The National Cohesion and Integration Commission could soon be renamed and given more powers to rein in hate mongers and enhance national cohesion.
The National Cohesion and Peace Building Bill, 2021 repeals the National Cohesion and Integration Commission Act.
It renames the commission to National Cohesion and Peace Building Commission. The bill was tabled in the senate for first reading on Tuesday.
“The aim is to provide for a coordinated structure for peace building and cohesion in Kenya,” read the Bill in part.
The new commission shall formulate strategies, plans and programs for promotion of national unity.
NCIC has been accused for being a toothless commission that has been unable tame hate mongers, inciters and those who threaten national cohesion.
According to the Bill sponsored by nominated senator Judith Pareno, the commission shall have immense powers to tame hate mongers as the country heads to the polls.
The renamed commission shall publish names of persons or institutions whose words or conduct undermine national unity and cohesion.
“The commission shall summon witnesses and call for production of books, plans and other documents and to examine witnesses and parties on oath,” the bill read in part.
In addition, the commission is also mandated to investigate and make recommendations to the DPP on complaints of hate speech, ethnic or racial contempt and discrimination on the basis of ethnic, clan, religious origin.
“The commission shall establish early warning and early response system on conflict and put in place an emergency preparedness and response system to curb imminent conflict,” it states.
The commission will also have powers to cause a witness to furnish it with any information crucial in the investigations.
This, however, will require the commission to seek an order of the High Court.
“If a person has not complied with section 63, the commission may apply to the High Court for an order requiring the person to comply with the requirement of the notice,” it states.
Its shall also have powers to issue prohibition notices directing persons or entities involved in actions or conduct contrary to national cohesion and integration and peace building within seven days to cease such action or conduct.
According to the Bill, the commission shall consist of a chairperson and four other members.
The chairperson and the commissioners shall be picked by a selection panel appointed by the President.
After interviews, the nominees’ names be sent to Parliament for vetting.
“The president shall within seven days of receipt of the approved nominees from parliament, by notice in the Gazette, appoint the chairperson and members approved by Parliament,” it states.