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Kenya’s opposition leader Raila Odinga crowned an ‘elder’ in Nigeria? No, ignore altered photo

IN SHORT: A claim that Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga was crowned as an elder in Nigeria, and which has been used to attack him politically, is based on a doctored image.

An image of former Kenyan prime minister Raila Odinga being crowned as an “elder” in Nigeria is circulating on social media in September 2023.

The image has been posted widely on Facebook with the claim that Odinga has been crowned in Osun State at a private event. 

Its caption reads: “RAILA WENT TO NIGERIA TO GET POWERS. Kenya's veteran Opposition leader Raila Odinga was yesterday evening crowned a special Osun-Osogbo elder at an invite-only ceremony held at a "sacred grove" along the banks of Osun River, Osogbo City, Nigeria.”

Another Facebook account shared the image with the caption: “This is one of the countries Raila Odinga has been frequenting for his witchcraft for fortification. That's why God Almighty rejected his presidency.”

The claim can be found elsewhere on Facebook here, here, here, here and here

Odinga has previously been accused by his political rivals of using witchcraft to gain power in Kenya’s political space. The allegations surfaced mainly during the 2022 election period and have been dismissed.

But does this image show Odinga being crowned as an “elder” in Nigeria? We checked.


Altered image, original taken in 1977

A reverse image search reveals that the image has been manipulated to add Odinga’s face.

The original photo was featured in an article published by the BBC in February 2014.

We found similar images with different angles on Getty Images, a stock photo website. They show Emperor Jean-Bédel Bokassa during his coronation in the Central African Republic in December 1977. The photos were credited to a Richard Melloul.

The claim that Odinga went to Nigeria to be crowned an elder is false and the picture accompanying it has been altered.

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