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No, Kenya isn’t removing pockets from police uniforms to ‘fight corruption’

“Kenya to remove pockets from police uniforms to fight corruption,” says a story published on the site on 6 February 2019.

New pocketless uniforms would make it difficult for Kenyan police officers who take bribes on the roads to keep the cash they collect, it says. This was “part of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s fight against corruption in the country”.

Africa Check has previously checked a number of stories from and found them to be false. In 2018 the site published under the name of African Daily Voice, a legitimate pan-African press agency. It’s now using the masthead of Nigeria’s Premium Times newspaper.

New uniforms are part of police reform

But are Kenya’s police about to lose their pockets? The site doesn’t give any source or say when the “new uniforms” will be issued.

The story was republished on the blog Celebrities Buzz on 7 February.

It comes five months after the government unveiled new police uniforms as part of reforms to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of Kenya’s police. But some people made fun of uniforms on social media – including one comment about their big pockets.

Kenyan police are known for corruption on duty. According to the Transparency International report Traffic legislation gaps and drivers of corruption in traffic matters, the level of traffic-related corruption in the police is “high and widespread”.

The report says ignorance, low wages and an institutional culture of corruption contribute to the problem.

‘Nothing like that’

Africa Check asked Joseph Boinnet, Kenya’s inspector general of police, if there was any truth to the story.

“There is nothing like that,” he said.

Hoax’s origins in Ghana

A Google search shows social media users in Ghana shared a similar tale in June 2017.

Online media and blogs in Ghana and other West African countries picked it up, but this time it was “part of Ghana President Nana Akufo-Addo’s fight against corruption.”

The story circulating on Kenya’s social media is the same as the one in Ghana, save for a few changes. – Dancan Bwire (22/02/2019)


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