The Pokomo community of Tana River County is a happy lot following the official dedication of the Holy Bible translated into the community’s language.
Songs and dance filled the air at the Idsowe African Inland Church (AIC), where a number of bishops from various Christian denominations in the Coast region dedicated the Bible at a colourful event attended by hundreds of members of the Pokomo community.
The fete was witnessed by, among others, Senate Speaker Amason Kingi, Tana River Governor Dhadho Godhana, Senators Danson Mungatana (Tana River), and Rafael Chimera (nominated), who lauded the Bible Translation and Literacy (BTL) organisation for its efforts to ensure the Bible is translated in local languages.
BTL National Director Peter Munguti said it had taken 38 years to translate the Christian Holy Scriptures into the Pokomo language, an exercise that he said cost more than Sh140 million to complete.
Munguti said the work of translating the Bible into local languages is a very complicated task, saying that was why it had taken 38 years to complete the Pokomo Bible.
“It is not only complicated and tedious, but it also takes a lot of financial resources. I want to thank God for those who have stood by this project. For the past 38 years, we have spent over Sh140 million on the actual translation, and God is faithful as He provided all that,” he said.
He said the organisation had spent more financial resources on the literacy programmes it was running in the project and urged the Pokomo to consider the Bible in their own language as very valuable as it had cost a lot of money and sweat.
Munguti said BTL was in the process of making the Bible in audio format so that it can be accessed over the internet around the world for use in discipleship, worship, and the total transformation of people’s lives.
Kingi lauded BTL and its partners for the work they are doing to translate the Bible into local languages, including his local Giriama Bible, which was officially dedicated about two years ago. He said this would go a long way in ensuring that Christians are not misled by the misinterpretation of scriptures written in other languages.
He urged Pokomo Christians to use the Bible in their own language to understand the Word of God and thus avoid being cheated by false prophets who exploit the ignorance of their followers for their personal gain.
“Through a Bible like this one, the problem we faced in Shakahola will not be witnessed in Pokomo Land, and I urge Christian leaders to jealously guard the integrity of the church.
“As bishops and pastors who have been called by God to help humanity receive eternal life, do not allow false prophets to soil the good name of the Christian religion,” he said.
The senator urged parents to teach their children the Word of God to protect them from false teachings like those that led to the deaths of hundreds of controversial preachers, including Paul Mackenzie.
Mungatana, who is the chairman of the special Senate Committee investigating the Shakahola deaths, said his committee would ask for more time next week to be able to interview more witnesses in order to write a comprehensive report on the matter.
Pokomo community members interviewed expressed joy that they can now read the Bible in their own language and thanked the translators for the painstaking work.
By Emmanuel Masha