BY NAMULONGO PETER,NAIROBI,18TH FEB,2022-The National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) has mapped out 23 counties as possible hotspots for violence before, during and after the August elections.
The regions include Kisumu, Uasingishu, Nakuru, Mombasa, Nairobi, Migori, Kericho, Isiolo, Lamu, Bungoma, Kakamega, Vihiga, Trans Nzoia, Marsabit, Kiambu, Nyamira, Homa Bay, Nandi, Bomet, Murang’a, Kirinyaga, Garissa, Siaya.
“We must stay alert and vigilant in these,” the Commission chairperson Samuel Kobia told a news conference on Friday.
The Commission designed a 13 variable risk matrix to identify the counties which Kobia said will be closely monitored ahead of the polls with special focus given to the whole subject of hate speech.
“The issue of hate speech is going to be given high priority by the Commission and we are going to ensure that leaders who are spewing hare are dealt with accordingly,” he said.
He revealed that 49 hate speech cases are currently under different stages of active investigation.
Kobia added that plans are underway to have four courts set up across the country that purposely deal with hate speech cases.
“We have already approached the Chief Justice Martha Koome and in the coming days she is going to help use in expediting some of these cases,” he said.
The Commission warned members of the public especially politicians on a number of issues which Kobia described as red flags noting that such will not be tolerated.
Ethnic balkanization and zoning of the country by politicians, increased inflammatory attacks and hate speech by prominent political leaders, misuse of social media platforms to perpetuate ethnic hate speech and incitement to violence are some of the issues which the Commission listed.
Others include Increased level of incitements on ethnic lines, demonstrations/ hooliganism by followers of different political groups – with potential for political violence, chest thumping among key coalition leaders that there is no way they will lose elections.