Back to Africa Check

No, Kenyan union leader not appointed chair of electoral commission

A Facebook post claims that Francis Atwoli, the secretary general of Kenya’s Central Organization of Trade Unions (Cotu), has been appointed to head the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to replace Wafula Chebukati, who it says has resigned.

“BREAKING NEWS,” it begins. “Francis Atwoli appointed NEW IEBC chair after Wafula Chebukati resigned!!!” The post is dated 12 May 2020. Its claim also appears on Twitter.

Will Cotu’s Atwoli will now chair the electoral commission after Chebukati’s resignation? We checked.

‘Beware fake news’

The news has not been reported by credible news outlets in Kenya, a sign that it may not be accurate.

Capital FM shared a screenshot of WhatsApp message with the same claim, which included the station’s web address.

The screenshot is stamped “FAKE NEWS” in red and captioned: “Beware of ‘forwarded as received’ Fake News and follow @BreakingNewsKE for all our 411 alerts.”

Chebukati was targeted by similar false claims in 2018 when a letter bearing the IEBC logo claimed that he had agreed to step down. But the commission dismissed the letter on its official Twitter account.

On 26 May, Chebukati appeared in a Citizen TV interview to discuss how the Covid-19 outbreak would affect the country’s electoral calendar. In the interview he was identified as the IEBC chairperson. The Facebook post claiming otherwise is false. Grace Gichuhi


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.