Commission rolls out firm campaign to contain haters

Friday, January 15th, 2021 00:00 |
President Uhuru Kenyatta receives the BBI report from the taskforce vice chair Adams Oloo at Kisii State Lodge on Wednesday. With them is ODM party leader Raila Odinga. Photo/PD/GERALD ITHANA

National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) has unveiled a campaign to tame hate speech during the looming Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) referendum and 2022 election campaigns.

NCIC also warned of a possibility of violence and chaos as the 2022 General Election inches closer.

The commission chaired by Rev Samuel Kobia warned that if nothing is done to curb a rise in cases of hate speech, political temperatures may rise to dangerous levels.

In an interview with People Daily yesterday, Commissioner Danvas Makori said the commission has raised its antennae and has already put in place an elaborate strategy to tame hate mongering.

“We have plans and strategies already. We believe that prevention is better than cure.

So rather than wait until it happen, we believe we can do something now to prevent hate speech and incitements,” said Makori.

He disclosed that the commission has lined-up a series of conferences and sensitization fora with the politicians and aspirants both local and national level ahead of the referendum drive.

The commission, he said, has scheduled town hall meetings, barazas and village fora to sensitize the public and especially on the need to maintain peace during and after the polls.

Makori said that the commission was targeting vulnerable youths in Nairobi, Mombasa and Nakuru, especially those living in volatile slum areas.

NCIC at the same time released statistics indicating that it has handled 434 hate cases since 2017.

According to the document, a total of 185 were reported in 2017 alone – the election year in which a presidential results were nullified by the Supreme Court – with 85 and 75 reported in 2018 and 2019 respectively.

Three cases have so far been reported to the commission this year. Of the cases, 129 relate to ethnic contempt while hate speech accounts for 92 cases. Cases of discrimination are 69 and incitements 61.

The commission has secured six convictions in court with 12 cases currently pending in various courts across the country.

Others have been acquitted, reconciled or withdrawn by complaints.

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