Kikuyu Music: Hate Speech Complaint by Wawira Njiru

Dear Kyalo Mwengi,

I am writing to you (in your capacity) as the Senior Legal Officer for the National Cohesion and Integration Commission about some recently produced Kikuyu music that in my opinion constitutes hate speech and has very tribal connotations that are not in line with the NCIC’s guidelines on non-discrimination on grounds of race, ethnicity or religion and promoting cohesion and integration.

The music in question is by popular musicians ‘DeMatthew’  and ‘Kamande wa Kioi’ as in these videos here and this one by each of the musicians respectively.

An interpretation of these has been done here.

By all means, I fail to see how this is in line with discouraging ethnicity and discrimination and in fact promotes these vices.

As a Kikuyu speaking Kenyan, I fully understand the language used in the songs as well as the implications this can have in fuelling hate among members of the Kikuyu tribe and animosity towards members of other tribes.

I would like to request that you urgently deal with this matter and if possible charge the musicians in question with using hate speech to set a precedent for others who might want to use music as an avenue to do the same.

I look forward to your response to the matter at hand.

Yours sincerely,

Wawira Njiru,
Program Director,
Food For Education Trust,
http://www.food4education.org

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20 comments

  • Kwani Mzalendo Kibunja yuko wapi? If Kenya is afraid of dealing with these Kikuyus who do not realise that Kenya is larger than Central Province, someone should take them to The Hague. Si kwani radio presenter Joshua arap Sang is facing the ICC because of hate speeches?

  • Wakikuyu Owns Kenya THE GODS CHOSEN Whats wrong with you Munene? Every country has their Owners (The Right People ! You must be living in your Own Fantasy World If up to now you and other Primitive tribes do not know Kenya ni ya Wakikuyu!
    They Own You and all Other tibes in Kenmya!
    How do you expect people who cannot read and write to become Leaders When Kikuyus Dominate in Education Wealth (Money) to be ruled by Primitive tribes!
    These Racist Musicians were Paid By Uhuru Kenyatta to compose Praising Songs and All are Protected by the Kikuyu Ruling Class! Amka and realize Kenya is Kikuyu And Kikuyus is Kenya! Makabila wengine ni Watumwa who must serve Kikuyus!

  • Kibera Slum Reporter

    NCIC PROBES 3 KIKUYU MUSICIANS Tuesday, 26 June 2012 00:03 BY NZAU MUSAU AND KAMORE MAINA

    OURS: Kamande Wa Kioi
    HYENA: John De’ Mathew
    HAGUE: Muigai Njoroge
    Prev 1 of 3 Next

    THE National Cohesion and Integration Commission has begun preliminary investigations against three Kikuyu musicians accused of propagating hate speech in their songs of praise for deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta. Commission chair Mzalendo Kibunja told the Star yesterday that an official complaint was lodged with the commission last Friday. He said the commission had obtained the audio and video recordings of the songs.

    The musicians under investigation are Kamande wa Kioi, Muigai Wa Njoroge and John Demathew. The songs are Uhuru ni Witu (Uhuru is Ours) by Kioi, Hague Bound by Wa Njoroge and Mwaka wa Hiti (The year of the hyena) by Demathew. Kibunja said the commission will not hesitate to open charges against the three as well as any media which has been playing the songs if it is established that the songs have violated the National Cohesion and Integration Act, .

    The commission will also seek to ban the songs if they are found to promote hate speech. “We are waiting for an officially certified translation of the songs from a certified translator. The translation should be in by the close of business today or tomorrow and then we will announce next course of action. This is a very serious matter,” Kibunja said.

    He said the commission has contacted the Media Council of Kenya in a bid to get a log of all media enterprises which have been playing the songs. Section 62 of the Cohesion Act criminalizes the dissemination of hate speech. The songs have elicited mostly negative comments on social media with many condemning the sentiments as provocative and inciteful.

    Yesterday, the secretariat of Uhuru’s TNA party condemned the songs through its Facebook page called ‘Team Uhuru’. “We would like to strongly point out that if this is what certain vernacular musicians are doing, regardless of the language and community, we truly stand against it! Music in our respective languages is beautiful, but when corrupted for an agenda that disunites Kenyans, it’s shameful,” said Team Uhuru. “For the good of Kenya as a whole watch out for certain acts and base your votes on and NOT tribal affiliations/individuals,” said the Facebook post.

