National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) Rev. Dr. Samuel Kobia.


Kenyans need not to worry for using words such as Hatupangwengwi and Watajua hawajui, which have become popular with the young generation as well as politicians during the campaigns.

The two words among others had been banned by the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) categorizing them as hate speech or promoting hatred.

The High Court, however, quashed NCIC’s directive saying that the commission failed to follow the procedure of banning the words.

Justice Antony Ndung’u set aside the decision of NCIC to list the phrases as hate speech saying that it did not follow due process in taking the action.

“An order is hereby issued quashing the NCIC’s decision made on April 8, 2022 vivid Hatelex: a lexicon of hate speech terms in Kenya banning and or classifying “Hatupangwingwi” and “Watajua Hawajui” phrases as hate speech,” Justice Ndun’u ruled.

Chama Cha Mawakili Limited led by lawyer Felix Kiprono argued that NCIC’s decision could jail more than a million Kenyans.

In April NCIC listed the phrases alongside other words such as Madoadoa, Fumigation, Operation Linda Kura and Mende.

Chama Cha Mawakili moved to court challenging the decision by the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) to ban or classify some words deemed as hate speech but which is popular among urban youths.

The lobby group told the court that classifying popular culture ‘Hatupangwingwi’ and ‘watajua hawajui’ as hate speech, has no justification.

Chama Cha Mawakili urged the High Court to quash the decision by the Commission to classify the two terms, which is popularly used by the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party leader William Ruto and his allies.

“Unless the court intervenes by restraining the NCIC from implementing the decision are foresaid to the extent of including “hatupangwingwi” and watajua hawajui”, there is a real likelihood that the rights of Kenyans freedom of expression, fair administrative action, equal treatment and benefit if law, freedom and human dignity will be curtailed without a just cause,” said lobby group.

Through lawyers Felix Kiprono and Vincent Yegon, the lobby urged the court to suspend the implementation of the said decision made on April 8, 2022 banning the words.

“The NCIC in purporting to classify or ban the said words without any lawful justification had acted ultra-vires, taken sides and descended into the arena of politics,” said the group.

Chama cha Mawakili argues that they are apprehensive that as a result of classification or ban of the said words, NCIC and state agencies may institute criminal or related proceedings against millions of Kenyans accessing freedom of expression by using the said two words.