Lawyers’ group challenges ban of Hatupangwingwi and Watajua Hawajui by NCIC

Lawyer Felix Kiprono (L) and Vincent Yegon outside Milimani Law Courts. Photo/Suek.

Chama cha Mawakili has moved to court challenging the decision by the NCIC to ban the words “Hatupangwingwi” and “Watajua Hawajui” and classify them as hate speech.

Through lawyers Felix Kiprono and Vincent Yegon, Chama cha Mawakili want the High Court to suspend the implementation of the said decision made on 8th April 2022.

According to the applicant, unless the court intervenes, there is a real likelihood that the rights of Kenyans to freedom of expression, fair administrative action, equal treatment and benefit of the law, freedom and human dignity will be curtailed without a just cause.

“The NCIC in purporting to classify or ban the said words without any lawful justification had acted ultravires, taken sides and descended into arena of politics,” Chama cha Mawakili said.

It is alleged that the two terms are popularly used by the United Democratic Party leader William Ruto and his allies.

The lawyers’ group is apprehensive that as a result of the ban, NCIC and state agencies may institute criminal or related proceedings against millions of Kenyans exercising freedom of expression by usage of the said terms.

“In their conduct, NCIC have a constitutional duty to adhere to the provision of article 47(1) of the constitution. In particular the process of classifying or terming words as hate must not be misused or otherwise used as an avenue to settle political scores in the guise of encouraging national cohesion and integration,” Kiprono said.

According to the group the classification of words as hate/ban must not be for a purpose of other than genuine enforcement of law and order.