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Kenyan president Kenyatta paid for deputy Ruto’s ‘HIV treatment’? No, newspaper front page doctored

An image that appears to be the front page of Kenya’s Star newspaper claims the country’s president settled the bill for his deputy’s HIV treatment.

The headline reads: “Wamalwa: Uhuru paid Ruto’s HIV treatment.” 

Eugene Wamalwa is a Kenyan politician and the cabinet secretary for defence. Uhuru Kenyatta is the country’s president, and William Ruto is his number two.

A sentence below the headline adds: “DP [deputy president] Ruto has a rare aggressive HIV strain and has been attending clinical sessions in Turkey paid for by the president.”

Ruto is pictured with a blood pressure monitor on his upper arm.

The page, dated 14 July 2022, gives the reason why Kenyans should pay attention to the story: “As a sitting DP, Ruto’s health is matter of national concern.”

The once-cordial relationship between Kenyatta and Ruto has broken down. Kenyatta will leave office after the August elections and, with Wamalwa, is backing former foe Raila Odinga as his successor. 

Ruto is also in the race to succeed his boss. 

The front page was also posted here, here, here and here

During campaigns leading up to the elections, the country's media landscape has grappled with a wave of false stories.

But did the paper really publish such a sensational story in its 14 July issue?


Fabricated front page

On searching the e-paper section of the Star, we discovered that the 14 July edition had a different headline. This section shows how the newspaper appeared in print on the day.

The headline on the legitimate front page of 14 July 2022 is: “KU land tussle linked to control of hospital.” 

KU is Kenyatta University, which has been in the public eye due to a land saga that roped in Kenyatta.

Dismissed by newspaper

The Star, on its verified Twitter account and Facebook page, has branded the supposed front page as fake.

“If it is not on our official pages, it is FAKE! Get the real copy by visiting,” the paper wrote on Twitter.

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