Musicians charged with hate speech

From left: Musicians John DeMathew, Kamande wa Kioi and Njroge wa Mungai in court July 4, 2012. They denied a charge of creating tribal animosity through their songs and were released on a Sh100,000 cash bail each. PAUL WAWERU

Three musicians accused of fuelling hate speech through their songs have been charged with hate speech.

Muigai wa Njoroge, Kamande wa Kioi and John DeMathew songs are alleged to contain inciting words and the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) has recommended that they be charged.

They denied the charge and were released on a Sh100,000 cash bail each.

If found guilty, the musicians may be imprisoned for a term not exceeding three years or fined Sh1 million or both.

Mr Kioi's song Uhuru ni Witu (Uhuru is Ours) is one of those being investigated. He has said that every tribe had a right to praise its leaders in their own language. He added that the translations being circulated missed the point of his song.

Mr DeMathew has also maintained that his song, Witueti Hiti (You Have Made Yourself a Hyena), has been subject to misinterpretation.

Mr Njoroge has noted that there are different interpretation of songs and some people are misinterpreting his song titled Hague-Bound.

The three are accused of singing songs that border on hate speech against Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

Last week, NCIC chairman Mzalendo Kibunjia said he was following up with the Media Council to find out whether the songs had been played on any radio stations.

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