IN SHORT: The front page of a Kiswahili-language newspaper circulating on social media, with a headline story that appears to stoke tribal tensions, is falsified. It’s been digitally manipulated and has been dismissed by the paper.
“Kenya Ama Kale-nya” loosely translates to “Kenya or Kale-nya”. “Kale-nya” is the combination of the words “Kalenjin” and “Kenya”.
The Kalenjin are an ethnic grouping of eight culturally and linguistically related groups who live in the Mount Elgon region, which overlaps the Kenya-Uganda border.
The intro of the lead story on the front page, dated 2 May 2023, reads: “Jamii moja nchini imebainika kuwa na uwakilishi mkubwa zaidi ndani ya serikali, na kuashiria ukosefu wa usawa wa uwakilishi wa makabila katika utendekazi wa umma, ripoti mpya imebainisha.”
This roughly translates from Kiswahili as: “One community in the country has been found to be over-represented in government, highlighting the unequal representation of ethnic groups in public service, a new report has noted.”
The front page shows a picture of Joseph Siror, who was recently appointed as the chief executive of Kenya Power and Lighting Company. This is a public utility company that distributes electricity throughout Kenya. Siror is from the Kalenjin tribe.
Ruto is Kalenjin and appointing his kin to government roles has been seen as rewarding loyalty rather than competence. Kenya is notorious for the role of tribalism in politics, ever since its colonisation by the British.
But is this really the front page of the Taifa Leo newspaper? We checked.
Front page fake
The headline reads “Ruto Arusha Ahadi Zaidi”, or “Ruto Makes More Promises”.
The publication said: “TAHADHARI: Shabiki tunakufahamisha kwamba kichwa FEKI kinachoangazia suala la ukabila si kazi yetu. PUUZA.”
This translates as: “CAUTION: Fans, we inform you that the FAKE title that focuses on the issue of ethnicity is not our work. IGNORE IT.”
The front page circulating on social media has been doctored.
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