, MACHAKOS, Kenya, Jun 15 – Machakos Governor Dr Alfred Mutua says swift action must be taken against those who perpetuate hate speech to ensure the vice is stemmed ahead of elections next year.
Mutua said all citizens, and especially leaders, should be held to account and strong action taken when they engage in hate speech and incitement.
“Regardless of whichever political persuasion they come from the law has to take its course without fear or favour,” said Mutua.
He added leaders whose followers and supporters engage in violence should also be held accountable and action taken against them.
“It is interesting to note that not a single leader whose followers have been throwing stones, carrying crude weapons, burning tires and blocking roads has publicly issued a statement telling his or her followers to desist from the violent acts,” said Mutua.
Addressing a news conference in his Machakos Office, Mutua said the silence of leaders instead of condemning violent actions by their supporters means that the leaders support these violent acts and may be the ones organising and funding them.
“These leaders only condemn the police and not their violent followers. This is hypocritical behaviour,” said Mutua.
He said history has shown that it is vital that planners and organisers of violence be held accountable.
“I call upon the Inspector General of Police and other relevant bodies to peruse the law and take necessary action so as to instil discipline in the behaviour of all leaders. No one should be spared,” said Mutua.
He said the motto to deter violence should be: “Eneza chuki na ghasia uone” (Spread hatred, violence and face the law).
Mutua said strong action should also be taken against perpetrators of hate on social media adding some WhatsApp groups, Facebook and Twitter posts have been used to peddle lies, create tribal animosity and divide Kenyans.
“Those who participate in hate speech and incitement postings and forums should also face the law. The message should be very clear that no one should be allowed to burn Kenya,” said Mutua.
He said it is imperative to safeguard the peace Kenya enjoys adding there is no matter in this nation that should cause anyone to engage in violence.
Mutua warned that if the same path of polarization, intolerance and hostility continues, Kenya will experience a very violent election period come the 2017 polls.
“As Napoleon Bonaparte put it, You stop a revolution at the beginning not at the end,” said Mutua.
He said the time to stem this indiscipline and to save Kenya is now.