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Former Kenyan president Kenyatta backs ex-Tanzanian president Kikwete for AU Commission chair? No, ignore fake graphic

IN SHORT: Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga has officially announced his candidacy to chair the African Union Commission. A graphic claiming that his political foe-turned-ally, Kenya’s former president Uhuru Kenyatta, had endorsed a different candidate is fake.

“Uhuru Kenyatta says Jakaya Kikwete is the best candidate for AU Commission Chairperson,” reads a graphic circulating on Facebook in Kenya.

It features an image of Kikwete, who was Tanzania's president from 2005 to 2015. Kenyatta was president of Kenya from 2013 to 2022.

The graphic also includes the logo and web address of Standard Group, the Kenyan media house that publishes the Standard newspaper

It comes just days after Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga formally announced his candidacy for the chairpersonship of the African Union Commission (AUC). The AUC is the secretariat of the African Union and manages the day-to-day activities of the 55-country bloc. It is based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Moussa Faki Mahamat of Chad has been the commission’s chair since January 2017. His second and final term ends in 2024. The chairperson of the commission is elected for a four-year term, renewable once.

Odinga is the leader of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM). The ODM is one of the parties in the Azimio La Umoja-One Kenya coalition, also led by Odinga. 

Kenyatta and Odinga made peace in 2018. Kenyatta even supported Odinga's bid for the presidency in the 9 August 2022 election, which he lost to Kenyan president William Ruto.

The graphic has been posted here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

But is it legit? We checked.


‘Fake news’

As of 23 February 2024, Kenyatta had not made his position on the issue public, either on social media or through local media.

On 22 February, the Standard took to Facebook and X (formerly Twitter) to dismiss the graphic as “FAKE”.

“FAKE NEWS ALERT: This is NOT a genuine post from The Standard Group or any of its brands. Be cautious NOT to fall for propaganda and deep fakes,” it posted.

The graphic is fake and should be ignored.

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