Agency hiring social media monitors to track hate mongers

A group of MPs accused of hate speech in court last June. PHOTO | FILE
A group of MPs accused of hate speech in court last June. PHOTO | FILE 

The National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) is shifting its focus to hate mongers on the Internet against the backdrop of mounting criticism over its failure to tame politicians using public rallies to incite Kenyans.

The anti-hate agency seeks to recruit a social media investigations officer with a background in information technology and two others to work as social media monitors ahead of the August 8 General Election.

“Duties and responsibilities of the successful applicants will include identifying social media accounts spreading hate messages as well preparing weekly and monthly reports detailing investigation findings and trends”, the agency said in a job advert published on its website.

“They will also examine records to locate links in chains of evidence and adduce evidence before courts,” it said about applications that close on January 14.

The NCIC’s move comes after the government expressed fears over possible election-related violence fuelled by provocative social media posts.

Interior Secretary Joseph Nkaissery in August last year warned that several social media posts especially from politicians and vernacular stations risk plunging the country into violence after the elections.

The initial contract period for the social media monitors will be for a period of six months with possibility of an extension for an additional four months.

There have been fears that some social media posts were bordering on hate, presenting a dilemma for law enforcers and other monitors in the absence of a law.

Political temperatures have been rising ahead of the August polls and the NCIC has of late been accused of turning a blind eye to powerful politicians using public rallies for attacks.

Last week, National Assembly Majority leader Aden Duale dismissed an audio clip said to be his voice inciting the youth in Garissa against Wiper political party supporters. The anti-hate agency has not officially responded to the case.

Also seen to have been left off the hook easily are Senator Johnstone Muthama, Gatundu South legislator Moses Kuria and Bahati MP Kimani Ngunjiri.

In June last year, the NCIC summoned Mr Kuria and Mr Ngunjiri over hate speech but the suspects were later cleared.

NCIC chairman Francis Ole Kaparo noted recently that there were rising cases where politicians were using social media to spew hate speech.

Mr Kaparo asked Parliament for additional Sh971 million to hire key personnel to serve in the counties ahead of the general elections this year.