Uhuru and Ruto warned over hate speech at rallies
Posted Saturday, April 2 2011 at 22:00
- Security ministry has identified MPs inciting communities against certain leaders and could summon them to record statements
- Internal Security PS says the government will summon leaders who incite communities against others in political rallies
The government has warned politicians engaging in hate speech and inciting communities in the flurry of activities touched off by summonses issued against the Ocampo Six.
Internal Security permanent secretary Francis Kimemia told the Sunday Nation that the government had identified a number of politicians who are suspected of violating the law.
Those targeted by investigators will be summoned to explain their divisive statements.
He said the ministry in collaboration with the National Cohesion and Integration Commission would not hesitate to “charge war lords and inciters in court irrespective of who they are”.
“We met with the chairman of the National Cohesion and Integration Commission on Friday and we have marked the people who are inciting the public. We’ll be writing to them beginning next week to come and explain their statements,” said Mr Kimemia.
The PS said Kenya’s stability and peace are greater than the interests of individuals bent on creating mayhem.
It also emerged that the National Cohesion and Integration Commission could soon be prosecuting politicians who made inciting statements during a tour of Kiambu County by Finance minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Eldoret Noth MP William Ruto and their allies.
The government is particularly concerned about the speeches because it was the same type of language that was used by politicians in the run-up to the 2007 elections and which helped to touch off the violence that left more than 1,300 people dead and hundreds of thousands displaced.
NCIC chairman Mzalendo Kibunjia said the commission had received a complaint about statements made during the Friday tour and has also collected its own evidence.
“We had our people at those rallies and we have the information we need. We have sent others to Bomet (where a rally was held on Saturday),” said Mr Kibunjia.
The Hague-bound Mr Ruto and Mr Kenyatta have gone all out in their war of words against Prime Minister Raila Odinga over their summonses by the International Criminal Court.
“They seem to be pursuing a scorched earth policy but they should not leave us divided even as they go. It’s not helping their cause in any way,” said Mr Kibunjia.
But the NCIC could be accused of taking too long to act on dangerous speech despite blatant violations of the law.
“I don’t think we are helpless. I know Kenyans would want to see action immediately but we need to get solid evidence before we can take anybody to court,” said Mr Kibunjia.
Hate speech has increased with the furore created around the summonses to the Ocampo Six over their alleged roles in the violence that followed the bungled 2007 General Election.
Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto are on the final leg of “prayer tours” around the country ahead of their departure to The Hague, Netherlands, later this week. They are scheduled to hold a rally in Nakuru on Sunday.
MPs who accompanied the two on their tour through Kiambu County on Friday made statements that could amount to the kind of talk banned by the law.
Most of the statements were directed at Mr Odinga, who has in recent times emerged as their strongest rival and whom the two are seeking to fight at the polls next year.