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Misleading TikTok videos falsely claim leader of Kenya’s national assembly has apologised for supporting governing party in 2023

IN SHORT: Videos on TikTok claim that Kimani Ichung’wah has apologised for supporting Kenya’s governing United Democratic Alliance. Such a political development would be significant, but it did not happen.

A video posted on TikTok on 8 April 2023 shows a clip of Kimani Ichung’wah, the majority leader in Kenya’s national assembly, on a leading TV station. 

In the video, Ichung’wah apologises to Kenyans for supporting a government that is “not acting in the best interests of the country”. 

He begins by saying: “I have, right on this seat, on this desk in front of that camera, apologised to Kenyans.” 

He then says that he regrets “that there are certain things that I supported, believing we had a government that was acting in good faith in the best interests of the country, but I came to realise that state capture had since taken over government and that people are not acting in the best interests of the country”. 

He goes on to claim that he has been threatened with death for speaking out against this state capture – a vague reference to political forces that are apparently dismantling the country’s system of checks and balances.

The first part of this same video was sampled in another TikTok video. Here it’s claimed that Ichung’wah has realised he is a member of the wrong party, the ruling United Democratic Alliance (UDA). This has increased the reach of the claims. 

This second video claims Ichung’wah wants to join the Azimio La Umoja-One Kenya, the main opposition grouping.

The two videos have received over 6,000 likes and been shared over 500 times, with the majority of users believing it to be a recent development. But is this accurate?


Context: Ichung’wah was not referring to the UDA

Ichung’wah is a close ally of president William Ruto, the leader of the UDA, part of the governing Kenya Kwanza alliance

He was previously in the Jubilee Party before he and others switched to the UDA ahead of the 2022 general elections.

Opposition leader Raila Odinga was on the ticket for the Azimio coalition.

A YouTube search for the keywords “Ichung'wah apology Jubilee” brings up part of the original video posted on the Citizen TV Kenya YouTube channel. But it appeared on 22 February 2022, not a year later.

Ichung’wah was referring to the then Jubilee government led by president Uhuru Kenyatta. This government faced opposition from many of its members and even some opposition politicians after thehandshake agreement” between Kenyatta and Odinga, in which the two reconciled after being rivals in the 2017 general elections. 

The TikTok video is unedited, but it was filmed in early 2022. In the video, Ichung'wah apologises and talks about his former Jubilee Party, not his current UDA party.

The claim that Ichung'wah apologised for supporting the governing UDA party and that he claimed the party was not acting in the best interests of the country is false.

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