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Raila, Uhuru told to end public insults

NAIROBI, Kenya, March 3 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga, Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Eldoret North MP William Ruto have been ordered to stop hurling insults in public.

National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) vice chairperson Mary Onyango said on Thursday that the three were issued with notices following a series of public utterances that were considered offensive.

She said that although the utterances may not be directed at anyone because of their ethnicity, race or religion, they were possible triggers to harmonious and peaceful co-existence between different ethnic communities.

"This is the first time that we have issued cessation notices," Ms Onyango said.

"If you do not heed the cessation notice what then happens is that you are committing a criminal offence and when it comes to crime then the police and the Attorney General are expected to play their bit in terms of holding you accountable for the criminal offences," she added.

Prime Minister Raila Odinga and deputy Uhuru Kenyatta were recently embroiled in a battle of words over the controversial judicial nominations which were later withdrawn by President Mwai Kibaki.

Ms Onyango said that they were also probing four other public officials who could be issued with similar warnings.

"Before you issue a cessation notice, there is a process of reviewing all the utterances that have been there. We have observed that several politicians especially in the last few weeks during their engagement with the communities have actually not been very cohesive in their utterances," she stated.

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"At an appropriate time if we find that they need to be issued with cessation notices we will issue them," she said.

The National Cohesion and Integration Act empowers the commission to issue cessation notices to persons and institutions whose actions threaten peaceful coexistence.

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