Cohesion commission on the spot over failure to tame hate speech

Tuesday, January 11th, 2022 00:00 | By
NCIC vice chair Wambui Nyutu.

National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) is once again on the spot over its failure to crack down on hate mongers.

Saturday’s “weed out madoadoa” utterances by Meru senator Mithika Linturi during a rally hosted by Deputy President William Ruto in Eldoret town have put the hate speech watchdog in sharp focus.

Critics are quick to fault NCIC for belatedly “summoning” Linturi to appear before it for questioning today (Tuesday) only after a public outrage saw the senator arrested by police on Sunday, suggesting a serious lack of urgency and non-appreciation of the weight of the offensive utterances on national security.  

“Their (NCIC) performance is way below average, they have failed to discharge their mandate.

It’s surprising that anyone on the streets can point out the most consistent hate speech mongers in the country but NCIC doesn’t seem to know them,” said political analyst Peter Ng’ethe.

NCIC vice chair Wambui Nyutu also appeared to admit that the commission has not met the public’s expectations in the delivery of its mandate.

She, however, rubbished claims that the commission has failed, instead accusing NCIC critics of impatience.

“NCIC is not a toothless dog and Kenyans will know this the day that we finish the cases that are before court. We have close to 15 active cases before court and we must remember that courts take time before decisions are made. At the moment, we have only had two convictions in the past cases which are as old as from 2012 and 2013 only that they were not involving high profile people to make it to the newspapers,” she said.

But NCIC’s critics maintain that whereas the commission has appeared to take some action following public outcry, its failure to secure convictions has eroded public confidence.

More, leaders cited of hate speech have also demonstrated open contempt for the commission, notably Nominated Senator Millicent Omanga who in 2020 caused drama at its offices after being summoned over hate speech.

Dead asleep

Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria who has been charged severally over incitement in March last year told off the commission after it summoned him, saying it was a waste of time and that the body should be disbanded.

Former Mukurwe-ini MP Kabando wa Kabando did not mince his words, saying NCIC was dead asleep.

“Kudos ODPP and police for swift action on my friend Mithika Linturi. Advisedly, he had already apologised for recklessness though he still must face the law. But DPP & IG show job independence by punishing others who’ve uttered similar #Madoadoa hate too. Is NCIC asleep?” he wondered. 

Just last week, controversial televangelist David Ngare, popularly known as Gakuyo, used hateful words against a Nominated Member of County Assembly during a county function in Thika in what has been linked to Thika politics.

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