Kenya’s VP under hate speech probe

December 10, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 10 – The National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) on Friday said it was evaluating statements made by Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka that allegedly border on hate speech.

NCIC Chairman Mzalendo Kibunjia explained that his commission was waiting for transcripts from the media houses that recorded the Vice President’s remarks in Eldoret over the weekend.

It is alleged that during the said meeting Mr Kalonzo made some statements that could incite ethnical tensions.

“We don’t even have a transcript of what happened… if matters come to our attention we take them up and for the Vice President we already made a statement and we will see where it goes from there. We will issue a statement when we are ready,” said Dr Kibunjia.

The gathering was attended by Eldoret North Member of Parliament William Ruto, Central Kenya Parliamentary Group Chairman Ephraim Maina, assistant minister Lina Jebii Kilimo, and other local leaders.

And although the meeting was meant to be a religious function, it ended up being political with those in attendance focusing their attention on the International Criminal Court (ICC) process.

The leaders claimed that the ICC investigations were a political tool meant to sway the 2012 general election outcome in the Prime Minister’s favor.

But this is what the VP said, during the meeting, in part:

“The people of Rift Valley believe that their side of the story will win so don’t waste time trying to convince them that they did not win. But one thing we are sure about is that they are thankful to God that whatever happened, did not happen.” 

Meanwhile Dr Kibunjia called on all institutions charged with prosecuting persons found guilty of inciting tribal anxieties to play their part.

He further blamed Attorney General Amos Wako and the police for stalling the prosecution process saying they were mark timing on his commission’s recommendations to arrest and prosecute Trade Minister Chirau Ali Mwakwere over hate speech.

“The AG comes in during the prosecution; for example in Mr Mwakwere’s case we are still waiting for him to prosecute. The AG said he was investigating the issue but we (NCIC) thought we had given enough evidence so we have no control over what happened,” he said.

Mr Mwakwere’s hate speech issue came up in Parliament in August. At that time the AG was questioned over why he had not acted on the recommendations by the NCIC and after giving his response, he promised to conclude the matter in two weeks. He has since remained mum. 

Dr Kibunjia however added that the integration commission was not keen on asking for independent powers to prosecute.

“People have been saying ‘oh you should have prosecution powers’ but we say we shouldn’t have them because when you have powers concentrated on one institution, you can easily misuse them,” he said.

He also warned the country’s leaders (regardless of their positions in society) against making inflammatory remarks as it risked dividing people along social and tribal lines.

“Show clear leadership in the country’s quest for sustainable cohesion and peaceful coexistence for the sake of our country,” he said adding that Kenyans should not allow themselves to be unduly manipulated.


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