Police get gadgets to monitor hate speech

July 26, 2012 1:52 pm
He said police do not have guidelines on how to handle demonstrators especially when they turn violent/FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 26 – The National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) on Thursday launched a programme to monitor hate speech during political periods in Kenya.

Speaking during a two-day elections training program for the Kenya Police, NCIC Chairman Mzalendo Kibunjia gave out audio recorders for use by the police to monitor hate speech across the country.

“The recording will then be transcribed and analysed to check if it has contradicted provisions on hate speech. That we will have secured evidence that can be used in court,” he said.

The recorders can store up to six hours of audio and they have powerful microphones that can pick sound from as far as 50 metres.

In efforts to further address hate speech, Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere called for legislation to govern demonstrations in the country.

He said police do not have guidelines on how to handle demonstrators especially when they turn violent.

“We do not have legislation as a security agency. What do you do when politicians call one million people to a meeting? When it turns violent, how many police officers will you require?” he wondered as he explained that legislation will be important to ensure there are clear provisions to approach demonstrations which have in the past turned violent despite having been congregated as peaceful gatherings.

Iteere further warned Kenyans against incitement and violence saying nobody will be spared if they make any attempts to interfere with peace in the country.

He alerted Kenyans that police are already monitoring and will be issuing early warnings on any plans or indications of violence ahead of the General Election.

The NCIC and the Kenya Police have so far trained 270 security officers on hate speech. The training involves familiarising the police forces with the offences of ethnic discrimination and hate speech.

Hate speech continues to be a concern in Kenya after the 2008 post election violence which was blamed on tribal hatred fanned by negative utterances to discriminate communities against others.

The government and other stakeholders have planned a series of programmes and events to promote peace and reconciliation as Kenyans prepare for the 2013 election.


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