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Deputy Police Spokesman Charles Owino. Photo/ FILE


Politicians now coding hate speech – police

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Deputy Police Spokesman Charles Owino. Photo/ FILE

NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 19 – Deputy Police Spokesman Charles Owino on Wednesday told journalists that more intelligence officers had been deployed to the grassroots to monitor politicians who mask tribal undertones using coded language.

Owino said that police would keep the developing trend in check to ensure that it does not spiral out of control and cause a repeat of the bloodshed that was witnessed in 2008.

He said that officers who are conversant with such language would be posted to each region of the country, as political campaigns gained momentum.

“We will closely work with the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) and post individuals who understand those languages in those particular regions just for the purpose of this election,” he said.

This follows an announcement by the NCIC that it was becoming difficult to pick out hate speech because of the coded language.

NCIC vice chairperson Millie Lwanga claimed that politicians were using stereotypes and heavy vernacular parables to hide their hate messages.

“Kenyans have become very aware that they are being monitored, especially politicians, so they are coding their languages and are using heavy vernacular proverbs that make it hard for the police and NCIC monitors to quickly identify hate speech,” she said.

She however added that the commission had conducted a study indicating some of the gestures and words used to cover divisive and tribal statements saying it would soon share the findings.

Lwanga also said that the NCIC had forwarded several files of those suspected of hate speech to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

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