Welcome move on hate mongers
The government has rolled out an elaborate plan to maintain peace during elections.
The kind of resource put in the special team to clamp down on hate speech is massive; all because many politicians and their supporters espouse hate.
Made up of multi-agency government officials, the team is supposed to identify hate speech and prosecute the offenders.
In a society that relishes information and that can exercise tolerance, such resources could have been channelled elsewhere.
However, officials from the ministries of Interior, Information and Communications Technology and National Treasury, the Attorney General’s office, the Inspector General of Police, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) and the Communications Authority are going to monitor utterances by politicians.
Kenyans don’t have to look far for examples of ethnic profiling and hate. The Deputy President, a symbol of national unity, was at the weekend a victim of hate. While on a tour of Busia County his motorcade was stoned by a group of youths.
Politicians, including Members of Parliament, have appeared on social media profiling communities and threatening them with consequences if they do not toe their line. A rather primitive way of selling agenda and manifestos.
In one such video an MP has singled out members of a community whom the politician accuses of imaginary crimes, forgetting that the constituency has experienced electoral retribution because of similar balderdash.
The formation of a new multi-agency team, while a seemingly routine undertaking, is a serious indictment of the Cohesion Commission, whose mandate is to promote national unity, equity and the elimination of all forms of ethnic discrimination.
It is supposed to facilitate equality of opportunities, peaceful resolution of conflict and respect for diversity among Kenyan communities.
That we are where we are is because NCIC has failed to execute its mandate.
The commissioners say, reasonably, that they do not have adequate powers and resources to end hate speech.
Can it show what it has done with the little it has? On its website, it paints a rosy picture of what it has achieved but the claims are rather superficial.
We call on the commission to exercise its core mandate with renewed vigour while the new team should demonstrate that there is no room for hate or profiling in the country.
Politicians and society should love knowledge and listen to what their opponents are selling.