The Star (Nairobi)

3 August 2012

Kenya: August Circumcision to Be Monitored for Hate Speech

This year's traditional rites of passage for boys highly celebrated by communities in Western will be monitored for hate speeches and incitement. Wednesday marked the beginning of a month-long circumcision tradition among the Bukusu and Banyala communities in Bungoma and Kakamega counties. Organisers, locals and participants have been warned to avoid hate speech and inciting different communities in the region through songs that are likely to cause tension.

"Those singing songs, which incite communities against each other will not be spared," warned Women Rural Peace Link chairperson Rosemary Mutenyo. She said songs should promote peaceful co-existence among communities. Mutenyo said communities such as the Bukusus, Tesos and Sabaots which live in the same county but practice different rites of passage should accommodate each other.

She added that several civil society groups are working closely with the National Cohesion and Integration Commission to ensure the exercise goes on without incitement. "The circumcisers, locals and participants found to sing songs which are deemed dangerous, abusive and promote hate among communities will face the law," she stated. She spoke in Bungoma during a workshop on the dangers posed by traditional rites that have the potential of incitement. The workshop brought together representativesfrom the various communities, youth groups, elders and Community Based Organizations (CBO) in the region.

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