Deputy President William Ruto released a remix of the song Sipangwingwi hours after the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) termed the word hate speech.
The DP dropped the song dubbed Hatupangwingwi on Friday, April 8, amid an outcry from the public, who demanded an explanation from NCIC on why the phrase was banned.
Gengetone artist ExRay featured the DP in the remix of the original song he featured artists Trio Mio and Ssaru.
The remix highlights issues the DP promised to deliver if he assumed power.
But the song’s release collided with the NCIC announcement, raising questions on whether or not the Commission will act to enforce its new measures.
Critics of the new song also called on the Kenya Films and Classifications Board (KFCB) to ban the song.
The NCIC released a list of 23 words and phrases that were outlawed as they reportedly propagate heat speech and incitement.
According to the Commission, the lexicon words singled out also provoke violence among different communities.
“We have therefore taken the bull by its horns through this exercise of identifying terms and coded language that has been commonly used in Kenya’s political landscape with the intent to incite violence against various communities of differing political stances,” NCIC chair Samuel Kobia stated.
“We have classified these terms as coded messages which can be used to activate hatred and consciously eliminate other communities. These terms are in various languages including English, Kiswahili, Sheng, Kikuyu, Kalenjin and Non-verbal nods.”
Notably, the Commission revealed that they heavily monitored social media before classifying the words, indicating that Kenyans will also have to be careful about what they share on these platforms to avoid provoking particular rhetoric.
“We monitored Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, among other social media platforms. The highest number that we identified to be spreading hate/incitement was Facebook, followed by Twitter.
In addition, we also received emails from the general public reporting complaint,” Kobia remarked.
Politicians allied with Dr Ruto chided the announcement by the NCIC, noting that some of the phrases on the list were a hindrance to free speech.