NATIONALNEWS

Hate speech lands seven MPs in trouble with law

Hate speech has landed seven MPs in hot soup after the Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet yesterday ordered them to  immediately record statements with the Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI).

MPs Moses Kuria (Gatundu South), Aisha Jumwa (Kilifi), Timothy Bosire (Kitutu Masaba), Junet Mohammed (Suna East), Ferdinand Waititu (Kabete), Kimani Ngunjiri (Bahati) and Machakos Senator Jonhstone Muthama were yesterday summoned to appear at DCI headquarters on Kiambu Road for questioning.

“All the said Members of Parliament are required to appear before the Directorate of Criminal Investigations Headquarters along Kiambu Road immediately, ” said Boinnet in a statement.

Ethnic hatred

The police boss said investigations had been launched with a view to taking necessary action in the event a criminal offence may have been committed by any of them.

Boinnet, in the statement signed by Police Spokesman George Kinoti, said the legislators should appear for interrogation for conveying messages “said to be laced with ethnic hatred, vilification and that border on incitement”.

By the time of going to press two MPs — Waititu and Kuria — had recorded statements with DCI officers at Mazingira House.

They were accompanied by MP Njoroge Baiya (Githunguri) and Senator Daniel Karaba (Kirinyaga).

Kuria allegedly made what amounted to threat on the life of Cord leader Raila Odinga during the weekend, while Ngunjiri was captured on video telling a group of young people to ensure that members of a certain community must leave Nakuru Town and its environs “immediately”.

However, as they condemned the Jubilee MPs during a press briefing in Nairobi yesterday, Cord MPs Juma, Bosire and Junet allegedly also uttered hate speech by threatening to evict members of one community from Kenya.

They also uttered several threats, calling on certain communities to be ready to defend themselves, which police later said amounted to incitement.

Ngunjiri  spoke on Saturday when he addressed youths who were attempting to storm a hotel in Nakuru town where Raila was holding a meeting with local professionals and party officials.

Yesterday, the Cord MPs threatened to storm Inspector General Boinnet’s office on Thursday this week if he fails to arrest Kuria.

Led by Bosire, the MPs also demanded  immediate arrest of Nakuru governor Kinuthia Mbugua, MPs Kimani Ngunjiri (Bahati), Maina Kamanda (Starehe) and Ferdinand Waititu (Kabete) for their weekend remarks.

Homa Bay MP Opondo Kaluma and his Kabondo Kasipul counterpart Silvance Osele demanded that Kuria be compelled to reveal the full meaning of his utterances.

The MP’s remarks came barely hours after National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) summoned Ngunjiri and Kuria to appear before it in the course of the week to answer to alleged hate speech remarks the two made at the weekend.

NCIC said Ngunjiri had been summoned after he was captured on camera allegedly calling for the eviction of an ethnic community from Nakuru.

“The statements made by Hon Ngunjiri for Bahati constituency are threatening and are likely to stir up ethnic hatred and violence against members of one community,” said NCIC chairperson Francis Kaparo yesterday.

Political differences

“In the same spirit, we highly condemn the utterances by Hon Moses Kuria. While this falls under the penal code to be handled by the police, we note that the statement is a threat to national cohesion and integration. We term such statements careless and unfortunate,” he added.

Kaparo appealed to the political class to exercise restraint in their utterances and appealed to Kenyans to remain calm and united despite the political differences.

But in a quick response, both Kuria and Ngunjiri dismissed Kaparo’s summons saying they would not appear before the cohesion commission.

“These people rely on social media to investigate me. They should know that investigations are not done through Twitter, Facebook or WhatsApp,” said Kuria adding that the Kaparo commission would indefinitely wait for him to appear before it.

“Kaparo has not written to me to appear before the commission. He should do this through the Parliament clerks and not through channels that are not constitutionally recognised,” added Ngunjiri.

Elsewhere, the Kenya National Commission of Human Rights (KNCHR)  condemned the utterances by the politicians, saying they risk polarising the country.

In an address to the media yesterday, KNCHR vice chairperson George Morara asked party leaders to take firm action against legislators who perpetuate hate speech, adding that the commission would be monitoring the actions and utterances of political leaders.

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