Allan Wadi, the only Kenyan yet to be successfully convicted on hate speech charges feels that his arrests and prosecutions are unfair, meant to muzzle him.
Wadi was two years ago sentenced to two years in prison for hate speech and undermining the authority of a public officer and this year charged with incitement to violence.
But he is indifferent on the charges. “The arrests have been unfair as the intended purpose is to clip the freedom of expression and not to achieve the fake cohesion nonsense”, he said.
His incitement to violence case is still ongoing. While he was presented before a Magistrate in March this year, there has yet been a hearing date set. He also laments at the changing of Magistrates since the case started. It is now under the third Magistrate.
He further adds that while he receives threats and intimidating messages from people, he is not cowed. “Yes I do receive threats from government loyalists but it has never affected my mindset.”
But he is quick to add a political angle to freedom of expression concerns online. “The government security agencies have been targeting pro-opposition loyalists who criticize the looting and tribal leaning regime. They only fake arrest to pro-government loyalist when there is a public outcry. The cases for those supporting government never proceed as such”, he said.
Allan Wadi challenged Kenyans online to be vocal in exposing the rot in government and sensitize the public on the importance of voting. He said bloggers and social media has become the main source of information even for the main stream media and hence should help in exposing any mischief during the election time. “They should also act like observers and update electorates of the voting and tallying processes from various tallying centres”.
Wadi was among 43 participants in a training session on the internet and the law and digital security training organized by the Bloggers Association of Kenya (BAKE) with support from CIPESA. The trainings were held in Nairobi and Kisumu. He attended the Kisumu one and was grateful for the opportunity to attend the training and learn.
When he was first arrested in 2015, he was a fourth year political science student at Moi University. He has since graduated and is job hunting.
He further challenged BAKE be helping in bailing out bloggers, educate them, on how to be secure and also empower them. He also felt that BAKE should also be assisting upcoming and potential bloggers to register their own blogs too.