IN SHORT: What appears to be a statement from Kenya’s Azimio la Umoja coalition, which was led by presidential hopeful Raila Odinga in the August 2022 elections, thanks Royal Media Services for its coverage of March 2023 protests. But the document is fake.
A document with the logo of the Azimio la Umoja coalition, thanking the Royal Media Services media company for covering Kenya’s opposition coalition protests on 20 March 2023, is circulating on Facebook.
The document has the headline “APPRECIATION TO ROYAL MEDIA SERVICES” and thanks Citizen TV, a TV station owned by the company, for covering the protests.
“I write to register my sincere acknowledgement and appreciation of your support during today's peaceful demonstration to defend our democracy,” the document says in part.
“Citizen Television did an outstanding and starling job to show Kenya and the world the determination of Kenyans to defend their democracy and reclaim their stolen victory in last year's election,” it says.
The document also thanks the company’s founder Samuel Kamau Macharia “for standing with Kenya and Kenyans”. It asks the company to provide coverage again in the other scheduled protests by the coalition.
The document allegedly came from Raila Odinga’s presidential secretary.
Odinga is the leader of the Azimio la Umoja coalition and the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM). He lost the 9 August 2022 election to incumbent president William Ruto. He, however, rejected the results and has said Ruto's government is illegitimate.
Odinga led countrywide protests on 20 March 2023 to force Ruto’s government to address the high cost of living and the reconstitution of Kenya's electoral commission, among other grievances. He has said the protests will continue weekly.
Police fired teargas at protesters during running battles in the capital Nairobi, streamed live by Citizen TV and other media outlets.
During the presidential campaigns in 2022, Ruto accused media outlets of being biassed against him in their coverage. Macharia - the Royal Media Services founder - openly supported Odinga’s bid for president.
But is the document thanking the media outlet legit? We checked.
On 21 March, the ODM took to its verified Twitter account to dismiss the document as fake.
The party’s director of communications also stamped it fake.
The Azimio la Umoja coalition has not thanked Royal Media Services or Citizen TV for their coverage of 23 March 2023 protests called by Raila Odinga.
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