IN SHORT: A newspaper's front page being circulated online claims that the gay community in Kenya is grateful to the country's president, elected August 2022. This is inaccurate.
“Mashoga Washukuru Ruto” loosely translates to “gays thank Ruto”.
The image is also doing the rounds on WhatsApp, the popular messaging service.
The intro of the lead story reads: “Ateuliwa bila upinzani UDA Bwana Matutu Mathenge, ambaye ni Rais wa shirika la mashoga, Na makahaba wa kiume Kenya amemshukuru kinara wa chama cha UDA Naibu wa Rais Willam Ruto kwa kumpa nafasi kukigombea kiti cha ubunge wa Tetu bila upinzani.”
This roughly translates from Kiswahili as: “Appointed without opposition in the UDA, politician Matutu Mathenge, the president of the organisation of gays and male prostitutes in Kenya, has thanked UDA party leader, deputy president Willam Ruto, for giving him the opportunity to run for the Tetu parliamentary seat without opposition.”
Mathenge was an early UDA parliamentary candidate for Tetu constituency in central Kenya in the August 2022 general elections. He dropped out before the elections were held.
The publication date on the front page is “Alhamisi Aprili 14 2021”, meaning Thursday 14 April 2021.
But the front page began circulating online after Kenya's Supreme Court ruled on 24 February 2023 that the LGBTQ community in Kenya has the right to associate, or form lobbying groups, overturning a petition that tried to ban this. Members of the community can therefore register non-governmental organisations.
LGBTQ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer.
Ruto was one of those who opposed the court ruling.
But did the gay community in Kenya “thank” Ruto? We checked.
Front page fake
The headline reads “Anachezwa Tena?” or “Played again?”
The publication said: “TAHADHARI: Usihadaike na kichwa feki cha gazeti ambacho kinaenezwa mtandaoni.”
This translates as: “CAUTION: Do not be fooled by the fake newspaper headline that is being circulated online.”
The front page has been doctored, and there’s no evidence gay people in Kenya have thanked Ruto after the country’s supreme court ruled in their favour.
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