De Mathew, 2 others in hate speech probe

Popular Kikuyu musicians John DeMathew, Muigai wa Njoroge and Kamande wa Kioi are likely to be investigated after songs sung by each of them were flagged for being ‘inciting’.


The Mugithi singers, who are popular live musicians, are accused of singing songs that border on ‘hate speech’ against Prime Minister Raila Odinga, who is one of the contenders for the top seat in 2013.


The National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) flagged the songs, Mwaka wa Hiti’ by DeMathew, Muigai wa Njoroge’s ‘Hague bound’ and ‘Uhuru ni Witu’ by Kamande wa Kioi.


NCIC boss Mzalendo Kibunjia says they were following up with the media council to find out whether the controversial songs had played on any radio stations so that action could be taken against the media houses as well.


Kibunjia appealed to Kenyans who may have heard the songs playing on air to inform the commission through or visit their offices along Mara Road in Nairobi.


“The era of such music is long gone,” he said.


According to the National Cohesion and Integration Act, if the musicians are found guilty of hate speech, they will be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or a fine of Sh1 million or both.


“A person who distributes, shows or plays a recording of visual image or provides, produces or directs a programme which involves use of threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour commits an offence if such person intends thereby to stir up ethnic hatred or having regard to all the circumstances, ethnic hatred is likely to be stirred up,” the act states in part.


A radio station that plays the music would be liable to a fine not exceeding Sh1 million according to the Act.


Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta expressed his concern over the divisive songs and termed them as shameful.


“A certain blogger brought this to our attention and we would like to strongly point out that if this is what certain vernacular musicians are doing, regardless of the language and community, we truly stand against it!” the DPM said in his facebook and twitter accounts.


“Music in our respective languages is beautiful, but when corrupted for an agenda that disunites Kenyans, it’s shameful,” he added.


Uhuru said they had taken action and asked Kenyans to watch out for such acts and base their votes on issues rather than tribal affiliations.

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