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IEBC warns politicians they risk being locked out of elections

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission on Tuesday warned politicians guilty of hate speech that they risked being locked out of elections.

It said it would monitor politicians after nominations to bar those inciting hatred from running for political office.

“Political temperatures are rising and it is our duty to make sure they are controlled,” the group’s chairman Wafula Chebukati said during a training workshop for the National Cohesion and Integration Commission monitors.

The cohesion team said it would soon deploy monitors trained to gauge the political atmosphere in specific areas and prevent the eruption of violence.

The officers will be equipped with cameras, camcorders and voice recorders to capture evidence of hate speech during public rallies and gatherings by politicians, said chairman Francis ole Kaparo.

He said that 47 body-worn cameras with a range of 200 meters, were in all the counties, together with 390 camcorders and voice recorders.

“Leaders need to tone down so that Kenyans can make rational decisions. We need an environment where discourse can take place. When people don’t play by the rules, they will be brought to book,” Mr Kaparo said during the meeting at the Multimedia University of Kenya in Nairobi.

He said his team will work with the electoral commission to keep the country peaceful and urged Kenyans to help them do this.

The launch of the training was attended by the United Nations resident coordinator Siddarth Chatterjee, the Directorate of Criminal Investigations Deputy Director Joseph Ashmala and other officials.

Mr Ashmala urged the monitors to be vigilant in detecting hate speech, while Mr Chatterjee congratulated the 211 cohesion monitors selected for the job.

The monitors have been designated to social media, the registrar of political parties, the inter-religious council, UNDP, the media council and peace and development.

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