NCIC warns politicians against zoning regions as strongholds

Wednesday March 1 2017

From left: Karatina University Vice-Chancellor Mucai Muchiri, National Cohesion and Integration Commissioner Gitile Naituli and the Swiss ambassador to Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Somalia, Raft Heckner, at the university in Nyeri on March 1, 2017. PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

From left: Karatina University Vice-Chancellor Mucai Muchiri, National Cohesion and Integration Commissioner Gitile Naituli and the Swiss ambassador to Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Somalia, Raft Heckner, at the university in Nyeri on March 1, 2017. PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By IRENE MUGO
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The National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) has warned politicians against zoning regions as their strongholds five months to the General Election.

According to its Commissioner Gitile Naituli, having political strongholds is a move aimed at dividing Kenya.

“Having a Jubilee or an opposition stronghold is a misunderstood concept that aims at manipulating the masses,” Prof Naituli said.

As a way of promoting cohesion and integrity in the country, Prof Naituli said all aspiring candidates should feel free to manoeuver in every part of the country and sell their agenda without fear as the body is protecting them.

“The commission has protected everyone vying for elective post in the coming elections and should not let a political definition of a particular region deter them from selling their agenda anywhere,” he said.

He was speaking at the first annual National Cohesion and Integration Commission conference, which was held at Karatina University in Nyeri on Wednesday.

Prof Naituli admitted to facing frustration from the legal setup in the country in their bid to combat hatemongering.

He said they have court cases of incitement and hatemongering because they rely on electronic evidence that is required by law but most journalists are not willing to record statements with the police.

'SUFFICIENT EVIDENCE'

“No one has ever been held accountable for propagating hate in the country because in our attempts to fish out the rot in society, the politicians are being bailed out for lack of sufficient evidence,” the commissioner said.

To counter this, he said, the NCIC has sent officials who will attend every political rally to capture hatemongers on video.

The NCIC is has acquired about 400 sets of electronic equipment, including 300 audio recorders, 47 camcorders, and 47 body-worn cameras, which area being used by at least 104 cohesion monitors.

“We have equipped our personnel to capture video clips of the hatemongers and incitements to violence. We are committed to ensure the country have a peaceful election and hold everyone accountable for a peaceful Kenya,” the commissioner said.

Prof Naituli said there was frustration by courts in the use of audio clips, which can can "easily be manipulated".

He said it would be hard for a judge to let a politician off the hook on an incitement charge if there is a video clip, as opposed to an audio clip, as evidence.

The commissioner was accompanied by the Swiss ambassador to Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Somalia, Raft Heckner, who urged Kenyans to maintain peace and religious tolerance to promote harmony.

Karatina University will hold the conference for the next two days in a bid to promote cohesion in cultural diversification.