A screenshot of what appears to be a social media post by Kenya’s Kameme TV, posted on Facebook in June 2022, includes a graphic that seemingly shows the results of an opinion poll for the governorship race in Murang’a county.
The county, in Kenya’s central region, is one of 47 in the country. Its governorship results on 9 August will be closely watched in a tightly contested general election.
Confusingly, the graphic also presents the results as being from a 20 June debate. “CENTRAL GUBERNATORIAL DEBATE MURANG’A EDITION RESULTS 2022,” its header reads.
Text below adds: “Irungu Kang’ata is the most preferred Gubernatorial Candidate in Murang’a County if Elections were held today.”
The post’s text reads in Kikuyu: “Ùtukù wa ira nituratabanirie nditinurano gatagateine Ka ahùranìri a gìtì kia Gavana Murang'a. Thutha ùcio nìtùrekire ùthuthuria na kuona 48% ya andu mena wìhokeku na ùtongoria wa swnrta wa tha Ici Irungu Kangata.”
This loosely translates as: “Last night we conducted an opinion poll for the Murang’a county gubernatorial race and we found that 48% of people believe in the leadership of current senator Irungu Kangata.”
The rankings give Kang’ata 48% of the vote. Others are Moses Mwangi (26%), Irungu Nyakera (12%), Irungu Wairagu (7%) and Joseph Mwai (3%). The graphic includes the Media Council of Kenya’s logo, suggesting the media regulator backs it.
Kameme TV is a popular Kikuyu-language station. Did it really post this graphic on social media, putting Kang’ata in the lead of the Murang’a county governorship race?
‘We have not conducted any opinion poll’
The post reads “FAKE! Ndumiriri ino iratambio nenda-ini ndiumite Kameme Tv na gutiri uthuthuria twikite wigii kihitahitano kia ungabana Murang'a ona kana kihitahitano kingi o giothe. Twitter handle itu ikoragwo ari @KamemeTvKenya na nituhetwo ruri rwa ‘blue tick’. Wihuge muhahi wa turia nime!”
The Kikuyu translates as: “This message circulating on social media is not from Kameme Tv and we have not conducted any opinion poll in relation to the Murang’a county governorship race or any other position. Our Twitter handle is @KamemeTvKenya and is verified. Beware of fake news!”
Kenya’s pollsters are a popular target of disinformation campaigns. The false numbers pose a threat to voters’ ability to make informed decisions in the general election.
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