Let us all condemn hate speech
14 June 2016, 13:04
Hate speech is what brought Rwanda to its knees back in 1994. The landlocked East African nation was on the verge of total collapse after the Hutu and Tutsi turned on each other with viciousness unmatched.
Before the infamous genocide, word had been spreading like bush fire to propagate violence against a specific tribe because of flimsy and ridiculous reasons.
After continuous spew of hate by politicians, broadcasters and adults in general, the youthful energy picked weapons and committed atrocities unimaginable to man before.
Currently, Kenya is facing increased hate speech from both sides of the political divide. Most recent are the utterances of Bahati MP Kimani Ngunjiri and Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria which have left the country in shock. The two have uttered words that could send panic across some communities and prompt people to start planning for defense mechanisms just-in-case.
Hon. Moses Kuria is said to have alluded to the need for doing away with Hon. Raila Odinga in a more crude and permanent way. On the other hand, Hon. Kimani Ngunjiri has been on record as having said that "...Luos should be evicted from Nakuru..."
These kinds of reckless comments will haunt us if we do not show resolve to condemn and prosecute such individuals.
Through our Constitution, we have established mechanisms and independent commissions and offices to deal with hate speech. However, we seem reluctant to crack the whip.
To some extent we are even ready to defend these individuals and safeguard them from prosecution simply because we share ethnicity or political affiliation. It is very unethical to do so and it will bite us hard when tensions grow stronger as we head towards the election.
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