remembered on these accounts.
Moi, Kibaki, Kenyatta i and ii of course cant find the inner peace to compare themselves to Irene Stefani.
And then we have other Shenanigans in our political structure, who see the event as a tourist attraction; an event to make quick buk. Infact Nyeri Gov. Nderitu Gachagua told locals to host the visitors with the hope of being paid something small. Yet Irene Stefani on whose back this event is riding on gave and did so much without expecting a rewards.
Rather than celebrate Irene’s humble life, we focus more on the commercialization of her beatification ceremony, and how thereafter tourism will boom as faithfuls will make pilgrimage to Gikondi village of Nyeri County. Unlike Stephanie, we have become so material and lazy, such that the rugged area that “Nyaatha” transversed using a horse, or on foot, is causing us sleepless nights wondering how we will access.
Sisters of Irene’s time died as true virgins(good luck if you find a secondary virgin sister) in Kenya today. She lived a sex-less life, but the shame is that on her day of beatification will be folks making live in those hallowed grounds. Its not unusual to collect used condoms after crusade at Uhuru Park. That’s how I know condoms will be collected as the venue is cleaned on Monday morning.
Raila Odinga, whose election was stolen twice, is a moral high priest of Kenya’s political structure in a moving message to catholic faithfuls, observed that good deeds don’t expire, and that it was interesting how 85 yrs later Sr. Nyaatha or Irene Stefani was still being celebrated as an embodiment of self sacrifice. Just like Raila who gave up a life of making deals and money that being an Odinga presented, Sister Stefani gave up a life of comfort in Italy and came to Gikondi, a remote village that is so difficult to access 85 yrs later.
Raila who was a jailbird during the Moi regime, must really have been moved by the life of this lady with whose life he can squarely relate to. He is the only Kenyan politician who can look at Irene Stefani straight in the eye and tell her that “yes I can relate to you Ma’ am”.
Uhuru is visiting Gikondi, where he will walk on a red carpet, and of course to display affluence and power, all intended to consolidate the central Kenya vote while of course getting the media attention that will come with the live coverage. He will also use this occasion as an excuse to order the tarmacking of this area, even though central Kenya is the best tarmacked part of this country.