Boinnet seeks tough penalties for hate speech

The police want stiff penalties handed to those convicted of hate speech following a string of alleged offensive utterances by politicians, with Kiambu Governor William Kabogo set to be investigated for such outbursts.

A statement by the Inspector General (IG) of police Joseph Boinnet on Monday said that heavy punishment will deter people from making provocative utterances.

Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Keriako Tobiko has ordered immediate investigations into alleged hate speech by Mr Kabogo who now joins three other politicians accused of incitement in the last few weeks.

“We request our able colleagues in the judicial system to mete stiff sentences upon convictions as this shall ensure relevance, reality and practicability on our continuous warnings and cautions on hate speakers therefore detonating the perception that our warnings are but mere rhetoric,” Mr Boinnet said.

He added that they will present cases with watertight evidence against the accused.

Mr Kabogo joins former Nairobi mayor George Aladwa, Machakos senator Johnstone Muthama and Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria who have been accused of making statements inciting violence or containing ethnic slurs.

Last week, Chief Justice Willy Mutunga warned that the cases of hate speech and the widespread corruption in government are sowing seeds of violence ahead of the 2017 general election.

The 2008 post-election violence saw the country lose more than 1,000 lives and economic growth dip to 1.6 per cent from 7.1 per cent in the previous year.

The Catholic Church on Sunday warned that name calling and ethnic incitement threaten to tear the country apart.

“We declare and demand an honest ceasefire and end to the incessant name calling among our politicians,” Reverend Alfred Rotich said.