War on hate speech: DPP goes after Richard Onyonka

War on hate speech: DPP goes after Richard Onyonka

Kitutu Chache South MP Richard Onyonka.

Photo credit: File

The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) has directed the National Police Service to investigate utterances made by Kitutu Chache South Member of Parliament Richard Onyonka on Sunday.

Mr Onyonka, who is eyeing the Kisii County senatorial seat, while addressing a huge gathering in Nyaribari Chache, Kisii County hit out at Meru Senator Mithika Linturi over his ‘madoadoa’ remarks.

“In a meeting held in Eldoret, Mr Linturi spoke of madoadoa which needs to be removed from there,” said Mr Onyonka.

The lawmaker, who is serving his third term, noted that he was a Member of Parliament during the 20007/08 post-election violence. He also warned Deputy President William Ruto of unspecified consequences.

Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji on Monday directed Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai to undertake investigations into the utterances.

“Reference is made to a video clip circulating on social media platforms in which Mr Onyonka is addressing a gathering in Kisii County. The alleged remarks captured in the video clip may be contrary to the constitution of Kenya 2010,” said Mr Haji.

The constitution states that the right to freedom of expression does not extend to propaganda for war, incitement to violence, hate speech or advocacy of hatred.

Evoke bad memories

“Submit the investigation file within seven days of the date hereof,” further ordered Mr Haji.

But Mr Onyonka told the Daily Nation that he had no apology to make.

“Our people were killed in 2007/08, nobody apologised. I will not apologise for calling out warmongers,” said Mr Onyonka.

Speaking in a different function, another set of Kisii County leaders strongly condemned the utterances by Mr Linturi, saying they border on incitement to violence.

Kisii Governor James Ongwae and Woman Rep Janet Ongera said Linturi’s remarks in Uasin Gishu were regrettable and evoke bad memories of the 2008 PEV.

Mr Ongwae said members of the Gusii community are scattered all over the country and were greatly affected in the 2007 election chaos.

“When you hear a child utter such words, it is a clear manifestation of what the parents were uttering in the house,” said Mr Ongwae.

The Kisii County Governor noted that many communities live in Rift Valley and such statements by politicians are worrying.

Mr Linturi has since been arraigned at Nakuru law courts.

He was arrested after the DPP asked the police to investigate the utterances he made at the rally attended by Dr Ruto.

The DP on Monday apologised over Linturi’s remarks as he sought to rein in his troops to avoid inflammatory statements in all public meetings.

Mr Ongwae and Ms Ong’era spoke at Tendere grounds during the burial of Mama Martha Kwamboka Gongera, mother of Kisii Deputy Governor Joash Maangi. Kisii senator Prof Sam Ongeri was also present.