Two lawyers have filed a case in the High Court challenging the Nationals Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC)’s inclusion of the coined word ‘hatupangwingwi’ in the list of words that were declared hate speech.
Also included in the case is the phrase 'watajua hawajui' which loosely translated into 'they will realize they do not know' while 'hatupangwingwi' translates to 'we don't get ordered'.
The two lawyers, namely Felix Kiprono and Vincent Yegon filed the case on behalf of a lobby group called Chama Cha Mawakili Limited (CML) on Monday.
CML disputed the inclusion of the word just a few days after the NCIC released the contentious list of words they believed could spark controversy during the electioneering period.
The word ‘hatupangwingwi’ has been among campaign slogans used by Deputy President William Ruto’s UDA party and the Kenya Kwanza alliance.
CML is seeking the High Court's expeditious intervention in granting a temporary relief before NCIC institutes criminal proceedings against Kenyans using the two terms during the electioneering period.
The lobby group said the two are not hate terms, as NCIC suggests.
Kiprono said the classification of the terms under hate speech descends into the political arena and violates Article 33 of the freedom of speech and Article 47 of the fair Administration.
He asked the court to suspend the ban because NCIC failed to notify the public about the intended ban as provided in the constitution.
“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 do not amount to hate speech,” Kiprono
CML has appealed to the court to probe the two terminologies and find them void of any hate elements.
The word originated from a song by local artists E-xray and Trio Mio entitled ‘Sipangwingwi’.