    Kioi’s song Uhuru ni Witu consoles Uhuru over the ICC trials. The DVD contains splices of Prime Minister Raila Odinga, President Kibaki and retired President Moi indicating that they are in support of Uhuru succeeding Kibaki. It also shows the IDPs in camps and proceeding of the ICC trials at the Hague.

    The song says God will deal with the ICC and Uhuru should not get worried as it was just a passing cloud. “Greetings people of the house of Gikuyu and Mumbi. I bring you a message from all Kikuyu musicians. This is a message from God. Uhuru is the Moses of the Kikuyu nation. He is meant to move Kikuyus from Egypt to Canaan. Do not agree to be divided. Let all votes go to him. He is ours. He is anointed by God, poured oil on.

    Raila, there is a call. Go to Mama Ngina’s house, a king has been born there. Once there ask where Uhuru is seated and pour oil on him. Just like Samuel did for David in the Bible. Stop chasing the wind Agwambo, go to Icaweri and anoint Uhuru. You thump your chest about Hague, is Hague your mother’s? There is a curse from God. Philistines who do not circumcise cannot lead Israel. When Abraham stressed God, he was told to go get cut, even you General of Migingo, your knife is being sharpened,” say some of the translated song lyrics.

    Wa Njoroge’s Hague Bound song is presented as a question and answer narrative.

    Question: What if you knew that you are being pushed to the Hague by an uncircumcised man who wants to push you there and take over your wife and all your wealth? A man who can do anything to ensure you are in problems.

    Answer: Then it is better to die. Things for men are not governed by an uncircumcised man. I would kill him. Its better they increase my charges.

    Question: What would you tell your crying supporters as you are being shipped to the Hague?

    Answer: I would tell them to pray for me and know I am being persecuted for my love of my community.

    Question: When you get to Hague how you would ensure the white man does not cheat you?

    Answer: I would ask for proceedings to be done in Kikuyu.

    Question: When on the dock what would you be thinking of the uncircumcised man who is the source of your predicament?

    Answer: I would ask God to forgive him. I would also ask that he gets circumcised so that he matures mentally. I would also ask Kenyans to be very wary of that man.

    Demathew’s song Mwaka wa Hiti describes 2012 as the year of the hyenas. It cryptically refers to the tribulations of Uhuru, the son of Jomo. “As Demathew I prophesize and let the stones hear me if men won’t. It is now the year of the hyena. Who will teach you and your ears are blocked? When a man is seated he sees further than a boy on top of a tree. You are like a greedy hyena seeing a man walk and following him hoping that his arm will drop off. You follow him till he boards the train and the arm does not drop and you never eat. Before Jesus was crucified, He stood in the court Judge Pilato and he answered all questions, Judge Pilato said Jesus is free but the crowd asked that a thief be freed instead.”

    Where are you from? If you were one of us, you would be pained by the people burnt in Kiambaa church. My brother lost his property in Kisumu, how can you tell us he is our community’s friend. Father I feel sad when I see your son being persecuted by men of ill-will and a woman is carrying their bags,” sings Demathew.

    c

  • Omari Wima Mfumeko

    The everlasting Solution to Kenya and tame Kikuyu Ruling Class arrogancy ,Hegemony and feudolism ,chauvinism is for every legion of Kenya to go MRC (Mombasa Republic Council)Way!

    The Big Rift Valley Should Follow the Suit Followed by Nyanza and The NEP!
    http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/features/83114z

  • Hatari Msume Khama

    The So Called Kenyas Primitive Tribes has Woken Up!The Sleeping dogs has Woken Up! HO;Jirongo is the Waking Sleeping dogs Ideologist and an Eye Oppener to Sleeping 41 Kenya Tribes> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WVkt4lhvU_U&feature=player_embedded#!>

  • The XYZ Show Season 6: Episode 2

    In this episode, XYZ goes behind the scenes to see exactly how the Youth Fund was disbursed, Obama and some African leaders have a chat on his recent support for the gay community, and No Butt Nagirr investigates the sudden and mysterious cost increases in commodity prices.

