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No evidence Ugandan president Museveni called Kenyan politician Odinga a ‘threat’ to East Africa’s development

A widely shared Facebook post claims Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni has labelled Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga a “threat” to the development of East Africa.

The claim, posted on Facebook in Kenya on 22 October 2020, is in the form of a screenshot of what seems to be an earlier Facebook post. It begins: “Museveni at it ...”

It then quotes the Ugandan president, in Kiswahili: “Mnanijua mimi siwezi nikaficha. Ninasema wasi. Kama kuna MTU anayetisha Maendeleo ya East Africa, ni huyu mtu hapa.”

This roughly translates as: “You know me. I cannot hide (anything). I speak plainly. If there's a person who is a threat to the development of East Africa, it is this person right here.”

The screenshot shows Museveni holding a large framed portrait of Odinga.

The quote continues, in English: “Kenya is known to produce a lot of brilliant minds but this one is bad luck.”

Odinga was prime minister of Kenya from 2008 to 2013 and is now leader of the Orange Democratic Movement opposition party. He is also the African Union high representative for infrastructure development.

Uganda lies on the western border of Kenya, in East Africa. But did Uganda’s president recently hold up a photo of Odinga to say the Kenyan politician was “bad luck” and a “threat” to the development of the region? We checked.

Photo of university fundraising auction

A Google reverse image search reveals that the photo has been online for almost nine years.

It appears in an article on New Vision, a Ugandan news website, dated 8 December 2011 and headlined: “Museveni, Odinga donate to Busoga University”. The article reports on a fundraising drive at the university that both Museveni and Odinga attended.

The photo, credited to Donald Kiirya, is captioned: “President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni auctioning Raila Odinga's portrait during the fundraising drive of Busoga University Complex.”

Multiple internet searches produced no evidence that Museveni recently labelled Odinga a threat to East Africa’s development, or called him “bad luck”. The statements in the screenshot have not been reported by any credible news outlet.

In September 2019 Odinga paid a courtesy call to Museveni at Uganda State House in Entebbe. In a photo of the visit posted on the State House website, the two seemed cordial.

The Facebook post is false. – Sam Waruingeh

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