13TH June 2016 POLITICAL INTOLERENCE A THREAT TO NATIONAL COHESION
Press Statement for Immediate Release
The National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) condemns in the strongest terms possible the emerging trend of political zoning in the conduct of politics in the country. Politicians must desist from zoning the country into strongholds, battle-grounds and red zones as this continues to fragment an already divided society. The ongoing ethnic balkanization is dangerous for Kenya and is a recipe for disaster worse than the 2007 elections. The Commission wishes to reiterate that it is the right of any politician to access and politic in any part of the country unrestrained and wish to urge security agencies to provide security to any such politicians. In this regard, the Commission condemns in the strongest terms possible harassment of the Coalition for Reform and Democracy (CORD) leader in Nakuru on 11th June 2016 and in partnership with the relevant government agencies, has launched investigations to establish who orchestrated and sponsored the violence. Such intolerance is unfortunate and must stop henceforth. While the Constitution recognizes and encourages freedom of speech, we remind all politicians to respect the views of all Kenyan the unfortunate political intolerance and ethnic backgrounds.
Further, the Commission wishes to put political elites, journalists and social media pundits on notice with regard to the ongoing hate mongering and incitement to violence in the country. The Commission has received and is investigating a number of cases on hate speech, three recent ones against Hon. Moses Kuria and Hon Kimani Ngunjiri Wambugu. The utterances made by Hon. Moses Kuria, MP for Kiambu in reference to a community as ‘imodo…..”mbembe” using terms such as “monsters/beast, maize,’ has gone beyond baiting and priming and has fast degenerated into with a call to action for ‘war’, and must be dealt with accordingly as it has the potential not only to stir ethic animosity but can lead to ethnic violence. Pending investigations into these new utterances, we call on the Director of Public Prosecutions, Mr. Keriako Tobiko to apply for withdrawal of Moses Kuria’s bail in the court. The Commission is concerned that Mr. Kuria is not remorseful of his past offences pending in court, and continues to make utterances that have the potential to plunge the country into crisis. The utterances by Hon. Kimani Ngunjiri, MP for Bahati Constituency calling for eviction of members of a community from Nakuru too must be investigated and the culprit brought to book. In the spirit of national cohesion and integration, we urge all Kenyans living in the affected area to remain calm, united and embrace one another despite the political and ethnic differences as we investigate the incidences. We request the affected community to give the Commission and police time to conclude the investigations. Kenya belongs to all of us and we all have a right to reside anywhere in the country. The Commission has also received disturbing reports of hate leaflets allegedly circulated in Eldoret, Naivasha and Nakuru asking a community to leave these areas.
The Commission has noted this with great concern and warns perpetrators of the hate messages that their actions are in violation of section 13 of the NCI Act 2008, should they be found culpable they shall be liable to a fine of one million shillings or imprisonment to a term not exceeding three years or both. We already have a team of investigators on the ground. We are calling on the political class to desist from politics of balkanization and zoning of regions as belonging to particular parties. Further, we are asking politicians and political parties to notify the police of their intention to hold rallies as required by law for the police to provide adequate security during the rallies. We are also calling on the media houses to assist the Commission to record and document utterances that have the potential to incite ethnic animosity.
Hon Francis Ole Kaparo
Chairman, National Cohesion and Integration Commission