• Sophie Muluka Moi University
  • Dr. Bernard Kibeti Nassiuma Moi University
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Purpose: This study examined hate speech as the language of political discourse in Kenya, the study isolated the proliferation of hate speech within Kenyan politics as an imminent threat to national cohesion, arising from the emerging ethnic polarization. The study provides critical insights to aid in informing the reform agenda if hate speech is to be muted. It was anchored on critical postmodernism and questions the dominant assumptions that belie the current models addressing hate speech.

Methodology: A mixed method approach was adopted in the study.  A sample of 200 youths was drawn from Nairobi County, who completed questionnaires and a focus group discussion with election violence victims numbering 45.

Findings: The findings reveal that Kenyan communities co-exist in relative harmony except over each election cycle, when speech fomenting ethnic hatred dominates the campaign rhetoric, aggravating ethnic animosity. Findings suggests that hate speech sufficiently harmful to justify constitutional protection and points to the urgent need to develop an open discourse on the limitations of free speech as guaranteed by the Kenya Constitution as well as the dangers of hate speech to society.  The study constitutes a unique contribution to study on hate speech, promoting the argument that the power of hate speech derives from the mental concepts created through conspiracy theories spreading fear and hatred. Equally,critical insights on the extent of the influence of hate speech in the Kenyan scenario, and demonstrates how political elites invoke ethnic identities to further their own agendas. The study finds incompleteness of research surrounding the hate speech discourse.

Recommendations: It highlights the tenets of new policy imperatives to effectively augment efforts towards curbing hate speech, particularly in light of unprecedented developments in online media as an ongoing discourse in post-conflict societies struggling with institutionalization of ethnic cleavages.

Keywords: Hate speech, negative ethnicity, election violence


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Author Biographies

Sophie Muluka, Moi University

Post Graduate Student

Dr. Bernard Kibeti Nassiuma, Moi University

Senior Lecturer




How to Cite

Muluka, S., & Nassiuma, D. B. K. (2017). HATE SPEECH: A DERIVATIVE OF KENYAN POLITICS?. International Journal of Communication and Public Relation, 2(2), 55–69. Retrieved from https://iprjb.org/journals/index.php/IJCPR/article/view/520