NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 1 – Political Scientist Mutahi Ngunyi on Tuesday appeared before the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) to respond to allegations of hate speech on Twitter.
Hours after being grilled by NCIC officials, Ngunyi clearly had swallowed ‘humble pie’ as he patiently answered questions and even offered to give a goat to Luo elders to apologise to the community.
“I want to apologise again. No ill intentions at all against the Luo nation. If the Luo Council of Elders can accept a goat from me, I would want to post one, if you know where they live,” he pleaded.
“I absolutely meant no ill at all.”
“That’s exactly why I came to sort out with the commission (NCIC),” Ngunyi said as he explained he was ready to embrace conciliation.
Ngunyi found himself in trouble when he posted a tweet attacking former Prime Minister Raila Odinga and went ahead to use the words ‘poverty stricken Luos’.
He wrote; “Raila should be put on trial. The judge: poverty stricken Luos. And Luhyas craving his bondage. Charge: selfishness, selfishness, selfishness.”
A barrage of criticism followed promoting Ngunyi to apologise even before he was summoned by NCIC.
When he spoke to journalists on Tuesday he said he deserved the bashing he received on social media following the tweet that attacked the Luo and Luhya communities.
However, he alleged that the tweet referred to Odinga and not the entire community as understood by those who read it.
“I am known to speak my mind but there are instances you say things and then they come out wrongly,” he explained.
“I did not mean to say that Luos are poor for instance, I would be stupid to say that, but the context in which I talked about this is the politics of some politicians that breeds poverty in certain areas.”
Ngunyi further asked to meet lawyer Apollo Mboya who filed a complaint with the NCIC against him.
He said he was ready to meet him ‘over a beer’ to also apologise to him in the spirit of the conciliation clause enshrined in the NCIC Act.
Speaking to the media few moments after, Mboya said he had moved to NCIC to teach Ngunyi a lesson and also prevent similar occurrences in future.
According to him, Ngunyi’s tweet came as a shocker that someone of his status had ‘stooped so low’ to the level of using hate speech against a community.
Mboya also urged Ngunyi to pull down the offensive tweet to demonstrate that he was indeed apologetic.