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No, photo snapped in 2018 doesn’t show Kenyan president Ruto’s ‘new signal jammer’

IN SHORT: The photo was taken in 2018, years before William Ruto was sworn in as Kenyan president in 2022. And it shows a vehicle fitted with a radio frequency jammer that’s often seen in Tanzania’s presidential motorcade.

A photo of a black sports utility vehicle with rows of large antennas on its roof is doing the rounds on social media with the claim it shows Kenyan president William Ruto’s “new signal jammer”.

The photo started circulating online in late January 2023. It’s commonly captioned “New signal jammer for president William Ruto” or “The New Signal Jammer For President Ruto's Security”.

Ruto was elected in August 2022, and sworn in a month later.

On Twitter, one version of the claim has been viewed more than 165,000 times and liked over 2,300 times. It can also be seen here and here on Twitter, and here, here and here on Facebook.

But what does the photo really show?


What are signal jammers?

The vehicle in the photo has been fitted with a radio frequency jammer. These have two main functions.

First, vehicle-based jammers block signals from mobile phones or radio frequencies that could be used to set off bombs or plan an ambush. Second, their powerful transmitters connect to other vehicles in a convoy, allowing the occupants to talk to each other. 

Vehicles fitted with these jammers are commonly used in military convoys, particularly in cities. They are also used to protect the convoys of high-ranking people such as presidents.

A vehicle with a signal jammer was part of a convoy at Ruto’s inauguration in September 2022.

Many countries regulate signal jammers as their interference with other communication devices can threaten public safety. Kenya’s Communication Authority has warned against the unauthorised use of jammers.

Photo posted on Twitter in December 2018

A Google reverse image reveals that the photo was first posted online more than four years ago. It appears in a 6 December 2018 tweet, which reads: “Tanzania president John Magufuli is getting paranoid.” Tanzania lies on Kenya’s southern border.

The tweet’s claim can be confirmed by further searches for Tanzania’s presidential convoy. 

A YouTube video uploaded in January 2022, for example, shows the convoy of president Samia Suluhu, Magufuli’s successor. The same signal-jamming vehicle can be seen at the 3:08 minute.

The photo was snapped in 2018, years before Ruto became Kenya’s president. And it shows a signal jamming vehicle used in presidential convoys in Tanzania.

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