By Onyinkwa Onyakundi
If you are not a Kisii, or have never lived with SDAs, you may not grasp what ‘keeping the Sabbath day holy’ really means to guys whose denomination’s very name is an assertion of their ‘life and death commitment’ to observing and respecting the Sabbath day. I once had a classmate who took 6 years to complete a 3 year course because he wouldn’t sit for any exam paper that was sat on a Saturday. David Maraga during his vetting told the panel that under no circumstances whatsoever would he hear any case ~ even if the destiny of the nation or his life depended on it ~ on a Saturday. He told them they could keep the CJ’s job if it entailed working on Saturday. They take it that seriously.
However today, the Church elders at the Southern Kenya Conference ~ the SDA Church’s largest and most vibrant Conference ~ made an exception and suspended the keeping of the Sabbath, to give way to a political rally cum fundraising meeting during which politicians freely spewed all manner of insults, threats and warnings to those who do not support the Chief Priest’s ~ Ooops! Sorry, i mean Chief Guest’s ~ 2022 bid for Presidency. Word has it that there were acrimonious arguments between two sets of Elders about the scheduling of the event on the Sabbath, and a request was made to the Chief Priest, sorry, Chief Guest to reschedule to tomorrow, but he declined.
Mark you, SDAs do not hold funerals, weddings or any other functions ~ however important or compelling they may be ~ on Saturdays. But today they did because sacks upon sacks of cash was the prize they were going to get for suspending their most important of the 10 Commandments ~ keep the Sabbath day holy ~ and God’s opinion on the same didn’t count.
But keeping the Sabbath is not the only moral issue that was burdening their conscience. The shared loathing of their Chief Priest by all Abagusii of all denominations for his mastermind role in the genocidal orgy of violence that was visited upon the Abagusii resident in the Rift Valley during the P.E.V left a bad taste in the mouths of most of the congregation who feel like rape victims being bought off on the cheap by the rapist that raped them, to cover the vile crime.
It may not be voiced, or even obvious, but the SDA fraternity in Gusii will henceforth be feeling that near contemptuous look that the rest of Omogusii shall be aiming their way, all because of the greed of a few moneg minded Elders at the South Kenya Conference. Never mind that the average SDA on the streets of Kisii Town is as outraged as every other Kisii, especially because they know that most of the cash that Simbiri gave to the Conference will end up in the pockets of the Elders rather than do what it was purported to be solicited for!