Analysis of Hate Speech in Promoting Inter-Ethnic Conflict in Nairobi County and Uasin Gishu County After General Elections In 2007/8 In Kenya.
Obulutsa, Charles Lwanga Okata
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Hate speech became the common method adopted by politicians from different ethnic groups in Kenya for gaining support and sympathy for their candidature during the previous elections in 1992, 1997 and 2007. In Uasin Gishu County and Nairobi County, this method worked very effectively in 2007, as it created ethnic tensions eventually and resulted in causing violent conflicts in Nairobi City and Uasin Gishu County. This study analysed the influence of hate speech in inciting ethnic hostility and violence during and after the elections of the 2007/2008 in Nairobi County and in Uasin Gishu County. The Specific objectives of the study were: to examine the causes of ethnic incitement using hate speech during and after the 2007/2008 elections, to assess the effect of ethnic incitement using hate speech after the 2007/8 elections in Nairobi County and Uasin Gishu County, to assess the effect of ethnic incitement using hate speech on the post-election violence in 2007/8, to establish the government response to ethnic incitement using hate speech during 2007/8 elections in order to stop future occurrence. The study was conducted in Kibera Sub county and Mathare Valley of Nairobi City and also Eldoret city area of Uasin Gishu County. The residents of the two counties participated in the violence and incitement. They provided vital information on the incitement and hate speech which led to the ethnic violence in those areas. The study adopted a quantitative research method. The study used descriptive survey research design. The target population was based on 300 entities including, civil servants, community leaders, religious leaders, civil society and village elders. A sample of 50 residents of Nairobi City and 50 residents in Uasin Gishu County who witnessed the violence in 2008 participated in the study. Data was gathered using primary and secondary methods. Questionnaires were distributed to respondents for the purpose of collecting data. Purposive sampling method was used to get specific information from government officials, community leaders, civil society and other people who witnessed the violence. The collected data was coded, processed, and analysed through the use of SPSS tool. The findings, conclusions and recommendations were presented through reports, diagrams, graphs, tables and diagrams. The study covered the period between 2007 and 2009. The study concluded that hate speech was responsible for the deadly violence which engulfed Kenya during the 2007/8 elections. The study recommended that, the election machinery should be made tamper proof and be managed electronically to remove possible interference from hired hackers and unfaithful personnel and that the election laws should be re-written to include heavy sentences for election related fraud which may stir up post-election violence and that the security personnel should be re-trained on matters affecting the handling of election related disputes to enable them handle the disputes professionall