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Did Kenyan president William Ruto dismiss public concerns about high food prices? No, video is edited

IN SHORT: The rising cost of living has left many Kenyans feeling the pinch. But a video clip doing the rounds on social media has been edited to suggest that William Ruto will make it even harder for them.

A short video on TikTok shows Kenyan president William Ruto speaking in Kiswahili, one of the country’s official languages, while on stage in front of an unseen audience. 

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The title of the video, also in Kiswahili, can be translated as: “Stop shouting at me. I'm the one who manages the government.” 

In the video, Ruto says: “Stop making noise. Do you understand? Who are you shouting at? Food prices will not decrease. Let's be honest. I will make it difficult for you/them.” 

The audience responds with applause. The video has gone viral, with more than 50,000 likes and 13,000 shares.

But is the president callously dismissing public concerns about the rising cost of living?

Ruto’s approach on cost of living

During his 2022 presidential campaign, Ruto promised to reduce the overall cost of living by increasing production through measures such as the provision of seeds and subsidised fertiliser.

After coming to power, Ruto removed subsidies on maize meal, fuel and electricity, saying they were unsustainable. But despite repeated reassurances from the president that prices would soon fall, they have generally remained high

Ruto's government blames the high prices on a weak shilling, drought and the Russia-Ukraine war, among other factors.

The cost of living is expected to rise further following the enactment of a controversial finance law. There have since been nationwide anti-government protests led by the opposition, mainly over the high cost of living. 

In this context, the video portrays Ruto as uncaring and uninterested in finding a solution to high food prices. This portrayal could create uncertainty and instability, likely leading to increased public anger. 

But how legitimate is this clip? We checked.

What the full video actually says

Doing a keyword and reverse image search of the keyframes in the circulating clip brings up a video of Ruto's full speech.

Ruto was speaking at the launch of Boda Boda Care, a programme to support motorcycle taxi operators. It is clear that the video clip being circulated was created by editing different parts of Ruto's speech from this event, distorting the original context.

The video has three edited sections taken from the original video at the timestamps 1:41:15, 1:40:04, and 1:38:46. In the section where he appears to say food prices can't come down, he was referring to an opposition's protest tactic of putting cooking pots on their heads, saying this wouldn't bring prices down.

When he said “making it difficult for them”, he was talking about resisting the pressure from the opposition.

The allegation that Ruto arrogantly said food prices cannot come down and that he would make life difficult for Kenyans is false. The video has been edited to take his words out of context.

 

 

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