Hate speech surveillance to be intensified during this electioneering period in Mombasa County

The national government has put on notice reckless politicians who make utterances that could brew hatred and animosity among residents of Mombasa County during the ongoing general election campaigns.

County commissioner John Otieno said a team is already on the ground across the country undertaking serious surveillance on hate mongers in political and other forums, for necessary action.

“Our team on the ground will be recording utterances of those out to disturb the peace and tranquility of our county. Those found inciting the public, will have their day in court defending themselves. Recordings of what they uttered will be played and will act as evidence. I know some will start saying their words were taken out of context,” added Otieno.

Addressing a peace conference attended by grassroots peace ambassadors and members of the county multi-sectorial committee on election preparedness on peace, the County Commissioner cautioned politicians against indulging in divisive politics that would disintegrate the unity of the country.

“It is our duty to ensure our county remain peaceful before, during and after elections. There are many things to do after elections. Children have to go to school and their parents have to go about their other errands. We should cultivate peace in our neighborhood so that other aspects of lives will not be affected,” he added.

The peace conference between Mombasa County security committee and community peace stakeholders was organized to lay strategies on ways of ensuring peace prevails throughout the electioneering period and forestalling any acts of violence.

Otieno urged the county peace building stakeholders to commit themselves in pursuing peace and guiding the youthful population from engaging in any acts of violence before, during and after elections.

“You are here because of your esteemed role in our society and it is incumbent upon every one of you to work tirelessly by ensuring our county continues to remain peaceful,” Otieno reiterated.

He also revealed that the national government has also rolled out a fresh phase of Kazi kwa Vijana Initiative to keep youth busy and empower them economically.

He posited that the objective of the new phase of the noble national government project is geared towards diverting the attention of the youth from being involved in campaigns and election related violence.

“Politicians can easily misuse the unemployed youth by hiring them to attack their opponents and disrupt rallies. We have launched Kazi kwa Vijana so that they can work and earn Sh 450 each day,” added Otieno.

He further stated the crackdown on illicit drug trafficking and trade will be intensified terming a recent arrest of a woman with Sh 115 million worth cocaine was a major breakthrough for law enforcement agencies.

“Our narcotic team will continue with surveillance and ensuring those selling drugs are prosecuted and save our youth from the menace of drug abuse,” added the county commissioner.

The county police commander Stephen Matuu said the crime trend has started going down following elaborate measures put in place and improved close working relationship between security organs and citizenry.

“We have been recently rated as 6th county in the crime index. However, with such concerted efforts we are capable of being the top most secure county in our country. We are very encouraged by efforts which has resulted into reduced cases of machete-gangs attacks in areas of Likoni, Nyali and Kisauni sub-counties,” he added.

However, community peace stakeholders told the county security committee that there is a need to deal with unnamed politicians behind violent juvenile gangs in those sub counties.

“As members of the peace committee our work will be easier if your team will also zero in on those politicians funding those youths attacking innocent public with machetes. We have to take drastic measures so that we can make serious progress,” said a member of Mombasa County council of elders.

The National Peace Committee chairperson Shamsa Abdillahi called on the committee to consider involving all aspirants in peace building process across the county.

“Mr. Chairman, it is also paramount to involve all aspirants in this mission so that they will listen to what is being said and go out to preach to their supporters,” added Shamsa.

Members of the clergy present also pledged to spread messages of peace among their followers. They were drawn from Hindu Council of Elders, Mombasa, Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims (SUPKEM), Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya (CIPK), Kenya National Muslim Advisory Council (Kemnac), Anglican Church of Kenya, and Redeemed Gospel Church among others.



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