Negative Ethnicity on social media greatest threat to peace, NCIC warns

NCIC chairman Francis ole Kaparo

 

Increased spread of negative ethnicity peddled in social media platforms is the greatest hindrance in the fight against tribalism in the country, the National Commission on Integration and Cohesion Commission (NCIC) has said. 

NCIC Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Hassan Sheikh Mohammed observed that a section of the public misuse the social platform under the guise of freedom of expression enshrined in the constitution.

Speaking yesterday during the official opening of countering violent extremism, anti-radicalization and peaceful election conference at the Jaramogi Odinga University, warned the public against using any platform to spread hatred among Kenyans.

“Although the Constitution provides for freedom of expression, the same Constitution bars individuals from spreading propaganda of war and hate speech of any nature as one enjoys the freedom of expression,” he said.

“Curbing misuse of social media platforms to spread tribalism and hatred remains commission’s top priority as the country prepares for the 2017 general elections,” he added. 

Mohammed however said that the commission finds it difficult to nab individuals spreading hate speech on social media as they use pseudo names.

“Many foreign companies are not willing to track down those who misuse social media because they argue that the alleged offences do not meet the threshold according to the laws governing their countries,” he lamented.

He revealed that a study conducted in 2014 by the commission on social cohesion index indicates that the highest perpetrators of ethnic hatred and tribalism on social media platforms are individuals with high level of education. 

“People from different tribes and cultures with low education levels actually leave together in harmony and even give their children names from other tribes. Our biggest problem is the educated individuals who drive negative ethnicity especially in social media,” he said.

The CEO said the commission will now target students in higher institution of learning in the country to create awareness on the need to foster cohesion and peaceful co-existence in the country.

“We want to join hands with other stakeholders and reach out to the educated classes which have daily access to social media platform to create awareness and curb the vice on social media misuse,” Hassan said.

Mohammed also raised concern over the high rate of youth being radicalized in higher learning institutions.

He  stated that the rate at which youth in higher institutions of learning are joining radicalized groups is alarming thus putting the country’s future in jeopardy as well as exposing the residents to unnecessary fear.

Over 200 youth and university students drawn from 69 institutions of higher learning and youth leaders from the 47 counties were in attendance.

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