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2 words removed from NCIC elections blacklist

NCIC on April 8 banned phrases that were declared inciteful ahead of the elections

NCIC boss Rev Dr Samuel Kobia

The decision by the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) declaring hatupangwingwi and watajua hawajui as banned words ahead of the elections has been overturned by the High Court.

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High Court judge Antony Ndung’u, NCIC did not inform the general public of the planned ban as per Section 7 of the Fair Administrative Action Act, 2015.

“An order is hereby granted to quash the respondent's decision made on April 8, 2022 vide Hatelex: A lexicon of Hate Speech Terms in Kenya banning and /or classifying Hatupangwingwi and Watajua hawajui as hate terms,” read the ruling by the court.

The petition against the NCIC decision was filed by Chama cha Mawakili Limited (CML) through lawyers Felix Kiprono and Vincent Yegon who said the two terms banned by the commission did not in any way amount to hate speech and that the Commission infringed the Kenyans’ freedom of expression.

“The word/terms –hatupangwingwi and watajua hawajui classified as hate terms and or banned by NCIC are aphorisms of freedoms of expressions used by Kenyans and does not amount to hate speech,” noted the lawyers.

NCIC on April 8 2022, blacklisted 21 words that it termed inciteful ahead of the general elections adding that the words were coded messages which could be used to activate hatred.

The Commission has been upbeat in campaigns to sensitize the public on the importance of having peaceful elections.

Few instances of violence have been witnessed in the campaigns with the few that have been witnessed the latest happening in Meru where rival factions clashed in a rally by Kenya Kwanza presidential running mate Rigathi Gachagua.

Another instance was at the Jacaranda grounds where DP Ruto supporters clashed with those of Embakasi East MP Babu Owino.

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