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Kenyans urged to ignore bogus letter claiming that ODM party is leaving opposition Azimio coalition

IN SHORT: What appears to be a letter from the ODM party withdrawing from Kenya’s Azimio la Umoja opposition coalition, led by Raila Odinga, has caused tension online. But the document is fake.

Kenya’s Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party has decided to withdraw from the country's main opposition coalition. That’s according to a letter circulating on social media, seemingly from the ODM to Kenya's registrar of political parties.

The letter, on an ODM letterhead, is headed: “WITHDRAWAL FROM THE DEED OF AGREEMENT FROM AZIMIO LA UMOJA ONE KENYA COALITION.” 

It was supposedly signed by Edwin Sifuna, the ODM national secretary general, and is dated 13 December 2023. Sifuna is also Nairobi's senator.

The claim began circulating after some coalition partners, including NARC Kenya leader Martha Karua and Jubilee Party leader Jeremiah Kioni, expressed dissatisfaction with the outcome of the bipartisan talks released by the National Dialogue Committee.

The talks were aimed at brokering a political truce between president William Ruto's ruling Kenya Kwanza coalition and Azimio following the disputed August 2022 general elections.

The letter has been posted on Facebook here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here. But is it authentic? We checked.

ODMLetter_Fake

‘Fake news’

We searched the ODM party's official social media platforms – Facebook page and X account – for the letter, but came up empty. 

No credible news outlet in Kenya reported the ODM's withdrawal from the Azimio coalition, which is surprising as it would have been a significant political move and news.

The ODM has 86 members of parliament following the elections and is the largest party in the Azimio coalition.

On 14 December, ODM communications director Philip Etale posted the letter – stamped “FAKE” – on his Facebook account.

The ODM party also posted the letter on its X account, also stamped “FAKE”.

“Only FAKE minds, FAKE things,” the party wrote.

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