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No, Kenya’s Odinga didn’t meet Hillary Clinton in 2020 – photo from 2012

On 7 February 2020 a Facebook user shared two copies of a photo showing Kenyan opposition leader and former prime minister Raila Odinga meeting former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton.

“Wonders will never end in this world, after Raila odinga Ojinga was blocked from the White House, he went to meet USA opposition leader CLINTON,” the caption reads. The name ‘Ojinga’ is a derogatory play on his name that loosely means “fool”.

Odinga and Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta travelled to the US in early February to attend the US national prayer breakfast, an annual event hosted by the US president in Washington DC.

Kenyatta met current US president Donald Trump afterwards. They agreed to start discussing a trade pact between Kenya and the US, according to the Kenyan presidency.

Odinga’s absence from the meeting fuelled speculation that he had been prevented from meeting Trump.

Did Odinga meet Clinton instead, as the post suggests?

Clinton no longer leader in Democratic Party

Clinton is not the “USA opposition leader”. She was the secretary of state, or foreign minister, from 2008 to 2013 under former president Barack Obama, of the Democratic Party. 

She ran against Trump, who is a Republican, in the 2016 presidential election, as the Democratic nominee. But she no longer holds an official position in the Democratic Party.

Neither can the Democrats rightly be said to be the US “opposition”. The US two-party system is different from countries whose political systems are similar to the British parliamentary model. 

The Democrats have a minority within the senate, where their leader is Chuck Schumer, but a majority in the house of representatives, where they are led by Steny Hoyer. The chair of the Democratic Party is Tom Perez. 

So Clinton has been mistitled in the Facebook post. But did Odinga meet with her while visiting the US in February 2020?

Photo old, unrelated to 2020 visit

A reverse image search of the photo together with the phrase “Raila Odinga meets Hillary Clinton” leads to a clearer copy of the photo and hints that it was taken some years back.

A version was published on 6 August 2012 on an East African blog which said that Clinton, then US secretary of state, had been in Kenya on 4 August 2012. Another blog also posted two photos of Clinton and Odinga on 4 August 2012. 

In the background of the photos, behind Clinton and Odinga, are posters that show the Kenyan coat of arms and say “Office of the Prime Minister” in English and Kiswahili. This indicates that the meeting probably took place in Kenya when Odinga was prime minister, from 2008 to 2013.

An itinerary from the archived website of the US State Department during the Obama administration shows that Clinton was scheduled to meet Odinga on 4 August 2012 in Nairobi.

A news story by Kenya Television Network on YouTube shows the two meeting in Odinga’s office on the same date. Part of the video clip clearly shows the moment captured in the photo. – Dancan Bwire


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