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No, photo taken in 1965 – doesn’t show Kenyan politicians Ruto and Mudavadi at State House party in 1990s

A black and white photo of four men and a woman dancing is doing the rounds on Facebook.

It captions claim it shows Kenyan deputy president William Ruto with Amani National Congress party leader Musalia Mudavadi at State House, the presidential residence, in the early 1990s.

“Moi Day State House party 1992. Mr. Ruto and Musalia Mudavadi dancing and celebrating the fruits of independence,” reads one caption.

Moi Day was a Kenyan public holiday celebrated on 10 October every year to honour former president Daniel Toroitich arap Moi.

Another caption reads: “So when baba was fighting for democracy in 1991,Dp Ruto was busy dancing in the Statehouse.Very sad.”

“Baba”, Kiswahili for “father”, is an affectionate name for Raila Odinga, leader of the Orange Democratic Movement.

Ruto and Odinga are running for the presidency in Kenya’s upcoming elections, set for 9 August 2022.

But does the photo show Ruto and Mudavadi dancing at State House in 1991 or 1992 while Odinga was fighting for democracy? We checked.


Reverse image search

A reverse image search reveals that the photo was taken by Malick Sidibé, described by a photography website as an influential African photographer from Mali. He died in 2016.

It was published  on the UK Guardian website on 20 October 2017 with a French caption: “Dansez le Twist, 1965”. This translates as “Dance the Twist, 1965”. No other description is given.

It also appears on the Coeval Magazine website, which describes itself as a “new era encyclopaedia”, with the same caption.

We have found no instance where the photo is said to show Kenyan politicians.

Ruto born in 1966

On Facebook, a red circle is drawn around one man in the photo to indicate that he is Ruto. But the deputy president was born in 1966, so he would have been just a year old when the photo was taken. And Mudavadi was born in 1960, so he would have been five.

As for Odinga, he was 20 years old and was probably in school, having been born in 1945. According to Britannica, Odinga earned “a master’s degree in mechanical engineering in East Germany in 1970” and was politically active “in the 1970s and ’80s”.

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