We’re probing 43 cases of hate speech, 2 are in court – NCIC

NCIC said it received 67 cases in total between April and June this year.

In Summary
  • Regarding social media platforms, the Commission said it flagged a total of 268 cases.
  • They include 44 cases on discrimination, 24 on incitement, 6 on hate speech, 93 on misinformation and 68 on disinformation.
NCIC chairman Samuel Kobia
NCIC chairman Samuel Kobia
Image: FILE

The National Cohesion and Integration Commission is investigating 43 cases of hate speech reported between April and June this year as it seeks to foster peaceful co-existence in the country.

In a statement on Wednesday, the commission said the cases are at various stages of investigation.

It said the cases are part of 67 reports which were made in the last quarter.

“Two are before the court, 13 have been concluded and 13 others were conciliated under the NCIC Act 2008 provisions,” NCIC said on X.

“Regarding social media platforms, the commission flagged 44 cases on discrimination, 24 on incitement, six on hate speech, 93 on misinformation and 68 on disinformation - totaling 268 cases,” it added.

NCIC further urged the public to report cases likely to incite feelings of contempt, hatred, violence, discrimination and also those likely to affect harmonious coexistence in the country.

It said the cases should be reported through a toll-free Short Message Service (SMS) number 1547.

“We have a toll-free number 1547 where members of the public can report cases of hate speech and ethnic contempt,” NCIC said.

This comes after the commission summoned Daadab Member of Parliament to appear before it on Thursday following his utterances on the Gen Z demonstrations against the Finance Bill.

NCIC works at promoting national unity, equity and the elimination of all forms of ethnic discrimination.

It also facilitates peaceful resolution of conflicts and respect for diversity among Kenyan communities.

It has, however, come under heavy criticism over the years for being a toothless dog for failing to crack the whip on politicians propagating hate speech and other hate mongers.

NCIC has over the years fought to lose the ‘toothless dog’ tag since its establishment under the National Cohesion and Integration Act No.12 of 2008.

In the run-up to the 2022 August polls, the Commission said it had working closely with the Ethics Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) on integrity issues and warned that those involved in hate and inciting speeches would not be cleared for the elections.

It would recommend to the EACC not to issue integrity certificates to politicians who would fail to abide by values of cohesion, it said then.

Back in July 2021, former nominated senator Judith Pareno introduced a bill that sought to rename NCIC and give it more powers to rein in hate mongers.

The National Cohesion and Peace Building Bill, 2021 sought to repeal the NCIC Act to rename the Commission to National Cohesion and Peace Building Commission.

The Bill was tabled for first reading on July 6, 2021.

It said the renamed commission would publish names of persons or institutions whose words or conduct undermine national unity and cohesion.

“The commission shall summon witnesses and call for production of books, plans and other documents and to examine witnesses and parties on oath,” the bill read in part.

In its statement on Wednesday, NCIC encouraged Kenyans to report all forms of hate speech that are likely to incite feelings of contempt, hatred, hostility, violence, or discrimination, and affect harmonious coexistence in Kenya.

Such cases, it said, can be reported via toll-free SMS number 1547.

The NCIC is committed to ensuring Kenya remains a peaceful society and that the gains made over the last years are solidified.

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