Francis Kaparo now seeks powers to bar hatemongers from elections
The National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) has drafted a Bill seeking to make it mandatory for politicians to obtain a clearance letter from them before seeking elective posts.
Commission Chairman Francis ole Kaparo said the National Cohesion and integration (Amendment) Bill, was already with the Attorney General before it is tabled in Parliament.
Mr Kaparo said the same way it was mandatory for candidates to produce certificate of good conduct and Higher Education Loans Board clearance certificate, they want the amended law to ensure leaders get clearance from NCIC as a pre-condition to seeking elective office.
“We want among other things to have a stipulation in law that anyone seeking an elective position, among the documents he should produce is a clearance from NCIC that they have not destroyed social cohesion,” he said.
He added: “I know the proposal will not be popular among legislators when it comes on the floor of the House, for very obvious reasons but we are keen to see it through. That will be the test to see who is on the side of Kenyans”.
Kaparo also warned Kenyans using social media to incite and engage in hate speech, that his office was already working with experts from cyber-crime unit to nab them.
He disclosed that next week he will sign memorandum of understanding with mainstream media houses to ensure politicians fanning animosity are not given airtime.
“We have noted with concern cases where politicians and Kenyans are using social media to spew hate speech and we are going to act tough,” said Kaparo adding: “I am keen and I want to see a brigade of social media bandits in court.”
The NCIC chairman said his office now had a syncronised working relationship with officers from the serious crime unit, Director of Criminal Investigations, Director of Public Prosecution and officers from the cyber-crime to ensure competent investigations and prosecution of hate mongers.
On Thursday, Kaparo who appeared before Parliament’s joint National Cohesion, Integration and Equal Opportunities committee disclosed that his office will push for prosecution of more leaders next week, to stem hate speech. He however did not give names of the MPs.
He vowed to lead a “vicious, relentless and fearless” fight against those propagating hate speech ahead of the next year’s General Election and warned leaders against treating those arrested as heroes.
Kaparo hit out at those who visited the MPs to show their solidarity, and warned a Speaker of Parliament, who he did not name, that he must not be seen to side with “those spitting venom”.
“I want you to do me a favour, will you?… tell the Speaker it is not his job to support and show solidarity to hate mongers,” he told committee chairman Johnson Sakaja.
Mukurweini MP Kabando wa Kabando said it was unfortunate that leaders arrested for propagating hate were being treated as heroes, even as Homa Bay Senator Moses Kajwang asked the NCIC Chairman to prepare a “list of shame” of leaders prosecuted for hate speech.
Yesterday, Kaparo warned that next year’s polls could be violent unless measures are put in place to stem the same.
“We have already started hearing politicians spitting venom in their hate speech, we are slowly seeing political zoning making its ugly return, politicians are engaging goons to intimidate their opponents and we also continue seeing mass protests that are not well managed. All these are early signs of a volatile situation before the polls and we will curb them ruthlessly,” he said.
And speaking in Eldoret during a breakfast meeting with North Rift leaders and clergy yesterday, Kaparo said heightened hate speech and violent demonstrations could push the country to the brink. “The violent demonstrations have resulted into killings, maiming and and the sooner it is stopped the better for our country since the protests cannot be exercised as per the law,” said