Hate speech: NCIC to give police recorders

Sunday January 17 2016

National Cohesion and Integration Commission Chairman Francis Ole Kaparo addresses a joint reconciliatory meeting between Luo and Nandi communities on January 16, 2016 after deadly border clashes. Activists are worried about ethnicisation of upcoming Nairobi County elections in 2017.PHOTO | TONNY OMONDI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

National Cohesion and Integration Commission Chairman Francis Ole Kaparo addresses a joint reconciliatory meeting between Luo and Nandi communities on January 16, 2016 after deadly border clashes. Activists are worried about ethnicisation of upcoming Nairobi County elections in 2017.PHOTO | TONNY OMONDI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By MOSES ODHIAMBO
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The National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) plans to train police officers on how to detect hate speech.

Mr Francis ole Kaparo, the commission’s chairman, said in Kisumu on Friday that the police officers will be given voice recorders with which to collect evidence.

Mr Kaparo said the training will start in Kisumu before spreading to other counties.

This comes in the wake of increased public outcry over politicians who are fond of making inflammatory remarks.

Mr Kaparo said the cohesion team is also working on amendments to the NCIC Act in a bid to give the commission additional powers.

He said that they were already monitoring cases of incitement on social and mainstream media.

“There has been terrible incitement emanating from the social media and mainstream media. We will invoke the NCIC Act to deal with these criminal offences that are technology-related,” Mr Kaparo said.

“We will also deal with situations where hatemongers have been given space to make statements that threaten the peace of the country in mainstream media,” he said.

SH1 MILLION FINE

According to the Act, anyone found guilty of propagating hate speech risks a maximum of Sh1 million fine or a one-year jail term.

“We will also go to Parliament to make changes that will make  hate speech laws stronger,” Mr Kaparo said.

“We know there will be hysterical behaviour in the 2017 elections which are likely to mirror those which have always led the country to violence,” he said.

He said that the commission would meet with official of various government agencies, especially those concerned with the management of elections, to ensure the next elections are peaceful.

The commission intends to hold joint meetings with the Kenya Police, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

Mr Kaparo said they will also meet the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) officials, chief justice and registrar of political parties.

“We are doing all this since we must go through an election in an atmosphere of civilised people. All leadership in Kenya must agree to abide by the rules of the game during campaigns,” Mr Kaparo said.

The former speaker was in Kisumu to lead peace talks between Kalenjins and Luos living along the Kisumu-Nandi border where deadly clashes broke out recently.

At the meeting, it emerged that the clashes, which left five people dead and many others injured, were fanned by statements made on social media.

The NCIC boss said they have sought funding from the Treasury in a bid to employ peace monitors in all counties.