DPP warns civil servants and inciters as election date nears
Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) yesterday directed the anti-corruption agency (EACC) to investigate civil servants using State resources to engage in political campaigns.
DPP Noordin Haji also said the agency was investigating cases where videos and photos are intentionally edited with a deliberate aim of causing hatred, fear and intolerance among others.
“We have the reports and have directed the EACC to investigate the reports,” DPP said.
Sheila Masinde of Transparency International said her organiasation had documented 1,200 cases in which civil servants and politicians were using State funds, government resources and institutions, among others to campaign.
The DPP spoke as the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) charged the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) to take action against Mombasa governor Ali Hassan Joho and Suna East MP Junet Mohamed for allegedly editing and circulating a video clip on social media portraying Deputy President William Ruto as an inciter of ethnic divisions.
“This video is choreographed version intended to cause , elicit and spread hate, incitement to violence, ethnic discrimination and disharmony. The video is also intentionally edited with a deliberate aim and objective to cause ethnic hatred, fear and intolerance during this peak political season,” read a statement signed by the UDA party Secretary General Veronica Maina.
Haji spoke during the launch of a 24-hour call centre where members of the public can report any election offence and get guidance.
The toll-free lines - +254110939802 and 0800723377 –also seek to bring justice closer to Kenyans in need of legal service with regards to prosecution of cases.
Haji said the call centre would bridge the gap between what is happening on the ground and what is reported to the police.
“We will also feed in reports from media and other sources. This will bridge the gap especially where people complain a crime has been committed but action has not been taken by the police,” he said.
The mapping tool will also help the agencies establish counties where more crimes are reported and the action be taken, including referring to another agency.
The information will appear in real time and also captures the case details, name of the suspect, charge sheet, name of the prosecutor, among other things.
Haji warned that there was a likelihood of a surge in crime as criminals take advantage of the electioneering period.
The launch was attended by Benson Shamalla of International Justice Mission (IJM), Houghton Irungu of Amnesty International, Julie Matheka of International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), Hussein Khalid of Haki Africa, and the representative of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
Already, over 150 special prosecutors have been trained on handling hate speech, election offences and human rights violations.
According to DPP Noordin Haji, the training is crucial in ensuring efficient reporting and mapping of potential hotspots in the country during elections, enhanced collation and gathering of data as well as ensure formulation of responsive policies and timely interventions by his office.
In preparations for next week’s general election, several other measures have been put in place including establishing the Hate Speech and Election preparedness division, the launch of the compendium of electoral justice, and the drafting of the guidelines on prevention against torture during elections.
This would enhance collation and gathering of information and data, as well as well as ensuring formulation of responsive policies and timely interventions by his office. The Independent Elections and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) is collaborating with the ODPP in handling offences arising during elections, including procurement of witnesses.
In an earlier interview, the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) CEO, Dr Skitter Ocharo highlighted hate speech and ethnic contempt as key areas of concern saying everyone should work on accelerating the achievement of political and social rights.
“We need all stakeholders, including the media to assist us by providing NCIC and the ODPP with evidence of hate speech and ethnic contempt while covering politicians,” she said.