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Lobby group in court to lift ban on Sipangwingwi

A lobby group has moved to court seeking orders to quash the outlawing or banning of the terms hatupangwingwi and watajua hawajui by politicians.

The ban, announced by the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) on April 8, 2022, raised an uproar in the political class.

Chama cha Mawakili Limited (CML) lobby is urging the High court to intervene expeditiously and then grant an interim relief before the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) swings to institute criminal proceedings against Kenyans who use the two alleged hate terms during this campaigning period.

CML asserts that the two words are not hate terms as claimed by NCIC vide its-Hatelex: A lexicon of Hate Speech Terms in Kenya-

CML through lawyers Felix Kiprono and Vincent Yegon is therefore urging the court to admit the suit under vacation rules and then grant it leave to institute the substantive suit against NCIC challenging the ban.

CML is praying the grant of leave to commence the case against NCIC be directed to operate as a stay (suspend) to the ban on the usage of hatupangwingwi and watajua hawajui declared by NCIC on April 8, 2022.

The said terms are contained in a song composed by artist Tony Njuguna aka E-Xray and Deputy President William Ruto where he is quoted stating “wakenya wamesema hawapangwingwi hata mimi hasla sipangwingwi” featuring

Mr Kiprono says in the certification that NCIC has not only descended into the political arena but has also violated Article 33 on freedom of speech and Article 47 on fair Administration.

Asking the court to suspend the ban, Mr Kiprono states that NCIC did not notify the general public about the intended ban as provided for under Section 7 of the Fair Administrative Action Act, 2015.

“The word/terms –hatupangwingwi and watajua hawajui classified as hate terms and or banned by NCIC are aphorisms of freedoms of expressions used by Kenyans and does not amount to hate speech,” Kiprono states.

CML is apprehensive that as a result of the classification and or ban NCIC and other state agencies may institute criminal or related proceedings against millions of Kenyans exercising freedom of expression by usage of the two terms.

CML further states: “there is a real likelihood the rights of Kenyans to equal treatment and benefit of the law and human dignity will be curtailed.”

The lobby states that NCIC should not be used to harass or oppress any person through the institution of hate speech proceedings against any person.

CML is urging the court to interrogate the two terms and then find that there is no hate element in them.

Kiprono and Yegon state in the evidence filed in court that no reasonable authority properly directing itself as to the applicable law could have concluded that the hatupangwingwi and watajua hawajui terms as hate speech.

The case has been presented before Justice Antony Ndung’u for directions.