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Storm of fake news hits Chebukati, Raila as all eyes on Supreme Court

By Lucy Mwangi and Jacob Nyukuri

  1. A tweet claiming Israeli ambassador Michael Lotem was fired after congratulating President-elect William Ruto was false. Ruto on August 22, 2022 received a congratulatory message from President of Israel Isaac Herzog that was presented to him by ambassador Lotem in Karen, Nairobi. On August 26, 2022, we contacted Israel’s deputy ambassador Drora Dorsman Yarkoni, who responded in an email stating that the information is false.

2. A digital card that has been making rounds on social media claiming former Nairobi gubernatorial candidate Polycarp Igathe has been re-appointed as the Chief Commercial Officer of Equity Bank was false. According to the Equity Group website, Igathe was re-appointed as the Group CCO on March 16, 2020. Igathe dismissed the news as false in a phone call on August 24, 2022. This comes after he was unsuccessful in his bid for the county’s top job.

3. A Facebook post claiming 14 IEBC ICT staff were arrested by ATPU, that ballot boxes were delivered to the Kahawa Garrison and commission chiarman Wafula Chebukati fled to Birmingham in the United Kingdom was false. According to a post dated August 20, 2022, an ICT employee had already purchased a house and a porshe cayenne. Chebukati is still in the country, having held a consultative meeting on August 22, 2022 at the Bomas of Kenya between the candidates of postponed elections in Mombasa, Kakamega, and other electoral areas and the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission. We discovered images posted on the IEBC’s Twitter account of Chebukati holding a consultative meeting. On August 25, we also contacted tThe Anti-Terrorism Police Unit (ATPU) Tactical Unit, a unit within the Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DCI), and they stated that they had not encountered or been involved in such case.

4. An August 20, 2022 tweet purporting to show an image of President-elect William Ruto’s motorcade was false. We conducted a reverse image search and discovered that it was shared by State House on its official Twitter account on December 12, 2021, when outgoing President Uhuru Kenyatta’s motorcade, accompanied by outgoing First Lady Margaret Kenyatta, departed State House, Nairobi, for Uhuru Gardens, where he led the nation in marking the 57th Jamhuri Day celebrations.

5. A tweet shared by former Murang’a senatorial candidate Pius Kinuthia claiming that Chuka Igambang’ombe returning officer had gone missing was false. On August 24, 2022, we contacted returning officer Josephine Mwiti, who stated that she is safe and sound, and that the reports of her disappearance were false.  We also discovered an article published on August 23, 2022 by The Standard after interviewing Mwiti, in which she stated that she was home and safe.

6. A video circulated on Twitter purporting to show Azimio la Umoja presidential candidate Raila Odinga conceding defeat was misleading. The footage was altered. On August 16, 2022 in an address at KICC, Raila stated that IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati’s declaration of William Ruto as President-elect was null and void. Raila filed a legal challenge to the presidential election results. We found a video of the presidential candidate conceding defeat on Capital FM Kenya’s YouTube channel on March 30, 2013. In the footage Raila stated that he accepted the Supreme Court’s ruling upholding Uhuru Kenyatta’s election.

7. A tweet claiming Wiper Democratic Movement leader Kalonzo Musyoka finally joined Kenya Kwanza coalition was false. We discovered a video of Kalonzo that was shared on NTV Kenya’s Facebook page on August 21, 2022, in which the Wiper boss, speaking to journalists after a church service in Nairobi on August 21, 2022, denied the claims and castigated those spreading the rumour that he was joining Kenya Kwanza. Kalonzo stated that he was concentrating on the legal process that the Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya coalition was pursuing to challenge the presidential election results.

8. A Facebook post claiming that former CJ David Maraga stated that outgoing President Uhuru Kenyatta was still putting pressure on the Supreme Court to annul the elections in favour of Azimio La Umoja is false. On August 23, 2022, the former president of the Supreme Court denied in a tweet that he had accused Uhuru of sponsoring petitions against President-elect William Ruto and coercing Supreme Court judges over the nine petitions filed, stating that the claim was false.

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