    The XYZ Show is Africa’s first and most popular puppet political satire show, produced by Buni in Nairobi. Every week its cast of latex characters comments on Kenyan and international news with gusto. Barack Obama, Muammar Gaddafi, Mwai Kibaki, Robert Mugabe, Raila Odinga, Kofi Annan, Jacob Zuma or Luis Moreno-Ocampo, nobody is safe from XYZ’s witty brand of humor.

    http://www.buni.tv/video/xyz-show-season-6-episode-2

  • Wanawake Wakikuyu wanatombwa na Waswidi wanaume ambao ni kihii 100%, mbona wanaume Wakikuyu hawalalamiki? We were colonized by the British ambao ni makihii yet no Kikuyu complains about that. Kibaki still depends on the Western world which majority of their men ni makihii. Kwendeni huko nyinyi Wakikuyu wakabila. Kibaki is now collaborating with China, which is a kihii country.

  • wawira njiru many Kenyans would like to congaratulate you for your statesmanship and good action we wish many will emulate you

  • Musicians face five years in jail
    Updated Wednesday, July 04 2012 at 21:35 GMT+3

    By WAHOME THUKU

    Three Kikuyu musicians now face five years or more in jail each after they were charged with incitement to violence and hate speech.

    Beside a mandatory jail term of upto five years for incitement charges, the three could be fined up to Sh1 million each if found guilty of hate speech.

    John Muigai alias Muigai wa Njoroge, Mark Kamande wa Kioi, and John Ng’ang’a alias John De Mathew were arraigned before a Nairobi court charged separately with incitement and hate speeches in their songs.

    But through their five defence lawyers, the musicians turned the heat on the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) and accused it of promoting tribal hatred. They said they would take the matter to the High Court for determination of constitutional issues.

    The trio were charged before Senior Principal Magistrate Elija Obaga at the Milimani Law Courts in Nairobi. Muigai, a popular gospel singer and music producer, was charged with two counts of incitement to violence and one of hate speech.

    He was accused of making the remarks intended to cause violence and hatred between the Kikuyu and the Luo community in his hit, Hague Bound produced in February, last year in Nairobi.

    Kamande also faced two charges of incitement to violence and one of hate speech. He allegedly made the utterance in a song Uhuru ni Witu (Uhuru is Ours) produced in February.

    Ng’ang’a popularly known to his fans as De Mathew faced one charge of incitement to violence and two of making ethnic and racial contempt in his songs Uhuru ni Witu and Mwaka wa Hiti (The Year of the Hyena).

    Police chose to charge them with incitement under Section 96(a) of the Penal Code, which attracts up to five years jail term without an option of a fine. However, the prosecution will have to prove that the words implied in the songs would be desirable to cause death or physical injury to a person, a community, class of persons or body of persons.

    Igniting hatred
    The charges of hate speech under the National Cohesion and Integration Act of 2008 attract up to Sh1 million fine or three to five years in jail.

    There was a light moment as one court clerk read out the charges in Kikuyu and the other made an English translation of the offensive words.

    One charge against Ng’ang’a translated thus: “Before Jesus was crucified, he stood in the court presided by Judge Pontius Pilate and answered all the questions. The judge ruled he had no case. He asked the crowd if he would release Jesus or he be crucified instead and the crowd asked for the thief to be freed and for Jesus to be crucified.”

    The audience laughed when the clerk said the extract from the Bible was intended to cause violence between the Kikuyu and the Luo communities.

    Police claim the songs, which are packed with proverbs, riddles, and metaphors contained hate speech intended to incite feelings of hatred, contempt, and discrimination among the Kikuyu or the Luo.

    But the musicians’ lawyers Gichuki King’ara, Mbiyu Kamau, Kibe Mungai, JM Waiganjo, Gathi Irungu, and George Kimani accused NCIC of igniting hatred between the Kikuyu and the Luo.

    “The NCIC through its incompetence is inciting the hatred between the Kikuyu and the Luo communities. Words that have never been incitement are now given an incitement interpretation,” lawyer Mungai said.

    King’ara, Mbiyu and Mungai said they would be taking the matter to the High Court to challenge the constitutionality of the charges and the trial.

