In Isaiah 35:8, the Bible speaks to us about road construction. Of course, with its many layers, the meaning is much more complex than a simple transport lane being built.
The verse says: “And a great road will go through that once deserted land. It will be named the Highway of Holiness. Evil-minded people will never travel on it. It will be only for those who walk in God’s ways; fools will never walk there.”
My interpretation of this verse is that the highway being built in a deserted land will be the one leading to truth. This deserted land is one in which the words of Christ and his Gospel had not been preached, where the real guide to a righteous life is not yet known. It serves as a symbolic pathway for those who have lost their way to encounter and find sovereign grace.
This pathway is a bridge that rises above the dirt of the old beaten path and leads to a new reality of holiness, of righteousness in the way of God. It is a bridge that links the sinners to a purer state of being, that facilitates the holy transition from darkness to light.
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A symbolic bridge is something that appears not only in the Bible but also in history and great literature throughout the years. More recently, in Kenya, it is an increasingly frequent symbol in our politics.
The Building Bridges Initiative was created in order to give Kenyans the thrust we need to emerge from the scars of our past, from the divisions that threatened to tear us apart. Kenya’s short history since statehood has been one marred by tribalism and vitriol.
Under the first three presidents, there was a shadow of distrust hanging above our nation. The history of tribalism here meant that corruption has run rampant for as long as we have been a state. People in power have been helping their friends, cronies and associates ascend to top positions.
This systemic inequality in the upper echelons has resulted in fundamental inequality throughout our country, whether that be regions that are allocated less money because they are less present in Nairobi, or certain groups that are less represented in our government and are barred from advocating for themselves in the same way that the larger and more powerful tribes can.
President Uhuru Kenyatta has proved to a different leader. His reign has meant there is no room for vacillation.
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As Uhuru’s second term gradually draws to a close, he has one overriding mission that he will not allow anyone to get in the way of: building bridges between the Kenyan people.
Connecting our nation so that everyone is given the same rights and opportunities. Creating a pathway for everybody to walk together towards the light. A bridge to our future, a way to dust off the dirt from our past and finally start making real progress.
When Uhuru shook hands with his former rival Raila Odinga more than two years ago, no one expected for this symbolic moment to really lead to any change. We were just too jaded and pessimistic as a nation to believe that things could really get better.
Especially marginalised tribes, who were used to being less represented in politics, did not expect for their children to begin getting the same opportunities.
Well now, two years later, the changes are starting to flourish. The path has been built, and all that is left is for us to start walking forward. There are a lot of distractions happening in the Kenyan political landscape right now. Covid-19 aside, it seems that many politicians have frantically begun to obsess over the 2022 elections rather than doing their current job.
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They threaten to break the foundations of the bridge before the construction is complete. Are we willing, as a Kenyan nation, to let politicking get in the way of walking on the path of the righteous?
There is one symbolic bridge we need to cross before we can realise our development agenda, before we can take Kenya to the next level. And that is embracing the BBI.
Mr Cherambos comments on topical issues. Michaelcherambos1@gmail.com