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Is Kenyan president William Ruto speaking in French in this clip? No, video is a deepfake

IN SHORT: A video of Kenyan president William Ruto speaking in French is circulating on social media in Kenya. However, the audio has been edited using artificial intelligence tools.

A short video, originally from TikTok and shared on Facebook, shows Kenyan president William Ruto speaking in what sounds like French. 

In the video, Ruto is seen standing on a podium in front of an unseen audience. Behind him are two flags, one black and the other blue and white.

Ruto is heard saying: “J’ai observé les chiffres, aujourd’hui. Au Japon, le taux d’imposition par rapport au PIB est de 34.8%. Au Kenya, nous sommes à 15%. C’est mois de la moitié de ce qu’il est ici. Si nous voulons développer notre pays, les Kényans … ”

This loosely translates to: “I looked at the figures today. In Japan, the tax/GDP ratio is 34.8%. In Kenya, we’re at 15%. That’s less than half of what it is here. If we want to develop our country, Kenyans … ”

The video is overlaid with text that reads: “So, President Ruto can speak French.”

It has been shared on Facebook here, here, here, here and here.

But is Ruto speaking in French in the video? We checked.


Ruto is speaking in English in the original video

Africa Check took a screenshot of the video and ran a reverse image search on the image. This led us to the original video on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, dated 7 February 2024.

In the original video, Ruto is heard speaking in English: “I was looking at the numbers today. Japan, their tax as a percentage of GDP is at 34.8% … ”

He was addressing the Kenyan diaspora in Tokyo, Japan’s capital, on 7 February. Statehouse spokesperson Hussein Mohamed also shared the video of Ruto speaking in English on his official X account on 8 February.

The use of artificial intelligence tools to create deepfakes in foreign languages is becoming more common. Videos such as the one in question are becoming more convincing as voice software advances.

Ruto spoke in English, not French, when he addressed Kenyans in Tokyo.

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