Security agencies in Kisii County have urged political candidates in the forthcoming General Election to desist from using offensive or threatening utterances during the campaign period.
Speaking to the press at the Kisii Cultural Hall in Kisii town, Kisii Central Sub County Police Commander (SCPC) Peter Kimani warned politicians against hate speech saying that the leaders needed to preach peace while selling their agenda to the residents.
“There are officers who have been deployed on the ground to monitor the campaigns and we shall take stiff action concerning hate speech,” said Kimani.
In addition, he urged the politicians to allow for free flow of traffic even as they traverse various towns and avoid causing traffic congestion.
The SCPC pointed out that the stipulated campaign period starts at 6am till 6pm and politicians who would be found campaigning at night would face the law.
Kisii Central Directorate of Criminal Investigations Officer (DCIO) Kimani Gitonga said they have put surveillance systems in place within the county and anyone found culpable of hate speech would be arrested and charged.
Gitonga cautioned the candidates against using social media to abuse competitors saying technological advancements have made it easier for them to track those misusing the digital platforms to incite community members.
Nyaribari Chache Member of Parliament aspirant Erick Obino said there is an army of youth that has been mobilized by politicians to engage in hate speech on social media and they needed to be reminded that there is a law that guides such utterances.
Obino urged his fellow leaders to moderate the campaigns and avoid abusive language adding that candidates should use their platforms to sell their agendas and appeal for votes peacefully.
He told the investigative agencies to be alert and take action against those spreading propaganda that could destabilize peace in the region.
“We should give relevant agencies time and space to conduct their investigations. I urge them to involve us when they finish their investigations by telling us the findings because propaganda in politics is caused by misinformation,” added Obino.
Ibeno Member of County Assembly (MCA) aspirant Steve Arika pointed out that politicians should avoid playing loud music that could affect normal school programmes when campaigning next to the schools.
Arika added that candidates should respect sensitive areas like hospitals and funeral ceremonies, saying that playing loud music would not guarantee more votes.
“I ask those who are paid to destroy other candidates’ campaign materials to stop. Do not be swayed by the little money you are given for the act. Vote for leaders who have your interests at heart and not those who will make your life miserable for a whole term,” he said.
The MCA aspirant urged the residents to stop using abusive language on social media adding that voting in opponents is the best way to deal with candidates they do not like.
The security agencies and political leaders were speaking at a Conference on Peaceful Elections which brought together representatives from the National Government Administration Officers (NGAO), Kisii county government, boda boda operators, matatu operators, clan elders, Nyumba Kumi and Community Policing leaders among others within Kisii Central Sub County.
These activities are being coordinated by the Sub County’s multi-sectoral committee on peaceful elections and are aimed at putting in place systems that will guarantee a peaceful environment before, during and after the elections.