The National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) is investigating 273 cases of hate mongering on the social media. Francis Ole Kaparo, the chair of the NCIC emphasises that tolerance and Peace during elections are paramount. “We cannot compromise on peace as this hurts everyone regardless of political affiliations.” Kaparo said after the verdict by the Supreme Court annulling the presidential election results, there has been an upsurge of hate discussion amongst Kenyans. “As of Friday, we were investigating 273 cases of hate-mongering in the social media. I believe the number has probably doubled as we are sitting here,” he told a press conference. “We must reject divisive politics therefore, desist from hate speech. Social Media is a wash with hate mongering,” he added. He also urged the public to report threats and incidences to their free SMS platforms 15666 or 108. In Kenya, the laws on hate speech relate to the freedom of expression. The National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) Act further extends the definition of hate speech.
Laws that define hate speech Article 33(2) subsection (c) of the Constitution states that the right to freedom of expression does not extend to hate speech. Section 13 of the NCIC Act forms the basis of a more formidable explanation for hate speech laws. Section 13(1) defines hate speech as follows:
Use of threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour; Display of any written material; Publication or distribution of written material; presenting or directing the performance of the public performance of a play; distributing, showing or playing, a recording of visual images; or providing, producing or directing a programme, Which is threatening, abusive or insulting or; Involves the use of threatening, abusive, or insulting words or behavior; Which intends to stir up ethnic hatred, or Having regard to all the circumstances – is likely to stir up ethnic hatred. Under this section, the punishment for hate speech is a fine not exceeding one million shillings or an imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or both.
NCIC Act clarifies that “ethnic hatred “under section 13 means hatred against a group of persons defined by reference to color, race, nationality (including citizenship) or ethnic or national origins.
David Indeje is a writer and editor, with interests on how technology is changing journalism, government and society. He has been practicing Journalism since 2008. Environment, Agriculture Business, Health and Gender Development stories are his passion.David can be reached on: (020) 528 0222
Email: [email protected]