CORD accuses government of using hate speech charges to muzzle leaders

FROM RIGHT: Cord Leader Raila Odinga, Wiper Democratic Leader Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka, Machakos County Senator Johnston Muthama and Siaya Senator James Orengo arrive during Machakos Senator home welcoming rally at Mulu Mutisya Garden in Machakos town. PHOTO: JOHN MUIA/Standard]
Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) will move to court to seek an interpretation on what constitutes hate speech.

The Opposition claimed the Jubilee government had resorted to prosecutions to stop its leaders from pinpointing the ills of the administration.

Opposition leader Raila Odinga claimed the Jubilee government was using hate speech charges to silence CORD leaders.

"But let the Jubilee government know that no amount of intimidation, threats or otherwise will stop us from pointing out what is wrong within the society," Raila said.

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Wiper party chairman David Musila disclosed that the Opposition lawyers will move to court to seek a clear interpretation on what constitutes hate speech.

CORD also said it will introduce an amendment to the National Cohesion and Integration Commission Act with a view to creating a clear law on hate speech.

"We have instructed our lawyers to go to court to file a petition and seek a clear interpretation of what hate speech is," said Mr Musila.

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They spoke yesterday at a prayer rally in Machakos to welcome home Senator Johnstone Muthama, who is facing hate speech charges.

But separately, Budalang'i MP Ababu Namwamba scoffed at the homecoming parties organised for MPs who were locked up at Pangani police station, saying he cannot be part of a team to celebrate hate.

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"I will not support or involve myself in activities that may cast us as supporting those making inciting statements," he said

The ODM secretary general said the homecoming rallies for the arrested MPs over hate speech claims last month were side shows.

"I have no exception and I condemn hate speech and any action that could cause political violence in the strongest terms possible," said Mr Namwamba

"As leaders, we must make a bold decision that if anyone is found guilty of incitement or making hate speech utterances, the full of force of law must be applied," he added.

Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka said he was ready to accept the verdict on the selection of the 2017 CORD presidential candidate.

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"I will not mind backing my brother Wetang'ula or Raila if they are the ones elected during the nomination but I hope I will conquer all of them. I have supported him (Raila) before and also supported Kibaki. I will still do it again," Mr Kalonzo said.

Kalonzo accused proponents of Jubilee in Ukambani of being used to divide the region's vote.

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hate speechCORDRaila Odingasenator johnstone muthama