36 social media accounts on NCIC radar as it tightens noose on hate speech

National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) has declared an all-out war against hate speech as the country gears up for the August 9 General election.

With just four months to go, the commission has tightened measures notably the publishing and banning a list of Kiswahili, English and vernacular words that constitute coded hate speech.

While giving an update on the State of Peace and Political Decency in the Run Up to the August polls, the commission Friday said it had its focus on social media platforms that are fanning the vice.

So far the commission has presented nice cases before the court while the 27 others were still under investigation.

According to NCIC Chair Dr Samaule Kobia, 36 social media accounts propagating hate speech and incitement are being monitored with the main perpetrators listed as Azimio la Umoja and Kenya Kwanza followers.

“We have noted with concern increase inflammatory attacks, ethnic contempt and hate speech- by prominent political leaders; cascaded to their followers within public spaces – markets, funerals, other social gatherings,” he said.

Kobia further disclosed that said they had accepted ODM leader Raila Odinga’s request to honour the commission’s summons over his madoadoa remarks in Wajir last week at a later date when he is back from his UK visit.

He described Raila as a statesman and a law-abiding leader who had apologised publicly despite his status.

He said the increasing use of the tag by politicians which is largely interpreted to mean non-locals was causing discord among communities living along the borders and settlements.

“First I must assure you that the NCIC summoned the Rt. Honorable Raila Odinga over his statements mentioning the term madoadoa.. That initiated a comprehensive investigation and we continue to promise Kenyans that as far as it is within the purview of our institution no fish will be too big to fry” he said

Five more counties have also been mapped out as political hot spots over inter-communal conflicts.

Those under watch are Kisumu, Kericho and Nandi counties; Koguta (on Muhoroni/ Kericho border); Londiani Fortenan, Sondu, (the neighbouring communities in this region) Nyagacho (Informal settlement in Kericho, Chebao area in Litein Ward, Bureti sub-county and Kasoit ward in Ainamoi sub-county.

“We urge the security teams to be alert and deal with criminals and individuals behind the inter-communal conflicts, occasioned by stock theft and incitements. We are aware of the objective behind such vices, is to cause internal displacements” said Kobia.

The commission however said its scaled-up efforts to foster peace had paid off assuring the country was enjoying relative peace and calm except for a few incidences “that it deems as triggers of violence and conflict if not tamed”.

A multi-agency team is already in place to tackle incidences of hate speech during the electioneering period.

“The NCIC will be meeting with all key stakeholders within the investigative, prosecutorial and judicial sectors to streamline the curbing of any possible violence in the country. As you have heard already we are monitoring all TV, radio and social media to ensure we are aware of what is going on” he explained.

The commission which last year launched a peace advocacy campaign dubbed “Uchaguzi Bila Noma 2022, has looped in the inter-religious council to craft messages of peace that will be read out in places of worship.

  

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