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DPP: Prosecution of leaders on banned words will not be easy

By Judah Ben-Hur | Apr 14th 2022 | 1 min read
DPP Noordin Haji during a courtesy call at the Standard Group offices along Mombasa Road, Nairobi. April 13, 2022 [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

It will take more than uttering the words banned by the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) to face prosecution, Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Noordin Haji has said.

Following the ban of words like sipangwingwi, kama noma, noma and kama mbaya, mbaya, the move was met with fury from many Kenyans who felt some words were taken out of context. However, NCIC Chairperson Samuel Kobia argued that the words have been used in contexts where they propel hate speech.

Mr Haji, however contends that it will be important to also consider the context in which some of the terms are used with particular emphasis on sipangwingwi which has its origin from a popular genge tone hit. For someone who utters the words to be prosecuted then the statement needs to meet a certain threshold that proves a breach of electoral conduct. 

“It is just like the word madoadoa. Depending on how it is used and how it whips emotions, it will depend on the kind of evidence that is presented. The evidence will allow us as prosecutors to prove to the court that this word was actually used to incite the public,” said Haji.

Politicians including DP William Ruto have mocked NCIC by uttering the words in public and posting them on online.

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