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Student in Kenya Jailed For Facebook Post Insulting Their President

Kenya President-Uhuru
Kenya President-Uhuru Kenyatta

Well I know quite a few Ghanaians who should be in jail then.

Alan Wadi Okengo, aka Lieutenant Wadi, is to spend a year in jail for a Facebook post he made about Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta.

The BBC reports the 25 year old political science student at Moi University was also convicted of hate speech, after another post saying members of the President’s ethnic group (Kikuyu’s) should be confined to one part of the country.

He pleaded guilty to both charges of hate speech, ‘using unprintable’ insults against the President and for demeaning authority of a public figure.

Kenya has recently passed a very tough security law, which they claim is to help in fighting Al-Shabab militants but looks more like its aimed at curtailing individual and media freedom, writ large.

It’s the same law that saw MP’s come to blows whilst debating its passage in parliament.

Mr Okengo’s posts where in opposition to the law, but it seems he might have gone just a tad overboard.

In addition to the year’s sentence, he is to pay a fine of $2,200 or serve an additional year in jail.

Recently, another blogger was charged after calling the president ‘an adolescent president’.

Irrespective of the need to fight terrorists, implementing laws that go overboard is not an answer. It creates a situation where the inalienable rights of the citizenry are flouted, when they should be the ones being protected.

Hate speech in any form is not advisable, but we just cannot start jailing people for that, not when freedom of expression is supposed to be around.

Luckily we have no such thing in this country, or our already overburdened prison system would get close to bursting.


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