“Kibicho says 402 ‘idiots’ arrested on Sunday for violating curfew,” the headline reads. One Facebook user adds: “Kibicho using his finger to emphasise his point.”
Lifting the middle finger is an insulting and offensive gesture in many cultures including in Kenya.
The screenshot shows Kibicho behind a stack of microphones, indicating that he made the gesture at a news conference.
Did the top Kenyan official really flip the bird in public?
Statement on radio, not TV
Here is the original Citizen TV article, from 27 April. In its photo, Kibicho is raising his index finger.
The article reports that 402 people were arrested for violating the government’s stringent measures to slow the spread of Covid-19. Kibicho did reportedly call these people “idiots”.
“We have 402 idiots we arrested yesterday trying to challenge and tell the government ‘stop saving my life’ because that is the message they are communicating,” the article quotes him as saying.
But Kibicho didn’t say this on TV. The quote comes from an interview on the radio station Inooro FM, which broadcasts in the Kikuyu language.
Photo from 2019
In its article, Citizen TV used an old file photo of the official. A reverse image search reveals that the photo was published in the Star newspaper on 1 February 2019. It shows Kibicho speaking at a press conference on Huduma Number, Kenya’s national digital identity system.
The screenshot on Facebook has been manipulated. The official raised his index finger, not his middle finger. – Grace Gichuhi
For publishers: what to do if your post is rated false
A fact-checker has rated your Facebook or Instagram post as “false”, “altered”, “partly false” or “missing context”. This could have serious consequences. What do you do?
Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.Publishers guide
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.