Political activist Moses Kuria has run into trouble with the Law Society of Kenya, which is seeking his prosecution for an alleged Facebook posting deemed to be hate speech.
On Wednesday, LSK Secretary Apollo Mboya wrote to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Keriako Tobiko to investigate and prosecute the author of the post and those who commented on it.
“The posts incite the public to violence targeted at specific community and may very well constitute hate speech which if not curbed, [could] plunge the country into chaos,” Mr Mboya wrote, insisting that the Society had been informed of the post by “concerned members of the public.”
LSK was referring to a post on Facebook by a Moses Kuria after the twin explosion in Nairobi’s Gikomba market in which 12 people died and dozens others were hospitalised.
It read: “I think it is only a matter of time before Kenyans start violence against PERCEIVED (sic) terrorists, their sympathisers, their financiers and those issuing travel advisories without intelligence.”
“I am not sure I will not be the one of those Kenyans. When you touch Gikomba the nerve centre of our economic enterprise, you really cross the line. Brace yourself. Choices have consequences.”
The post attracted comments, with some supporting the author’s views.
LSK, though, thinks this was incitement which should be punished.
But in a quick rejoinder, Mr Kuria first denied the allegation before attacking LSK of carrying the views of opposition coalition, Cord.
“I have not named any communities. Let them (LSK) produce evidence of that…My stand against terrorists will not change. Sympathisers of terrorists should not hide behind their communities,” he said in a text message sent to the Nation.
“The boundary between the Law Society is becoming increasingly thin. They are just echoing the claims made by Cord at the Kibera rally (last Sunday) which was full of tribal incitement,” he added, referring to a recent rally in which Cord threatened to impeach President Uhuru Kenyatta over what they said were irregular appointments and other unpopular financial decisions.
Hate speech, a crime coined after the deadly 2008 post-election violence in which 1,113 people died and 600,000 others displaced is meant to avoid a repeat of that violence.
But it has no universal definition making it difficult to prove.
The DPP, if it takes up the matter, will have to prove that the post contained words of incitement and hatred against certain communities and that it could foster commission of hate crimes.
In Kenya the Penal Code, the National Cohesion and Integration Act and the Information and Communications (Amendment) Act are the basic legislation on hate speech.