In July 2019 three prominent Kenyans – a member of parliament, a telecoms CEO and a county governor – died of cancer.
The deaths revived media rumours about high numbers of government leaders reportedly being treated for cancer.
Then a Facebook user shared a photo of Kenya’s deputy president William Ruto being attended to by a medic with the claim it showed him “in Nairobi Hospital where he was diagnosed with cancer”.
The user commented: “Breaking news: Ruto in Nairobi Hospital amepatikana na cancer.” That’s Kiswahili for: “Ruto in Nairobi Hospital has just been diagnosed with cancer.”
Another post with the same image claimed Ruto had suffered a stroke.
‘Bout of flu’ during 2016 hospital opening
A reverse image search reveals that Ruto posted the photo on his Facebook and Twitter accounts in August 2016, during the official opening of the Lunga Lunga hospital in Kwale county.
Ruto said he was being treated for “a bout of flu”.
“Opened Lunga Lunga sub-county hospital and became a beneficiary of treatment after a bout of flu. I am grateful to Rhoda Pola who attended to me in Lunga Lunga Constituency, Kwale County,” he wrote on Facebook.
At the time, a few blogs used the photo to claim Ruto was suffering from “haemorrhage”. But these were also false. – Dancan Bwire
Naibu Rais wa Kenya Ruto hakupatikana na saratani – picha ya hospitali kutoka 2016
Mnamo Julai 2019 mashuhuri wa Kenya watatu - mbunge, mkurugenzi wa kampuni ya simu na gavana wa kaunti – walikufa na saratani.
Vifo hivyo vilizua uvumi katika vyombo vya habari kuhusu idadi kubwa ya viongozi wa serikali walioripotiwa kutibiwa kwa saratani.
Baadaye, mtumizi mmoja wa Facebook alichapisha picha ya naibu wa rais wa Kenya William Ruto eti akihudumiwa na daktari, na madai ya kwamba alikuwa "katika Hospitali ya Nairobi ambapo alipatikana na saratani".
Mtumizi huyo aliandika: “Breaking news: Ruto in Nairobi Hospital amepatikana na cancer.”
Chapisho lingine na picha hiyo hiyo lilidai Ruto alikuwa amepigwa na kiharusi.
'Pigo la homa' wakati wa ufunguzi wa hospitali ya 2016
Utafiti katika mtandao unaonyesha kuwa Ruto alichapisha picha hiyo kwenye akaunti zake za Facebook na Twitter mnamo Agosti 2016, wakati wa ufunguzi rasmi wa hospitali ya LungaLunga katika kaunti ya Kwale.
Ruto alisema alikuwa akitibiwa kwa "pigo la homa".
"Kafungua hospitali ya kaunti ndogo ya Lunga Lunga na nilikuwa mfaidi wa matibabu baada ya kuugua homa. Nina shukrani kwa Rhoda Pola ambaye alinihudumia katika Jimbo la Lunga Lunga, Kaunti ya Kwale," aliandika kwenye Facebook.
Wakati huo, blogu chache zilitumia picha hiyo kudai Ruto alikuwa anaugua "kutokwa na damu”. Lakini haya pia yalikuwa ya uwongo. – Dancan Bwire
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.