, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 26 – The Police Commissioner has issued a strong warning that anyone found engaging in hate speech during the ongoing referendum campaigns will be arrested immediately.
Mathew Iteere said on Monday that the action will form part of the measures taken by the police to uphold security for the Constitution referendum. He said that police officers have been instructed to be extra vigilant and to act decisively regardless of the position or status of those flouting the law.
“Chapter 63 of the laws of Kenya is very clear on incitement to violence and activities likely to cause a breach of the peace. We therefore urge all persons taking part in the referendum campaigns to take extra caution and desist from any hate speech and any other form of incitement,” he pointed out.
Mr Iteere told a press conference that security personnel had been deployed throughout the country to ensure that the referendum process proceeds smoothly.
“Let me assure the public that the possible insecurity flashpoints have already been profiled and adequate measures taken to prevent any breakdown of law and order,” he said.
“The personnel we will be deploying there will remain until we are advised otherwise by our intelligence forces.”
The police Commissioner called on anyone planning to hold public meetings during the referendum period to inform the police of the intended gatherings well in advance so that adequate security can be arranged.
“Some of the mandatory requirements are that anybody intending to hold a public meeting or procession shall notify the relevant OCS (Officer Commanding Police Station) at least three days before the proposed date of the meeting,” he said.
“The law also binds the organisers of the meeting to be present during the gathering and assist police officers in the maintenance of law, peace and order. This law is simple and is intended to provide a legal framework through which organisers of public gatherings and the police can work together to ensure that the meeting takes place peacefully.”
He pointed out that observing such regulations would ensure that everyone enjoys their rights of expression and association in a peaceful and orderly manner.