IN SHORT: Kenyan opposition politician Raila Odinga has been leading demonstrations to force the government to address the high cost of living and remove tax hikes. But this stinging criticism of the demonstrations from one of his close allies has been fabricated.
A graphic attributing a quote to Millie Akoth Odhiambo is circulating on Facebook. In it, Odhiambo appears to criticise the anti-government demonstrations led by Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga.
Odhiambo is a member of parliament for Suba North constituency in Kenya’s Homa Bay county.
The quote reads: “Maandamano may no longer help us as a region. It is about time we accept the fact that Baba may never be President again. Luo Nation should now call itself to a meeting where such facts will be discussed and a way forward for the future decided.”
Odinga is from the Luo community.
“Maandamano” is the Kiswahili equivalent of “demonstrations” while “baba” is Kiswahili for “father”. It is an affectionate nickname for Odinga, who is the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party leader. The ODM is one of the parties in the Azimio La Umoja-One Kenya coalition, also led by Odinga.
The coalition lost the 9 August 2022 election to president William Ruto. This was Odinga’s fifth unsuccessful run for the presidency. But he has rejected the results, saying Ruto's government is illegitimate.
Odinga has been leading nationwide protests in 2023, mainly over the high cost of living and tax hikes.
Odhiambo is one of Odinga’s closest allies. But did she say that he would never be Kenya’s president and the demonstrations would not benefit the community? We checked.
The quote would have been picked up by mainstream media, considering Odhiambo and Odinga’s political friendship. But we could not find it in any credible media reports.
On 24 July, the lawmaker posted the graphic with the word “fake” stamped on it on her Facebook page.
The quote and the graphic are fabricated, made up to discredit Odhiambo and place doubt on the degree of political support Odinga enjoys.
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