Investigate politicians using “watu fulani” and “watu wengine” phrases in rallies

Nyeri Town Member of Parliament Ngunjiri Wambugu. [File, Standard]

Nyeri Town Member of Parliament Ngunjiri Wambugu has written to the Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) George Kinoti seeking a determination of implication of certain phrases often used by political leaders.

In the letter dated September 15, 2020, Mr Wambugu has argued that phrases like “Watu fulani” and “Watu wengine” may sound harmless but could be coded by politicians to fan violence against a section of Kenyans.

He has identified Kapseret Member of Parliament Oscar Sudi, his Emurua Dikirr counterpart Johana Ng’eno and the Deputy President William Ruto as the leaders who commonly use the phrases, which he termed as ambiguous.

Wambugu liked these phrases to others like “kwekwe” and “madoadoa” which were allegedly used to spread hate messages and incite ethnic violence by politicians during the 2007 General Election.

“Please note that the phrases “Watu fulani” and “watu wengine”are politically ambiguous. In current p[ublic political conversations these phrases are being assumed to refer to particular Kenyan political families. Others assume that these refer to particular Kenyan economic sector. However, some…fear that these phrases could as easily refer to a certain ethnic community,” he noted in the letter.

He proceeded: “We must view these phrases as dangerous as the “madoadoda” and “kwekwe” encountered in Kenya’s violent history.

The legislator, who sits in the Administration and National Security Committee now wants Mr Kinoti to investigate the motivation behind the use of the phrases and apprehend leaders found culpable for incitement.

“I, therefore, request your office to investigate whether these phrases are meant to incite some sections of Kenyan society against others. If this is found to be the case…I demand that appropriate charges be preferred against anyone who has used these phrases in political rallies. This will ensure that we protect Kenyans from immediate and future political inter-ethnic conflict,” he further requested in the letter.

This comes at a time that the police and National Commission of Integration Commission (NCIC) have been busy investigating political leaders in connection to hate speech.

On Monday, Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi was charged with hate speech, assault against a police officer and resisting arrest at a Nakuru court. Sudi was remanded for two days and 2will be brought to court on September 16, 2020, for bail ruling. He is accused of attacking President Uhuru Kenyatta and his family, after which, he dared the police to arrest him and vowed not to apologise.

Ng’eno too was arrested and later released on bail after he was charged with incitement over his attack on the head of state and utterances over the Mau settlement.







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