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No, Kenya’s the Star newspaper didn’t report that a senior government official slapped an MP

IN SHORT: newspaper column circulating on Facebook claims that a senior government official slapped a member of parliament in Kenya. But it’s fake and the Star newspaper did not publish it.

Two weeks ago, a senior government official slapped a Kenyan member of parliament in a closed-door meeting in Nyahururu. That’s the claim in what appears to be a screenshot or photo of the print version of Corridors of Power, a popular political gossip column in the Star newspaper.

The column, posted on Facebook on 26 January 2024, reads: “A VERY SENIOR government official is under fire for slapping a senior MP from Murang'a. The senior government official is said to have slapped the MP at a closed-door function in Nyahururu two weeks ago. Allies of the Murang'a MP, irked by the senior man, stormed out of the function and vowed to revenge.”

Nyahururu is a town three and a half hours north-east of the capital, Nairobi. Murang’a is a county in central Kenya.

The column further claims: “A week later, 25 MPs from Mt Kenya organised a presser and proposed that the ‘slapped’ Murang'a MP to run for a top seat in 2027. Sources claim the senior government official is furious about the open rebellion he is facing in the region. It remains to be seen how the next few weeks pan out as tensions remain high.” 

The column features a photo of deputy president Rigathi Gachagua. It implies that Gachagua is the senior government official who attacked the Murang'a MP.

On 12 January 2024, Gachagua was in Zanzibar to represent president William Ruto at the 60th anniversary of the Zanzibar revolution. He was accompanied by his wife, Dorcas Rigathi, and other leaders.

But on 10 January, about two weeks before the image started circulating, Gachagua was in Nyahururu with Ruto to commission a milk factory.

Time and again, the media have reported on Rigathi's controversial statements that have rankled fellow politicians.

The column claiming that Gachagua slapped a Murang’a MP has also been published here, here, here, here, here , here, here, here and here.

But did the Star's Corridors of Power report this? We checked.


Ignore fake image

On 25 January 2024, the Star posted the image on its verified Twitter and Facebook accounts with the stamp “FAKE”.

“If it's not on our official pages, it's FAKE! Get the real one by visiting,” the newspaper said.

We also couldn't find any reports in the local media about the deputy president slapping an MP.  Such an incident would’ve made headlines.

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