Mombasa elders caution politicians against hate speech

Mombasa County Council of Elders is calling on politicians and opinion leaders to shun actions and utterances capable of causing violence in the country in the run up to the crucial 2017 General Elections.

They also cautioned politicians against making inflammatory remarks capable of inciting Wananchi against the Government of the day.

Addressing the press at ‘Uhuru na Kazi’ building that houses National Government offices in the region, the elders asked politicians to eschew hate speech and inflammatory remarks that can harm Wananchi “that they seek to serve,” he added.

Led by their Chairman, Mohamed Jahazi, they said politicians must watch their conduct as the clock ticks towards 2017.

“In 2016 politicians and opinion leaders should desist from hate speech and inflammatory remarks that could inflame passions and create hostility among the various communities in the country,” said Jahazi.

He went on “politicians with an eye on the 2017 general polls must not be allowed to put the lives of the people in danger in their quest for votes,”.

Flanked by the elders Group’s Secretary, Naima Badhawi and Vice Chair, Bishop Joseph Maisha Jahazi, regretted that some politicians were taking joy in making inflammatory remarks that can spark off crisis in the country and called on Kenyans to be cautious of such ‘antics’ as the election date approaches.

Bishop Maisha who is also the leader of Ushindi Baptist Church said politicians should desist from making comments that are capable of plunging the country into chaos, adding that “the nation’s unity should be uppermost in their minds instead of thinking about self interests alone,.”

Mombasa gubernatorial aspirant, Suleiman Shahbal, is on the spot for his last week’s remarks that Jubilee Party will win the 2017 general polls through fair or foul means which has since attracted widespread condemnation.

Shahbal while speaking in the presence of Deputy President, William Ruto and Majority Leader in the National Assembly, Aden Duale, in Kilifi County at the weekend, alluded that Jubilee was determined to retain power at all cost and was plotting to ‘rig and steal votes in the 2017 elections’.

The alleged inflammatory statement that has gone viral on social media has prompted the Director of Public Prosecution, Keriako Tobiko, to order the police to investigate the influential politician.

According to Mr Tobiko, the words uttered amounted to a criminal offence under the Elections and Criminal laws.

Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission Chairperson, Ahmed Issack Hassan, also condemned the utterances, saying such remarks have the potential to stoke political strife, polarize the country and undermined national values as espoused in the Constitution.

Mr Shahbal had lost the Mombasa gubernatorial seat in 2013 to Ali Hassan Joho and has recently joined the ruling Jubilee Coalition after defecting from Wiper party.

The elders urged the political leadership and aspirants to elective offices to refrain from inflammatory comments and hate speech on issues of politics as the country hurtles towards next year’s General Election.

By Hussein Abdullahi