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No, Kenya’s Siaya county governor not building KSh2bn ‘White House’

Governor Cornel Rasanga of  Kenya’s Siaya county is building a palatial KSh2 billion residence modelled on the US White House – in the midst of the Covid-19 emergency. 

That’s according to a screenshot of what seems to be a tweet by the governor, circulating on social media in early July 2020. 

It shows a large building under construction, with white walls and a long portico with tall white columns. 

“The Siaya Whitehouse worth 2B is nearing completion and will be launched once HE Raila Odinga jets back. God Bless Siaya County,” the tweet reads.

Raila Odinga is a former prime minister of Kenya and the leader of the Orange Democratic Movement opposition party, which Rasanga is a member of. 

Siaya’s government has been under fire for being poorly prepared to deal with Covid-19. 

But did its governor tweet that he was building a residence at a cost of KSh2 billion?

County headquarters, not ‘White House’

On 4 July Rasanga posted the screenshot on Facebook and Twitter, stamped “FAKE NEWS”.

“Ignore the fake Twitter account,” he said on Facebook.

His official Twitter handle is @RasangaGov, set up in November 2017. The imposter account, @GovernorRasanga, was only created in May 2020. 

On Facebook, Rasanga shared a 2 July article in Kenya’s Daily Nation newspaper about the structure shown in the screenshot.

The building is to be the Siaya county headquarters and will cost KSh75 million to complete, not KSh2 billion, the article says.

“The property on a three-acre piece of land is among Governor Cornel Rasanga's legacy projects and was launched 18 months ago to address the challenge of inadequate office space.” – Grace Gichuhi


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