With only 35 days remaining until the general election on 8th August, the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) has urged politicians vying for various political seats and Kenyans at large to refrain from engaging in any activity that might jeopardize the stability of the nation.
Speaking during a press briefing, the Vice-chairperson of NCIC Irene Wanyoike said that the commission strongly deplores political polarization, careless ethnic rhetoric, political hooliganism, wanton violence and destruction of property witnessed in various political campaigns across the country.
NCIC has documented a range of issues that continue to cause tension in various parts of the country which include; widening ethnic and political polarization across the country, increased use of inflammatory statements largely characterized by inter and intra-ethnic profiling by the political class and their supporters; resulting into political hooliganism and violence in some areas, proliferation of hate speech on vernacular radio stations and social media and notable conflict insensitive and sensational reporting by a section of the media.
“As an institution established to reconcile Kenyans following the 2007/08 post-election violence, the prevailing situation is unfortunate irresponsible and worrying,” she said, “Allowed to take root, this will roll back the gains we have made as a nation as far as achieving national cohesion and integration is concerned,” she added.
However, Irene has urged all politicians to conduct campaigns in a responsible manner and refrain from hate speech, ethnic incitement and use of inflammatory and abusive language and other activities that may contribute to polarization of communities along ethnic and political lines. “The Kenyan citizens should desist from ethnic hate and profiling, tone down on political intolerance and embrace diverse political views and peacefully participate in the electoral process,” she said.
The media was not left out during the press briefing when she urged them to embrace conflict sensitive reporting and avoid stirring of political emotions that may trigger violence.
“The Commission is fully committed to discharging its mandate and contributing to peaceful coexistence among the Kenyan people,” she concluded.