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Senator seeks to abolish national cohesion agency

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A new plan has been hatched to abolish the commission charged with fighting discrimination, ethnic hatred and incitement in the country.

A draft Bill before Senate proposes National Cohesion and Integration Commission which has been under intense criticism by Kenyans and politicians for failing in its mandate abolished and one one created.

The scrapping of NCIC which is currently without commissioners after their term expired in September would see it replaced with the National Cohesion and Peace Building Commission according to the Bill.

Already parliament is in the process of replacing the former eight commissioners led by the chairman Francis Ole Kaparo after President Uhuru Kenyatta extended their  three-year term by one year.

Nominated Senator Judith Pareno (ODM) through her National Cohesion and Peace Building Bill, 2018 argues that replacing NCIC seeks to provide for a coordinated framework to achieve peace building and cohesion.

 “The Commission is mandated to investigate and make recommendations to the Director of Public Prosecution on complaints of hate speech, ethnic or racial contempt and discrimination on the basis of ethnic, clan or religious origins,” reads the Bill.

Pareno wants the National Cohesion and Integration Act, 2008 repealed to create NCPBC composed of four members from the current eight.

Kaparo yesterday told Star on phone that there is “nothing in the name” in responding to the bid to replace NCIC on grounds peace building in the country has been part of their work.

“Peace building is very important in our national lives and so is cohesion. We have been trying to resolve ethnic and inter-clan conflicts by trying to bring people together,” he said.

The ex NCIC chairman, however, said the commission should be empowered in terms of budget and staff to deliver its mandate. 

“I also hope it will get all support in terms of political goodwill to perform its crucial work,” Kaparo said.

The Bill proposes a selection panel be set up instead of a parliamentary committee on national cohesion to help in hiring a chairperson to serve for nonrenewable term of six years and five years for the three commissioners.

However, the selection panel after conducting interviews for NCPBC will forward three names of successful candidates to the President to pick a chairperson.

The panel will forward 10 names to President to pick three candidates as commissioners before submitting to parliament for approval.

The new commission, unlike the current one, will have powers to establish early warning and early response mechanisms on conflict and put in place proper systems for emergency response to curb imminent conflict.

“The Commission shall have power to issue prohibition notices directing persons or entities involved in actions or conduct contrary to national cohesion, integration and peace building within seven days to cease,” reads the Bill.

The Bill allows the new commission to investigate and recommend hate speech, ethnic or racial disdain, and complaints of any form of discrimination to the director of public prosecutions.

The current law provides that the complaints be recommended to Attorney General, Human Rights Commission or other authority. 

The enactment of the new law to create NCPBC, however, will not affected pending complaints and cases filed at the NCIC.  

All complaints, which immediately before the commencement of this Act were made to the former Commission at the commencement of this Act, shall be deemed to have been made to the Commission.

NCIC in September last year, for instance, said it was investigating 273 hate cases perpetrated on social media. 



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