    He said the cases were intended to present one-sided political opinion on the debate revolving around the prosecution of Kenyans at the International Criminal Court, which features in one of the songs.

    He argued that given the nature of the charges, the magistrate court could not deal with the matter before the ICC trials are concluded.

    But the prosecution led by Police Superintendent Bridget Kanyai said the cases were totally different and independent from the proceedings before the ICC. The three who had been out on Sh10,000 police bond were released by the court on Sh100,000 cash bail each. The cases will be mentioned on July 18, but will be heard on various dates in August.

  • International Business Times

    Musicians For Hate? Accusations Highlight Ethnic Tensions In Kenya

    By Ryan Villarreal

    July 6, 2012 8:54 AM EDT

    Three prominent Kenyan musicians have been charged with using hate speech in their song lyrics and inciting ethnic violence for political purposes.

    Kamande Wa Kioi, John Muigai Nyaruru (alias Muigai Wa Njoroge) and John Mwangi (alias John De Mathew), who are all members of the Kikuyu ethnic group, have been accused of employing language in their music that disparages politicians of the Luo ethnic group in the runup to the country’s general elections next year.

    The charges were brought by the National Cohesion and Integration Commission, a government body established in response to the ethnic bloodshed that erupted following the 2007 presidential elections.

    Some of the lyrics are alleged to make inflammatory references to Prime Minister Raila Odinga, a Luo expected to run for president against Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, a Kikuyu.

    One of Nyaruru’s songs written in the Kikuyu language and translated by the prosecution reads as such:

    “If you knew that the Hague is being pushed to you by an uncircumcised man who wants you to be hanged so that you leave your wife for him to enjoy with; while he sees you in trouble.”

    The lyrics seem to defend Kenyatta, who has been named a suspect by the International Criminal Court in The Hague in relation to the post-2007-election violence, implying that Odinga, believed to be the “uncircumcised man” (the Luo people do not traditionally practice male circumcision), is behind the push to prosecute Kenyatta.

    The musicians face prison sentences of up to three years or a fine of about $12,000 if found guilty.

    Their lawyer, Gichuki Kingara, said the court is applying “criminal interpretation to artistic works” in a “gross abuse of the court process,” according to the AFP news agency.

    Ethnic Tensions Sparked By Political Rivalries

    Longstanding tensions between the Kikuyu people, Kenya’s largest ethnic group representing 22 percent of the population, and the Luo people representing 14 percent of the population, have persisted over land and resource disputes.

    Tensions boiled over following the 2007 elections, which saw incumbent President Mwai Kibaki re-elected, defeating Odinga. Supporters of Odinga, many of them Luos, denounced Kibaki, a Kikuyu, alleging that his re-election was fraudulent and riots broke out with attacks primarily targeting Kikuyus.

    The U.N. estimated that more than 1,500 people died in the violence with around 300,000 people displaced. A compromise was reached in February 2008 with the creation of the position of prime minister, which was filled by Odinga.

    http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/360283/20120706/africa-kenya-election-luo-kikuyu-ethnic-tension.htm

  • They are targeting the Kikuyu community
    Wednesday July 11,2012 – Mathioya MP Clement Wambugu has said the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) Chairman Mzalendo Kibunjia is discriminating the Kikuyu community for arresting and prosecuting three Kikuyu musicians over hate speech.

    Wambugu accused the Kibunjia led Commission of vendetta against the Kikuyu community for no apparent reason.

    He said the NCIC has failed to arrest politicians known for making hate utterances.

    “Politicians are the most affected in uttering inciting words during their campaign rallies,”Wambugu said.

    “We would like to see the NCIC move swiftly to arrest others spreading hate speech, especially in political rallies. The law should not be applied selectively,”Wambugu added

    The Mathioya legislator also said the NCIC team should move in similar manner in summoning other people who are inciting Kenyans.

    “The issue touching on the artistes should have been thoroughly investigated before they were charged instead of rushing to apprehend them,” he said.

    Musicians John De’Mathew, Kamande wa Kioi and Muigai Njoroge were arrested and prosecuted for allegedly composing songs whose lyrics are offensive to national security.

    The Kenyan DAILY POST

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