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No, Kisumu Male Sex Workers Association did not say Kenya’s deputy president ‘supports our hustle’

A fuzzy photo posted on Facebook in late September 2020 shows five men holding up a banner.

The banner reads: “Male sex workers organization advocating for the rights of male sex workers from western Kenya region.” Much clearer text at the bottom right adds: “Ruto supports our hustle.”

William Ruto is Kenya’s deputy president, and a possible contender for the presidency in the country’s 2022 elections. In his campaign, he has branded himself a “hustler” who identifies with the daily struggles of the country’s poor and unemployed.

The top right of the banner shows the “Ruto cap”, a baseball cap – in the colours of Kenya’s flag – that Ruto is often seen wearing. But this is, again, much sharper than the fuzzy text around it.

In September, Africa Check debunked an altered image that suggested the Kenya Sex Workers Alliance endorsed Ruto’s bid for presidency. The alliance clarified that it did not endorse any politicians.

Is this another doctored image suggesting that sex workers support Ruto? We checked.

March by Kisumu male sex workers in 2018

A Google reverse image search reveals that the words “Ruto supports our hustle” and the Ruto cap image have been inexpertly added to the original photo, which is almost two years old.

The original and unaltered photo appears in an article on the site Daily Updates, dated 19 January 2019 under the headline: “Everlasting Shame As Kisumu Male Malayas Demonstrate For Their Rights”. The Ruto text and cap image are missing from the banner.

Another reverse image search leads to an article on the Kisumu Male Sex Workers Association website, dated 11 January 2019, in which the photo appears. The article reports on a march by alliance members held in Kisumu on 17 December 2018. Again, the Ruto text and cap image are missing

The photo posted on Facebook has been altered. It’s almost two years old, and the banner shown did not endorse Ruto.  – Grace Gichuhi


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