, NAIROBI, Kenya, June 17 – The Secretary General of the Jubilee Party has written to the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) seeking “investigation and immediate action” against ODM leader Raila Odinga.
Referring to an incident that occurred on Thursday where Odinga is seen instigating hate against nonresident communities in Kajiado, Raphael Tuju said that the conduct of the opposition leader was raising serious concerns with less than two months left to the general election.
“With only 52 days to the national elections, we consider that former Prime Minister Odinga’s use of irresponsible and inflammatory language will ignite tension with local communities and can only regarded as ‘hate speech’,” Tuju’s letter to NCIC Chairperson Francis Ole Kaparo read.
Tuju who read the letter to the press at the party headquarters accompanied by the Jubilee nominee for Nairobi senator – Johnson Sakaja- said actions by Odinga undermine the election process, something that ought to be stopped before things get out of hand.
“Some among us seek to take us down a dangerous path that could destroy this country. The holding of free, fair, peaceful and transparent elections is fundamental to our country’s evolution,” he said adding that nothing shall be allowed to derail the country.
Tuju’s onslaught on Odinga came two days after similar sentiments were expressed by the Laikipia Farmers’ Association (LFA) who expressed concern over the opposition leader’s frequent remarks that could ignite violence.
The UK Times on Monday quoted the leader of the National Super Alliance (NASA) as having said , ” These ranches are too big and the people don’t even live there, they live in Europe and only come once in a while. There’s a need for a rationalization to ensure that there’s more productive use of that land.”
During the briefing, Sakaja warned that remarks likely to amplify hate and tension will not go unchallenged, saying it was in the interest of the entire country that hate mongers are punished.
“There’s a line that we will not allow any leader to cross and especially the leadership of NASA because we only have one country. We cannot go back to the abyss that we’ve been at as a country and statements such as those he made in Kajiado when left unchallenged are the ones that foster ethnic hate,” he said.
He said the Jubilee Party remained committed to ensuring the polls are conducted in a peaceful and democratic process, the ruling party ready to take action against its own members who may contravene the law.
The National Cohesion and Integration Act in Section 62 (1) states, “Any person who utters words intended to incite feelings of contempt, hatred, hostility, violence or discrimination against any person, group or community on the basis of ethnicity or race, commits an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding one million shillings, or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years, or both.”
It further reads in Section 62 (2), ” A newspaper, radio station or media enterprise that publishes the utterances referred to in subsection (1) commits an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding one million shillings.”
All parties participating in the August 8 general elections have signed the electoral code of conduct with the IEBC stipulating actions to be taken against parties, their officials or members who breach the code.
Early this week, Odinga joined the list of candidates who pledged to conduct peaceful campaigns during the National Elections Conference but however criticized the electoral agency for awarding a ballot printing tender to a firm he alleged had links to the First Family.