Capital FM (Nairobi)

15 February 2013

Kenya: Ex-MP Among Politicians Inciting Hatred

Nairobi — Three politicians, among them an outgoing Member of Parliament have been adversely mentioned in a report by the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) for allegedly issuing hateful remarks during rallies in Malindi, Kilifi and Kwale Counties last weekend.

KNCHR Secretary Patricia Nyaundi told journalists that the three made sexist, divisive statements that pit Kenyans against each other during the campaigns.

Nyaundi said that the remarks excited ethnic passions that risked fuelling violence, as Kenyans head towards the March 4 general election.

"Just last weekend at a CORD coalition rally in Kwale, we recorded senior and prominent politicians uttering several inflammatory statements," she said.

Nyaundi added that the commission would forward the three names to the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) as well as the Inspector General of Police for further action.

Some of the statements carried deep sexual undertones while others even said that people from certain Kenyan tribes should not be allowed to own property in Watamu.

"Our expectation is that this time round, the NCIC, the police and the Judiciary will treat this matter with the seriousness it deserves so that stiff action can be taken against those who are inclined to make such statements," she challenged.

She further expressed concern that it appeared as if Kenyans have not picked any lessons from the events that occurred after the 2007 disputed poll noting that they heartily cheered the said statements.

"Our concern as a commission is that the Kenyans who were at this rally cheered these politicians as they uttered what in our view are sexist, vulgar and inciting statements. We have simply refused to learn from our past," she said.

Concerns surrounding door-to-door campaigns were also raised with the KNCHR arguing that some politicians were using such platforms to fan tribalism.

Nyaundi claimed that the new strategy was subtly intimidating minority groups in areas like Changamwe.

"In some instances these campaigns are being used to mobilise along ethnic lines and in some regions certain communities and groups are fearful of their security regardless of the outcome of the elections," she alleged.

Recurrent instances of voter bribery and misuse of State resources were also flagged as items that painted the forthcoming elections in bad light.

Nyaundi however observed that Kenyans were also to blame for such incidents.

"We have witnessed incidents of Kenyans holding politicians hostage demanding for bribes in blatant disregard for the law like it happened to outgoing MPs Mike Mbuvi, alias Sonko and Ferdinand Waititu," she explained.

Police officers were also urged to tighten security to ensure there would be no repeat of the bloodbath witnessed in the wake of 2008.

The country's security agents have time and again assured Kenyans of ample protection before, during and after the elections.

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