The National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) has announced that it is hunting for 21 WhatsApp group administrators for propagating hate speech.
Speaking to the media on Monday, the NCIC head Francis Ole Kaparo said that the commission has started to take the action as concerns continue to be raised over the amount of hate messages flying around the Kenyan political atmosphere.
“We are coming for you. WhatsApp group administrators are liable of hate posts circulating in their groups” – Francis Ole Kaparo.
Last week, the commission announced that it had identified a total of 176 social media channels that were spreading hate messages in the country.
Kenyans on social media have however taken on the commission terming it a toothless dog that barks continuously without biting.
Some raised concerns over a local radio station, Kameme FM, which is associated with a prominent politicians and which has been accused of sending out hate and inciting messages to their listeners. Most feel that NCIC has failed to take action against the station.
Some are also asking how NCIC is going to identify the group administrators of WhatsApp given that group administrators do not have much control of what is posted on their groups apart from controlling the number of their members.
“There is no way NCIC will start going for small insignificant fish when the real sharks are spewing venom on every political event hiding behind free speech and fair comment” said Isaac Korir, a journalist and writer.
Many feel that NCIC has been in a slumber for too long in terms of handling the growing hate speech in the country. Many see the NCIC’s announcement of going for WhatsApp group administrators as petty and sideshows.
“It is ironic for NCIC to start going for WhatsApp group administrators when no single politician has been seriously dealt with for spreading hate speech messages,” said Gertrude Matayo, a communication and social media strategist.
Kenyan’s, however, seem not to understand the mandate of NCIC, the roles and functions with most thinking that the commission has powers to investigate, arrest and prosecute.