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‘Even science needs God’: Uhuru defends prayers for coronavirus

President Uhuru Kenyatta on Saturday led the nation in a National Prayer Day against the coronavirus pandemic and defended it saying that prayers were important.

Speaking at the tail end of the ceremony, the president said the country should come together and pray as the number of those infected climbed to over 280,000 people around the world.

Last Wednesday, President Kenyatta declared Saturday a National Day of Prayer amid the worldwide outbreak of the new coronavirus. On Saturday, he was forced to defend prayers to doubters.

“It is good to come together and pray as a nation…I know there are those who are saying that we should depend on science not prayers but I want to assure you that even science needs God. We need to always remember that a nation prospers when a nation believes and trusts in its maker,” he said.

The President hosted the prayer service at State House, which brought together leaders from across the political divide and different religious affiliations.

“Today is our day as Kenyans, a day we have chosen to come together to give thanks for all that God has done for us, seek His forgiveness for anything we may have done wrong individually and collectively, to ask for His favour in the face of the challenges that we have,” the President added.

The event was attended by Deputy President William Ruto; former Prime Minister Raila Odinga; Cabinet Secretaries; Speakers of the National Assembly and the Senate; Council of Governors Chairman Wycliffe Oparanya; Central Organization of Trade Unions (COTU) Secretary General Francis Atwoli; Kalonzo Musyoka and Musalia Mudavadi among others.

Critics have slammed the President’s proclamation of a National Prayer Day, arguing that Kenya is not in trouble because people were not praying, but because of a public health crisis exacerbated by a government that has not taken the health sector seriously.

“Prayers won’t help Kenya combat the coronavirus pandemic. Let’s stop this superstition and return to science. This primordialism and naivete could wipe us off the face of the map,” Sunday Nation columnist Prof Makau Mutua tweeted.

Mr Kenyatta’s move is similar to calls for prayers by other world leaders. Uganda held similary prayers at State House.