By Adhere Cavince
The decision of the court to drop hate speech charges against Environment Minister, Chirau Mwakwere is a slap on the face of justice.
It further sets a dangerous precedence particularly drawing from the fact that the minister himself had pleaded guilty of his inflammatory remarks in the court of public opinion just four days ago.
When the National Cohesion and Integration Commission ( NCIC) and the Muslims for Human Rights recommended charges against Mwakwere, it was based on the polarizing gravity of his infamous utterances. It was beyond a demand of a public apology, an option they could have used paralegal methods to accomplish.
Using Mwakwere’s choreographed apology as an excuse to exonerate him from facing justice is not only unacceptable but also retrogressive in the era of new constitutional dispensation. Public apology is good but justice on top of public apology is even better.
What is even more appalling is the decision of the complainants to withdraw the case.
While the move by the NCIC has been viewed by some quarters as conciliatory, what does it project about future cases of similar magnitude? Will we allow politicians to incite followers only to settle their atrocities via public apology?
This is why I insist that the Kibunjia led commission is doing Kenyan taxpayers a disservice. The formation of the commission was inspired by Kenya’s post election violence, partly blamed on inflammatory statements made by politicians from across the divide.
Since its formation, the score card of the commission has remained largely off-putting. Save for hounding some vernacular musicians into police cells, Kibunjia has little to show the Kenyan public on his commitment to stem the tides of hate mongering in the country. The political class, the bane of ethnicity, continues to evade the commission.
With Mwakwere in the dock, Kibunjia had a golden chance to breathe life into the commission, something which now remains a dream. It is these kinds of mistakes, coming at such a time of high stakes, which continue to fan the flames of impunity.
As we enter the electioneering period, the NCIC must redeem its image and assure Kenyans that its recent calls for extension of tenure are warranted.
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