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Kenyan opposition MP ‘chased from Mombasa’ for supporting Building Bridges report? No, photo two years old

A photo posted on Facebook on 30 October 2020 shows John Mbadi, a Kenyan MP and chair of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) opposition party, running from a road with two men behind him and a look of alarm on his face.

“Am telling you BBI is going nowhere,” the caption reads. “My friend, sema kutolewa mbio Kama burukenge kutoka Mombasa.” The Kiswahili translates as: “He has been chased away like a monitor lizard from Mombasa.”

It adds: “Mr Mbadi was chased away with his fellow ODM brigade cows for trying to popularize the BBI fraud.” The post has been shared on several Facebook group pages.

The recently launched Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report proposes changes to the country’s constitution. It comes out of the political truce between president Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga, but has been opposed by deputy president William Ruto and his allies.

Does the photo show Mbadi being “chased away” from Mombasa by fellow members of the ODM for supporting the BBI report? We checked.

False context

A reverse image search reveals that the photo has been online since at least January 2018, and used to support different claims. 

It appears in a 31 January 2018 article on the Star newspaper’s website, which reports that it shows Mbadi running “for his life after anti-riot police officers threw teargas canisters” in Nairobi. The article says the lawmaker was among a group of MPs demanding the release of Ruaraka MP Tom Kajwang, who had been arrested by security officers.

In March 2020, Africa Check debunked a claim that the photo was of Mbadi being chased from Msambweni constituency in Kwale county.

The photo is more than two years old, and does not show Mbadi being chased from Mombasa by ODM members. – Dancan Bwire


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