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Kenya’s president watching suffering citizens on TV? No, video added to unrelated image

A video that seems to show Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta sitting motionless while watching a giant TV screen on which scenes of violence play out was posted on Facebook on 15 October 2020.

“How Uhuru watched news from the comfort of statehouse as Kenyans suffered during curfews and lock down,” the caption reads. The TV shows police officers beating people with batons and harassing traders in markets, as well as a news report on Kenyan authorities demolishing homes. 

After Kenya announced its first Covid-19 case in March, the government imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew. Incidents of police brutality in enforcing the curfew were seen throughout the country, and have been widely condemned.

But does the video really show Kenyatta watching people’s suffering during the curfew?

Photo originally posted on Twitter manipulated

The president is motionless throughout the 17-minute video because it is in fact a still image of him. This can be seen by the fact that while the TV’s scenes change, its reflection in the table at which Kenyatta sits remains the same.

The footage of police brutality was added to a photo of Kenyatta.

A Google reverse image search reveals that the original photo first appeared on State House Kenya’s official Twitter account, on 31 August.

“Council of Governors Resolutions of the Covid-19 virtual conference held on Monday,” the tweet reads.

This conference, chaired by Kenyatta, was to help the country take stock of its Covid-19 response and recommend policy measures to ready Kenya for any future pandemics.

In the original photo, Kenyatta watches the virtual conference projected onto the wall, which is seen reflected on the table. – Grace Gichuhi

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