NAIROBI, June 14 (Xinhua) -- Kenyan authorities on Tuesday raised an alarm on the rampant incitement by politicians and the use of social media to propagate hate speech ahead of next year's general elections.
The authorities also warned that if unchecked, political rhetoric would spark violence ahead of the 2017 polls which is expected to be closely contested.
Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet on Monday evening issued summons to six lawmakers to record statements with the police over hate speech.
Among the lawmakers set to be investigated is lawmaker, Moses Kuria, who called for the "assassination" of the former Prime Minister Raila Odinga for leading anti-electoral body protests.
Boinnet said Kuria, among other lawmakers, made statements "laced with ethnic hatred, vilification and which border on incitement."
Another opposition lawmaker Junet Mohamed was arrested early Tuesday in Nairobi moments after participating in a television morning show and rushed to the police for interrogation over statements that amounted to hate speech.
The Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) Ndegwa Muhoro said the six politicians will be arraigned in court on Tuesday, noting that files against five politicians were ready while the sixth was being finalized in time for court appearances.
"We are hard on this and we are going to deal with all hate mongers regardless of their political affiliations," Muhoro told journalists in Nairobi.
Those expected to face charges are lawmakers Kuria, Kimani Ngunjiri, Ferdinand Waititu, Aisha Jumwa, Timothy Bosire and Junet Mohammed.
Police were also said to be probing Senator Johnson Muthama over similar charges. Muthama was also arrested at his Nairobi home on Tuesday.
Kenyans have called on politicians to check their language in the run up to campaigns, warning that unless the current political rhetoric is toned down, the country is likely to be plunged into chaos as witnessed during the 2007/2008 post poll chaos.
They have also called on relevant government institutions such as the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) and the international community to move fast and act against politicians and any other leaders involved in the use inflammatory sentiments.
"We are not going to sit back and let the situation degenerate into the kind of tragedy we have seen before," NCIC chairman Francis Ole Kaparo told journalists on Tuesday.
"I cannot say that the days of hate speech are over. But we have most definitely started on the road to ending hate speech," Kaparo said.
NCIC is mandated to facilitate and promote equality of opportunity, good relations, harmony and peaceful co-existence between the persons of the difference ethnic and racial communities.
Kenyan political parties are currently positioning themselves for the second general election since the passing of a new Kenyan constitution in 2010.
The new constitution was created as a tool to avoid a repeat of the violence that was also blamed on the lack of a transparent political structure and credible state institutions, including the courts.