Kenyan blogger Dennis Itumbi challenges hate speech allegations
- Published on 22 March 2013
Renowned Kenyan blogger Dennis Itumbi has been summoned by the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) over allegations of communicating hate speech on social media.
Kenya’s NCIC has received a complaint lodged by a 'concerned citizen' over the blogger’s alleged ‘heightened hate speech postings’ on his Facebook account, especially after the country’s just-concluded general elections.
Itumbi describes himself on his Twitter profile as an “international award winning journalist, playwright, blogger, novelist”. His Twitter profile also says he owns “a group of county newspapers”, and that he has “media and social media consultancy and solutions” business interests.
The NCIC has handed a summons to Itumbi, entitled 'Alleged hate speech on your Facebook account', which says that Itumbi is accused of having posted threatening messages which are intended to cause ethnic hatred and violence among various communities in violation of sections of a NCIC Act.
Heightened awareness of hate speech in Kenya exists following the 2007/8 elections in which ethnic violence brought the country to its knees, following a disputed presidential result.
Subsequently, a hate speech law came into effect in the country. The National Cohesion and Integration Act 2008 provides for fines or imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years to anyone 'who utters words intended to incite feelings of contempt, hatred, hostility, violence or discrimination against any person, group or community on the basis of ethnicity or race.
Itumbi, though, is challenging the commission to hold a public hearing on his case.
“To the National Cohesion and Integration Committee (NCIC) as I said to the CID (Criminal Investigation Department) officer who handed this letter to me - I challenge you to host a Public Grilling Committee and I will appear and you can table the alleged complains you have of me promoting Tribalism and hate,” said Itumbi.
He also added that he is being falsely accused.
“I mean even get on my timeline and show me one update, comment or note that promotes hate or tribalism,” he said.
He also blames the commission of being biased towards him.