IN SHORT: The photo first appeared on Charlene Ruto’s Twitter account in a tweet about the US organisation Be Girl, which makes sustainable hygiene products for girls and women. The panties are Be Girl products – not Ruto’s old underwear.
Is Charlene Ruto, the daughter of Kenyan president William Ruto, donating her old underwear to hustlers?
That’s the claim about a photo circulating on social media in February 2023. In the photo, Ruto is holding two cups and standing between two women, each holding a pair of panties.
“Charlene Ruto donates her old underwears to hustlers,” a typical caption reads. The claim can be seen here and here on Twitter, and here, here and here on Facebook.
On the Kenyan political scene, the word “hustler” has come to be associated with president Ruto. It was a key slogan during his successful 2022 presidential campaign. It describes people – such as the unemployed and manual labourers – who struggle but still hustle for a living.
Ruto supporters call each other hustlers, and his government has launched several ”bottom-up” initiatives to support ordinary people.
Charlene Ruto has also portrayed herself as a hustler. She has claimed that she used to sell smokie kachumbari, a popular street food, at university.
In a later YouTube interview she confirmed that she did sell smokies, and that she has shopped at Gikomba market many times. Gikomba is a large and vibrant open-air market in the capital city of Nairobi known for its lower-priced second-hand items.
But does the photo really show the president’s daughter donating her old underwear to hustlers?
Period products from US organisation Be Girl
Using a Google reverse image search, we found that the photo was first posted on Charlene Ruto’s Twitter account on 6 February.
The tweet reads: “Towards the end of last year, we met the team from @BeGirlOrg who create sustainable hygiene products like reusable pads, period panties & menstrual cups. Their commitment to enhancing & improving period care is being embraced globally. Would you use a menstrual cup? #periodcare.”
The photo and tweet are part of a campaign to promote sustainable hygiene products, such as reusable pads and menstrual cups, from the US-headquartered organisation Be Girl. The panties in the photo are products made by the organisation.
The photo doesn’t show Charlene Ruto donating her old underwear to Kenyan hustlers.
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