Detectives told to be on guard against notorious hate mongers
Zadock Angira and Jeremiah Kiplang’at
The Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji yesterday put hate mongers on its radar, warning that they will face the full force of the law.
The DPP warned that his office will prosecute all cases of hate speech and directed detectives to pay special attention to hotspots within the country.
“Laws governing hate speech are very clear. We are ready to impartially prosecute depending on investigations done,” he said.
DPP spoke after directing the Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai to investigate Kitutu Chache South MP Richard Onyonka’s utterances at a public function in Kisii county over the weekend, which he said could have violated the Constitution.
This is after the lawmaker joined a growing list of politicians being fingered for spreading hate speech as the country heads to the August 9 General Election.
Onyonka said his community will respond in kind if anything was to happen to their members living in the Rift Valley.
He said they had learned lessons from 2007 and would not hesitate to defend themselves against any aggression.
And yesterday, Deputy President William Ruto’s allies demanded that the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) arrests the MP the way they did with Meru Senator Mithika Linturi.
“We want the speed and efficiency used to arrest Linturi to be equally employed to arrest Onyonka,” said Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua during the DP’s rally in Kericho yesterday.
On Saturday, Linturi sparked national outrage when he called on Uasin Gishu residents to remove “madoadoa” who do not support Ruto. He was swiftly arrested and is expected in court this morning.
And yesterday, Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malalah failed to appear before NCIC after he was summoned for vowing to stop ODM leader Raila Odinga from attending a meeting at Bukhungu stadium on December 31.
Yesterday, Haji advised detectives from NCIC and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to focus more on hotspots and ensure officers are always on the ground.
“The threshold for such cases is very high and the prosecution has to prove that the utterances are authentic and most importantly, were meant to incite,” he said.
DPP’s warning came as it is becoming clear hate-mongering is slowly creeping into the heated political environment with seven months to the General election raising fears the country might easily slide into a slippery path it once found itself in after the disputed 2007 presidential results.
Institutions that have often been put on the spot for treating hate speech matter with kid gloves are the DPP, NCIC and DCI.
In September 2020, Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi and Emurua Dikirr counterpart Johanna Ngeno were arrested and charged for remarks passed to have been injurious to the First family. Their cases are pending in court.