End Political And Ethnicity Bigotry In Kenya: Systemic Incitement To Violence and Hate Speech

NAIROBI, JULY, 10,2015/ The Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) is deeply concerned about the systemic intolerance in the country which manifests itself in the form of politically instigated: ethnicity bigotry, repressive tendencies, hate speech, communal and organised violence among others injustices. A case in point is the recent inflammatory speech by Gatundu South Member of Parliament, Hon. Moses Kuria who, reckless and irresponsible in his utterances, has been recorded encouraging youth in his constituency to slash with machetes critics of the national youth service (NYS) project in the constituency. It is more disconcerting that the MP, who is a state officer and who has previously been bonded by a court to keep the peace has remained unapologetic.

Such a hateful conduct is extremely dishorable, untenable and inimical to the provisions of the Constitution of Kenya among other laws and policies. Article 10 on National Values and Principles recognizes and defines what Kenya stands for as a Nation. Though Article 33 of the Constitution of Kenya provides that every person has the right to freedom of expression, this right is however not absolute and cannot be used violate the rights of other persons. More so when its used by elected representatives to incite people violence and advocate for hatred .

Moreover, Section 13 and Section 65 of the National Cohesion and Integration Act 2008 define and prohibit hate speech expressly. The Act defines hate speech as the use of threatening, abusive or insulting words or behavior, the publishing or distribution of any written material, the presenting or directing of a performance and the providing, producing or directing a programme which stirs up ethnic hatred. Section 62 provides that any person who is guilty of hate speech shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding one million shillings, or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years, or both.”

The Penal Code prohibits incitement to violence. Section 77(1) provides;
“Any person who does or attempts to do, or makes any preparation to do, or conspires with any person to do any act with a subversive intention, or utters any words with a subversive intention, is guilty of an offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding seven years” subversion is defined under Section 77(3) as; supporting, propagating or advocating for any act that is prejudicial to public order and incitement to violence.

It is against this backdrop that KHRC condemns the said utterances of Hon Moses Kuria in Gatundu. The KHRC would like to remind Hon Moses Kuria and all leaders that the freedom of expression, though guaranteed under the Constitution, should not be used to incite for violence and infringe on the rights of others. Chapter 6 of the Constitution which addresses leadership and integrity provides that, authority assigned to a state officer is a public trust which should be exercised in a manner that demonstrates respect for the people and brings honour to the Nation and dignity and integrity to the office.

We would like to applaud the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) for condemning this abominable behavior and calling for concerted efforts to have the culprit brought to book. We thank the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) for launching an investigation on these unfortunate utterances. We call upon the DPP to undertake due diligence-expedite these investigations and take all necessary measures to ensure that Hon. Moses Kuria faces the full force of law in regards to his gross misconduct.

KHRC would also like to commend the public for their positive outrage which has generated responses from relevant government bodies including action by political parties and Legislators. We would like to encourage the people of Kenya to remain cohesive, vigilant and fearless in demanding for accountability in the use of state resources among other governance process. This will embolden safeguards

to national integration and respect for the rule of law.

Finally, it is our hope that the law shall take its full cause and that this unfortunate incident will no only be a lesson to Hon. Moses Kuria but it will also act as deterrence to other leaders against hate speech and incitement to political violence. For such mediocre conduct and leadership is what almost plunged the country into the blink of precipice during the 2007/2008 political violence.

We are optimistic that Kenyans will continue to question ethnic patronage which is aimed at furthering ethnocentrism. Ethnocentrism and ethnic political mobilizations remains a great barrier to cohesion and integration of the nation. All energies and efforts must be exerted

towards creating a Kenya that is of sound democracy founded on due respect of the law and political consensus to build and promote pluralism .

 

 

Signed by Davis Malombe,

Ag. Executive Director

 

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