HUSTLERS VS DYNASTIES

Why state wants to stop DP Ruto hustler campaign

Top security advisory organ indirectly blames DP for incitement.

In Summary

• The DP has used the hustler narrative to fire up his frenetic 2022 presidential campaigns.

• Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua says police must approve all gatherings.

Deputy President William Ruto addresseS Meru residents on Sunday, October 4, 2020
CAMPAIGN: Deputy President William Ruto addresseS Meru residents on Sunday, October 4, 2020
Image: DPPS

The state has moved to slam the brakes on Deputy President William Ruto’s 'hustler' campaigns, accusing him of taking advantage of vulnerable youths to polarise Kenya.

In an indirect reference to the DP’s meetings, the National Security Advisory Committee warned against campaigns that it said were being used to incite millions of jobless youth.

“Sadly, some individuals are taking advantage of the vulnerabilities in our population occasioned by the socioeconomic shocks of Covid-19,” Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua said.

 

 The DP has used the hustler narrative to fire up his frenetic 2022 presidential campaign in what is seen as a direct political affront on President Uhuru Kenyatta and his political soulmate Raila Odinga.

Ruto has been dishing out goodies to hundreds of youths, from wheelbarrows to motorbikes, while asking them to shun the political elite whose parents had been at the helm of power.

In a clear signal that Uhuru and Ruto’s relationship is irretrievably broken, the top security advisory organ indirectly blamed Ruto for incitement.

 “These individuals, in an attempt to further their selfish agenda, are inciting the youth who are fearful of their future. They are attempting to radicalise the youth to the point where they have fought and in one tragic incident killed each other,” Kinyua said.

“The unchecked utterances and political weaponisation of public gatherings continue to undermine law and order within the country. This disregard of the law has triggered violent confrontations among different groupings, thus threatening national security.”

NSAC fired a warning salvo to those whose campaign messaging they said attacked personal rights that may trigger discrimination based on economic status.

According to the security organ, such speeches offend the National Cohesion and Integration Act, which bars speeches that “may trigger discrimination on the basis of ethnic background, economic status, race, religion or associations.”

 

The National Cohesion and Integration Commission on Sunday warned against the hustler versus dynasty narrative, saying the dichotomy is genocidal.

“We note, with deep concern, that the attacks and counterattacks have created space for threats of violence to emerge. Of significance is the hustler-dynasty dichotomy that mirrors the narrative that preceded the Rwanda Genocide,” said NCIC chairman Samuel Kobia.

Kinyua was flanked by Solicitor General Kennedy Ogeto, Police IG Hillary Mutyambai, Deputy Head of Public Service Wanyama Musiambo, Interior PS Karanja Kibicho and Foreign Affairs PS Macharia Kamau.

He directed that all public gatherings and processions, irrespective of social, political and economic status of those who convene them, must be approved by police at least three days in advance.

“The convener or any person intending to hold a public meeting or a public procession shall notify the OCS of such intent at least three days but not more than 14 days before the proposed date of the public meeting or procession,” Kinyua said.

In addition, the convener must always be present throughout the meetings or processions and shall assist the police in the maintenance of law and order at the event.

Wednesday’s security meeting came days after ODM leader Raila Odinga asked the state to stop the DP’s premature 2022 campaigns, which he warned are polarising the country.

Two people were killed following violence that marred Ruto’s event at Kenol in Murang’a county on Sunday.

However, it is not clear how the state intends to stop the DP’s frequent meetings with various youth and women's groups at his official residence in Karen, Nairobi, and in his rural home in Sugoi, Uasin Gishu.

Kinyua noted that the country was experiencing growing political tension that was creating division and pitting sections of politicians and their supporters against perceived opponents.

This situation, he added, was increasingly polarising the country along ethno-political lines and therefore undermining national cohesion, peace and security and derailing the government's transformative economic agenda.

Kinyua ordered that anybody who attends such gatherings must exercise a high sense of civic duty and responsibility and not to be in possession of any weapon.

They are also be required to be peaceful and nonviolent, stick to the venues of the events and report to the relevant authority incidents of hate speech, incitement to violence, ethnic contempt or any other offence.

Further, they will not abuse, exclude, demean, stereotype or profile other people or propagate insurgency and socio-economic hostility among Kenyans.

But in quick rejoinder, Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen, who is a close ally of the DP, downplayed Kinyua’s orders, saying that there is no such legal or constitutional body known as National Security Advisory Committee.

“Assuming there was one then it would only advice the National Security Council. NSC cannot obviously meet because of internal fights among its members," he said.

“Stop playing politics with our security. Greatest threat to our national security is deceit, wrangles and fights at the highest level of government and governing party. Kinyua statement is panic button for the side that has lost the public.”

However, PS Kibicho hit back, saying that elections are not a fight to the death, neither should political rallies be death traps.

“We've been through moments of political violence and we should never accept to go down that path again! GoK will do everything within the law to protect Kenyans against incitement to violence,” he tweeted.

In the raft of measures, Kinyua announced that all persons who address public gatherings shall be bound by the legal penalties and obligations set out in the National Cohesion and Integration Act.

The law bar speeches, utterances and messages that contain offensive, abusive, insulting, misleading, confusing, obscene or profane language.

They also prohibit use of inciting, threatening or discriminatory language that may or is intended to expose an individual or group of individuals to violence, hatred, hostility, discrimination or ridicule on the basis of ethnicity, tribe, race, colour, religion, gender or disability.

The Head of Public Service also sent out a stern warning to media houses and social media users against inflammatory publications and posts.

“That all media outlets shall be held responsible for all the content that they publish and or broadcast pursuant to Section 62 of the NCIC Act as read together with the guidelines for monitoring hate speech in the electronic media issued by the NCIC,” he said.

All social media users will also be individually liable for all content on their social media profile.

“In this regard, NSAC hereby directs the relevant security organs to enforce these directives without fear or favour to the offenders, regardless of their economic standing, ethnicity, religion and political association and status,” he said.

Edited by Henry Makori