hate speech

NCIC raises concern over hate speech, incitement by politicians

NCIC ready to tame hate speech and ethnic contempt

In Summary

•The cohesion commission has raised concerns about the increased cases of hate speech, incitement and political intolerance ahead of the 2022 General Elections

•The NCIC chairman disclosed the commission has deployed a robust detection, reporting and investigation mechanism to nab hatemongers.

NCIC chairman Samuel Kobia
NCIC chairman Samuel Kobia
Image: FILE

The Cohesion commission has raised concerns about the increased cases of hate speech, incitement and political intolerance ahead of the 2022 General Elections.

In addition, the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) has raised a red flag over the escalating ethnic violence in Marsabit, Turkana and West Pokot.

Speaking when he appeared before the senate Cohesion committee on Monday, NCIC chairman Samuel Kobia said that politicians have started beating drums of war by inciting their supporters in what he fears may spark violence.

However, Kobia sent a warning shot to the political class, saying those  hell-bent on propagating hate and ethnic contempt will face full force of the law.

He revealed the commission has put in place strategies to curb and tame hatemongers during the upcoming by-elections and General elections in 2022.

“Ethnic discrimination and harassment have been a structural cause of conflict while hate speech and ethnic contempt have been triggers of violence,” Kobia said.

The chairman disclosed the commission has deployed a robust detection, reporting and investigation mechanism to nab hatemongers.

NCIC, he said, has stationed dedicated officers, equipped with recording gadgets to monitor public rallies and social gatherings for detection of hate speech and incitement to violence.

“The commission has established a portal to monitor social media for detection of offences under the NCI Act,” Kobia said.

Further, the commission has elaborate enforcement mechanism other than prosecution as provided for in the NCI Act.

NCIC also conducts training of investigators and prosecutors on detection and prosecution of hate speech, and ethnic contempt.

“The mechanism relies on a digital complaint reporting platform affixed on the organizational website, a dedicated complaints desk at the Commission headquarters and the integrated public complaints referral mechanism,” he reckoned.

Concerning the deadly clashes in parts of the country, Kobia disclosed that the conflicts are still raging in Marsabit, West Pokot and Turkana despite efforts to contain the situation.

“The conflict still rages on and there is need for the security agencies to quickly restore sanity and calm."

However, the chair said relative calm has returned in Isiolo, Wajir and Garissa after the Commission facilitated joint meeting of security team and political leaders as well peace committees and elders at the grassroots level.

The counties have been experiencing sporadic ethnic violence in what the commission says has been caused by myriads of factors that have resulted in loss of lives, displacement of communities, destruction of property and theft of hundreds of thousands of livestock.

“Majorly the causes of conflict are caused by boundary disputes, politics and political supremacy, scarce resources and incitement by politicians, "he said.

“The conflict is further aggravated by existence of well-armed ethnic militia, proliferation of small arms and light weapons, bias in provision of security and laxity by the security agencies,”  Kobia.