Back to Africa Check

Kenya’s prime cabinet secretary watching movies in his office? No, photo depicts virtual meeting with EU in 2020

IN SHORT: Kenya's new government has been criticised for the country's ailing economy. But a photo of a senior member of the executive has been shared out of context to cast him in a bad light, as if he is doing nothing to fix things.

A photo posted on Facebook claims to show Kenya's prime cabinet secretary Musalia Mudavadi sitting in an office, apparently watching a film on a laptop.

The caption to the photo reads: “Ghost work in OFFICE earning 1.1M watching Netflix na WIFI ya government. God ata kama ni punishment aki, uliona Ruto ndo punishment unatupea ama!”

The mix of English and Kiswahili loosely translates as: “Ghost worker in the office earning [Kshs 1.1 million]watching Netflix with the government WiFi. God, even if you were to punish us surely, Is Ruto the punishment you are giving us!”

President William Ruto won the August 2022 elections as the candidate of the Kenya Kwanza coalition of political parties.

Mudavadi is the leader of the Amani National Congress, one of the coalition’s constituent parties. His reward for supporting Ruto was to be appointed prime cabinet secretary to oversee government projects and coordinate the national legislative agenda.

Netflix is an international streaming service that offers a wide range of entertainment, including TV shows and movies.

In this case, a ghost worker would be an employee on the government’s payroll who does no work.

The gist of the claim is that Mudavadi is part of a bloated executive and whiles away his time in office, while drawing a salary from the taxpayer. A second image is of a battered wheelbarrow, captioned "state of the nation".

This image has also been published here and herewith the same implication.

But does this photo show Mudavadi watching movies at his office? We checked.


Reverse image search

A Google reverse search of the image revealed that it first appeared online on 10 June 2020. Mudavadi was not watching a movie but was in a virtual meeting with European Union ambassadors.

In a tweet posted alongside two photos taken during the virtual meeting, Mudavadi wrote: “I had a productive virtual meeting with 19 @EUinKenya Ambassadors hosted by EU Ambassador to Kenya Mr. Simon Mordue. We deliberated on a number of issues on the current developments in Kenya, in addition to feasible solutions to reviving & boosting the Kenyan Economy. @EuMordue.”

On the same day, Simon Mordue, chief foreign policy adviser to the president of the European Council, posted a tweet showing the image of Mudavadi on a screen, apparently speaking in a virtual meeting.

It reads: “Thank you to Honourable Mr Mudavadi for joining a virtual meeting this morning with all EU Ambassadors. We appreciated [His Excellency's] informed insights re. current developments in Kenya drawing on his many years of experience. @MusaliaMudavadi @EUinKenya.”

Republish our content for free

We believe that everyone needs the facts.

You can republish the text of this article free of charge, both online and in print. However, we ask that you pay attention to these simple guidelines. In a nutshell:

1. Do not include images, as in most cases we do not own the copyright.

2. Please do not edit the article.

3. Make sure you credit "Africa Check" in the byline and don't forget to mention that the article was originally published on

For publishers: what to do if your post is rated false

A fact-checker has rated your Facebook or Instagram post as “false”, “altered”, “partly false” or “missing context”. This could have serious consequences. What do you do?

Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.

Publishers guide

Africa Check teams up with Facebook

Africa Check is a partner in Meta's third-party fact-checking programme to help stop the spread of false information on social media.

The content we rate as “false” will be downgraded on Facebook and Instagram. This means fewer people will see it.

You can also help identify false information on Facebook. This guide explains how.

Add new comment

Restricted HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h2 id> <h3 id> <h4 id> <h5 id> <h6 id>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
limit: 600 characters

Want to keep reading our fact-checks?

We will never charge you for verified, reliable information. Help us keep it that way by supporting our work.

Become a newsletter subscriber

Support independent fact-checking in Africa.