NCIC unveils surveillance gadgets to track hate speech

By  George Kithuka

The National Cohesion and Integration Commission will conduct strict surveillance on hate mongers during this electioneering period.

The Commission Chairman Francis Ole Kaparo says his team will applying multi-agency approach that will see cohesion monitors sent to all constituencies across the country armed with secret video and audio recorders for sustainable evidence against hate mongers.

Kaparo was speaking during the launch of the gadgets and induction training for 206 peace and cohesion monitors.

“We are not going back to election violence experienced in 2007. We are here because we have a country to protect, we must protect it” said the NCIC Chair.

The commission has however been unable to procure a high profile conviction on suspected hate monger in what has largely been attributed to lack of water tight evidence against suspects.

The NCIC will equally carry out a public sensitization programme to enlighten the public on the need to uphold integration and peaceful co-existence during and after the elections.

Kaparo clarified that abuses do not constitute hate speech.

” ‘Matusi’ (insults) between individuals is not hate speech, unless a community is mentioned” explained the chair.

Electoral body IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati says the commission – in conjunction with the Judiciary and the anti-corruption body EACC – were formulating regulations that will ensure people of questionable character and integrity are not allowed to in the ballot as par the dictates of chapter 6 of the constitution.

Since the arrest and the subsequent detention of some six politicians commonly referred to a Pangani 6, cases of public hate speech have been minimal.

For now many are hoping that the already charged political atmosphere will not degenerate into another ethnic animosity.