Below the headline is a photo of a young William Ruto, the country’s current deputy president. The caption below the image reads: “Assistant Minister in the Office of the President William Ruto went on to intimate that stern action would be taken against Martha if she did not stop criticising the government”.
A user captioned the front page: “During the government of Moi, dp Ruto was a very powerful man. If he had anything to do to uplift the livelihoods of the so-called hustlers, he could have done it then.”
“On this particular day … as you can see from the picture … dp Ruto was warning human right activist and a lawyer, the incoming cj Martha Koome of dire consequences if she continued advocating for a better society.”
Africa Check counted at least 100 examples of the front page shared on Facebook. But is it real?
Clues front page image photoshopped
While digital editing skills could have made the image appear authentic, there are clues that it is fake.
There’s a suspicious informality in how the caption on the front page is written. It uses the judge’s first name “Martha”, not her surname “Koome”, which would be highly unusual for a newspaper.
The front page shows the date 1999, but also an advert “announcing KCPE 1992 results” for “Laiser Hill Academy”.
Why would a school only announce results for the 1992 Kenya Certificate of Primary Education in 1999, seven years later? The national exam results are usually released within two months. This is another clue the front page is doctored.
Original front page from 1993
A reverse image search led us to a copy of the genuine front page. We could tell it was the same original image because it features the same ad for Laiser Hill Academy. The sidebar on the right of the headline story is also the same.
But its headline is quite different: “Kibaki hits back at MPs over clashes.” And it is dated 10 February 1993.
The main photo is of a bridge being built. There is no photo or mention of Ruto anywhere on the page. The front page circulating on social media has been digitally manipulated and is fake.
For publishers: what to do if your post is rated false
A fact-checker has rated your Facebook or Instagram post as “false”. What should you do? First, don't delete!
Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.
Africa Check teams up with Facebook
Africa Check is a partner in Facebook’s third-party fact-checking programme to help stop the spread of false information on social media.
The content we rate as “false” will be downgraded on Facebook and Instagram. This means fewer people will see it.
You can also help identify false information on Facebook. This guide explains how.