Hate messages on social media have reached alarming levels ahead of the polls. There’s every reason to worry given the mass influence of online platforms. Peace-loving Kenyans have been taken aback by the fact that many ardent Internet users continue putting the country on the precipice of chaos using the Internet.
Worse still, the era of fake news has only but added fire to the wild tendencies of the online world, where more than half of Jubilee and NASA supporters engage in spontaneous actions to sell their agenda.
Of late, comments on social media have only served to entrench tribal divisions, which remain the elephant in the room that continues to jolt the vision the fathers of this nation had of a united and prosperous nation.
The world over, social media can only be beneficial when used correctly. While freedom of expression is paramount, it makes no sense whatsoever for anyone to hide behind a computer screen to peddle lies that endanger our national social fabric.
That Internet is widely used in Kenya is no longer in doubt. According to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, the number of Internet users rose by 10.7 per cent from 35.6 million in 2015 to 39.4 million last year. The growth is exponential.
We urge the Communications Authority (CA) and law enforcement agencies to do whatever it takes to ensure hate spewed on social media does not get out of hand. It is a difficult task but which can be executed without gagging anyone. Parochial interests must be kept at bay to preserve the peace. Peace shouldn’t be taken for granted.