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.
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.
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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