Cohesion team warns of rising hate on social media platforms

National Cohesion and Integration Commission goodwill ambassador Tegla Lorupe addresses participants during the launch of the agency’s strategy at the Intercontinental Hotel, Nairobi, on September 4, 2015. PHOTO | JAMES EKWAM | NATION MEDIA GROUP

What you need to know:

  • Francis Kaparo notes that Kenyans “talk badly” during electioneering periods.

The cohesion commission has warned of increased hate speech on social media, asking Kenyans to be on the lookout.

The agency on Friday said it was concerned that some people were using social sites to perpetrate hatred among communities ahead of the 2017 General Election.

National Cohesion and Integration Commission chairman Francis Kaparo noted that Kenyans “talk badly” during electioneering periods.

“There are social media bandits who are resident in Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp and others, who are threatening and inciting Kenyans.

“We are telling them to give us a break. We are telling them to get out of social media banditry,” Mr Kaparo said on Friday when the commission launched its strategic plan for the next five years at Intercontinental Hotel in Nairobi.

At the forum, the commission said hatred perpetrated through social media was its biggest headache.

The strategy targets to establish a cybercrime unit at a cost of Sh5 million to monitor people using online platforms to perpetrate incitement and hate.

The commission is currently handling the case of political commentator Mutahi Ngunyi, who was accused of posting hate messages on his Twitter account.

Although Mr Ngunyi has since apologised, Mr Kaparo said his team had launched investigations and “he would face the consequences if found guilty”.

The 2015-2020 strategic plan aims at rolling out cohesion programmes worth Sh4 billion.

During the launch that was attended by lawmakers, members of other commissions and peace ambassadors, the commission was challenged to work harder to ensure peace ahead of the coming polls.

“There is relative peace in Mandera County following efforts by the commission to bring warring communities together.

“However, a lot needs to be done to ensure permanent peace in the county and other parts of the country,” said Mandera East MP Abdulaziz Ali.