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Tuesday, November 04, 2008
Obama and Odinga: An African Pastor's Warning to America
An African Pastor's Warning to America
By J. Lee Grady
Mbijiwe Mwenda says we are being naive to ignore Barack Obama’s ties to a dangerous Kenyan politician. Mbijiwe Mwenda is a voice crying in the wilderness—from the other side of the world.
The Kenyan pastor, founder of Glory Cathedral Church in Nairobi, does not have a voice on CNN or Fox News. But he has been warning Christians during a recent visit to the United States that more is at stake in the 2008 election than anyone supposed.
“Many Americans do not seem to realize the price that has been paid for your freedom,” Mwenda says. “I am afraid we are about to lose the America we have known in the past—the America that has been a hope for the world.”
Mwenda’s main concern: That Democratic presidential challenger Barack Obama has a cozy relationship with Raila Odinga, an avowed Marxist politician who now serves as Kenya’s prime minister. Obama, who made taxpayer-funded visits to Kenya in 2004, 2005 and 2006, campaigned for Odinga in 2006.
During public appearances in Kenya, Odinga introduced Obama as his cousin. But later a family member denied that claim, saying that Odinga and Obama’s father, Barack Obama Sr., simply came from the same village. Both Obama Sr. and Odinga are from the Luo tribe, Kenya’s third largest.
When Odinga ran for president of Kenya last year and lost by a slim margin, tribal violence erupted amid claims of voter fraud. About 1,500 people died (many were killed in machete attacks), hundreds of churches were burned and 600,000 villagers were displaced. The international community had to broker a peace deal, allowing Odinga to serve as prime minister while his opponent, Mwai Kibaki, was named president.
Today, Odinga hopes that Obama will win the White House on Nov. 4 to boost support for his bid to become president of Kenya in 2012.
Pastor Mwenda says he is amazed that Americans don’t seem concerned that Obama is tied to Odinga. He rattled off a list of facts that Charisma has verified:
· Odinga was trained in communist ideology in Europe and holds Marxist views. “He even named his son Fidel Castro,” Mwenda says. · He has obvious ties to Muslim interests and even received funding for his presidential campaign from Libya. Although he officially claims to be an Anglican, Mwenda says, “[Odinga] has been very sympathetic to Muslims and some say he is a Muslim secretly.” · Odinga fits in nicely with Arab leaders’ plans for Africa. When they convened in Nigeria in 2001, they released a statement indicating that Kenya is to play a key role in spreading Islam throughout southern Africa. Says Mwenda: “Odinga is a dangerous man. A dictator.” · Odinga has promised to enact Sharia law in “Muslim declared regions” of Kenya—meaning that pork would be outlawed, women could not drive and crimes would be punished according to Islamic tradition.
So why did Obama campaign for Odinga? Independent journalists around the world have been asking that question since 2006. Paula Abeles of African Press International wrote in August: “Clearly Obama campaigned for someone who is corrupt, ruthless and has financial ties to terrorists. … Senator Obama’s actions—intentional or not—were in direct conflict with the efforts and interests of U.S. national security.”
Many Kenyans are proud that a son of Kenya has a shot at the White House. But Kenya’s evangelical Christians are less enthusiastic. Like Mwenda, many of them are also troubled that Obama’s paternal grandmother has publicly stated that she sacrifices chickens and pours libations daily when praying for Obama to win the election. “She has been doing this since the [Democratic] primaries,” Mwenda says.
“Something is about to go wrong in your country,” Mwenda warned me.
I know many people who read my column will assume I am only writing it to boost John McCain’s chances at the polls next week. Some of my critics have also assumed that I must have racist tendencies if I am not voting for Barack Obama.
They can assume what they want, but the truth is that I have made eight trips to Africa in the last seven years and it is my second home. I will return there in early 2009. If my situation allowed it I would move there permanently—I love the people, the culture and what the Holy Spirit is doing all over that beautiful continent.
This week I did my own informal poll of African church leaders in Nigeria and Kenya. What I found was that none of them support Obama. Like many American Christians, they are staunchly pro-life, they defend traditional marriage and they certainly do not support politicians who don’t take the threat of militant Islam seriously.
They have seen enough torched churches and amputated arms to know better. They have seen Christian children thrown into the bottom of wells to die. They have seen Shariah law cast a dark pall over whole regions. They have watched as Middle Eastern governments pour millions of dollars into their local economies to build mosques and infrastructure and to buy votes.
I asked Pastor Mwenda how American Christians should pray in light of this sobering information. He told me: “I am praying that Obama does not win the White House. It is never too late for God. We can turn the tide. We need to pray: ‘Our Father, Who art in heaven, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.’ We must not allow anything in this nation that is not in His will.”
J. Lee Grady is editor of Charisma. Many people responded to his column last week, and to the column by Kimberly Daniels that he attached to his message.
Editor's note: The original version of this column erroneously stated that there were 150,000 killed in Kenya's recent wave of post-election violence. The number was supposed to be 1,500. We regret the error. International news sources have reported various figures, some as low as 500 all the way to 1,500.