Kenya Prayer Meeting: “Insults and Swearing Filled the Air”

News from Kenya, where Philip Etale, communications director of the ODM political party, has a complaint about a prayer meeting in Uhuru Park:

….Instead of speaking humbly as they were before God and clergy, the politicians turned the forum into a political theatre with name calling and curses all aimed at Raila Odinga.

The prayer meeting at Uhuru Park was more of a campaign rally that a place to worship God. Insults and swearing filled the air before cameras and the public. I was flabbergasted by the statements made by these leaders who were merrily singing the Kenya National Anthem — in itself a prayer— at the Hague and yet were the same spewing selective truths at the Uhuru Park ‘prayer session.’…

The “prayer meeting” was for the benefit of the “Ocampo Six”, six politicians – including the Deputy Prime Minister – who have just returned from the Hague following preliminary hearings at the International Criminal Court relating to violence following the 2007 election. “Ocampo” refers to the judge, Luis Moreno-Ocampo.

The Kass Media Group has some further background:

[William] Ruto observed that the Uhuru park meeting was purely a prayer meeting. “We are going for a prayer meeting. We do not want to confront anybody. We only want to pray for our country.”

…Police kept tight security at the park to avoid a potential showdown between ODM and PNU supporters whom both claimed to hold licenses to hold rallies at the venue.

The police had clarified that the venue had been booked by an organization calling itself, Federation of Evangelical & Indigenous Christian Churches of Kenya (FEICCK) through their national chairman one Bishop Joseph Methu.

Police Spokesman Erick Kiraithe clarified that FEICCK was holding the rally in conjunction with the organising committee for the homecoming rally organised for the Ocampo Six.

The trials in the Hague have been the focus of conspiracy theories; according to the AP:

Obama, Ocampo, Odinga — they all share the distinctive first letter of members of the Luo tribe in Kenya, and some in this East African nation believe that the three are brothers in a conspiracy to see six suspects convicted at Ocampo’s Hague-based court so that Odinga can become president in the land where Obama’s father was born.

Though the conspiracy is fanciful, it has traction among those who believe the ICC suspects, who are charged with orchestrating Kenya’s 2007-08 postelection violence, are being unfairly prosecuted.

The idea that Obama is secretly working with Odinga has also been a theme of Tea Party conspiracy-mongering in the USA; in 2008 WorldNetDaily‘s Jerome Corsi (now the author of a WND-published Birther book) travelled to the country to “investigate”. However, even Corsi just might pause for a moment before adding Ocampo into the mix:

…Though Odinga and Obama’s father are both Luo, Ocampo is Argentinian — not Luo.

FEICCK and Methu are of interest; according to its website, FEICCK

 was established in the year 2005 after various consultative meetings with various founders and heads of Evangelical and Indigenous Christian Churches and denominations from across the Republic of Kenya.

…The Federation was officially registered in the Republic of Kenya as an umbrella body under the societies Act in January 2007. The Federation has since grown from 10 member Churches and Denominations to 78, representing a population of not less than 4 million Christians across Kenya.

Methu, meanwhile, has links with the Unification Church’s “Global Peace Celebration” front group; in December he gave the invocation at a GPC event in Atlanta, and atttended an associated Strengthening Families Summit. A write-up by Hyun Jin Moon (Rev Moon’s son) tells us that Methu “played a prominent role in the recent Global Peace Convention 2010 in Nairobi”.

I previously blogged on clergy and political conflict in Kenya here.

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