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No, Nation didn’t report that Kenyan president Kenyatta said ‘I cannot hand over power to thieves, conmen and tribalists’

A graphic with the branding of established news website Nation, circulating on Facebook in February 2021, attributes a controversial quote to Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta. 

“I’m going home next year but I cannot handover power to thieves, conmen and tribalists,” it reads. “I have served with them in my government for eight years and I am the only one who stopped them from eating everything.”

Text at the bottom adds: “President Uhuru Kenyatta, February 11 2021”. The graphic includes a photo of Kenyatta, as well as Nation’s logo and web address –

But did Nation really report that Kenyatta said this? We checked.


What Uhuru said

On 11 February, Kenyatta was out and about in Nairobi, Kenya’s capital, popularising the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) national unity drive. 

NTV Kenya, part of the Nation Media Group, captured a video of the president saying, in Kiswahili: “Nia yangu ni kuhakikisha ya kwamba wale ambao wataendelea hawatakuwa watu wa kunyanyasa na kuwaibia wananchi … nia yangu ni kuhakikisha kuwa wale watendelea watakuwa na hiyo roho ya kuunganisha wakenya sio kuwatenganisha.”

This roughly translates as: “My intention is to make sure that those who will take over from me will not be people who oppress and steal from citizens … My intention is to make sure that those who will take over from me will be people who can unite Kenyans and not divide them.”

The quote is clearly different to the one in the graphic.

On 12 February Nation posted the graphic on its Facebook page, with “FAKE” written across it in red.

“FAKE NEWS ALERT!” the post reads. “Please be advised that the quote doing rounds on social media is a fake. Do not fall for fake news.”

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