A statement seemingly by billionaire Tabitha Karanja, who is vying for a senate seat in Kenya’s August 2022 elections, has been doing the rounds on Facebook and WhatsApp since May.
It’s headed: “TABITHA KARANJA'S SENTIMENT THAT RAISED THE EYEBROWS IN KENYA KWANZA.”
Karanja, the founder and chief executive of Keroche Breweries, is a member of the United Democratic Alliance (UDA). It in turn is part of the Kenya Kwanza election coalition, led by current deputy president – and presidential hopeful – William Ruto.
In the statement, Karanja appears to ask Ruto to “change” the campaign “tactics” and respond to the appointment of Martha Karua as the running mate of Raila Odinga, Ruto’s main rival for the presidency.
“Our Kenya Kwanza team has been sent into political coldness,till then our secretariat team raises their antennae a little higher, history is going to be written with Martha Karua serving for the first time in such a high profiled office,” the statement reads.
It adds: “Change the tactics Mr.Ruto,I have been in business for decades,I'm well acquainted on when to take risk,and to what extent.Now that we have the 'big risk',ponder deeply and have a sequence of what to we can sell to voters.”
The statement can be seen here, here and here.
Karua’s appointment as Odinga’s running mate was seen as a win for the women of Kenya. But did Karanja really issue this statement, cautioning the coalition about its tactics and chances in the elections? We checked.
‘Political propaganda’ and ‘malicious’
In late May, Karanja posted a screenshot of the statement on her Facebook page, stamped “FAKE” in red.
“My attention has been drawn by fake statement circulating in social media on allegations that I support or rather don't have confidence in my party and the choice of our running-mate for Kenya Kwanza Coalition,” she wrote.
“This is to notify the members of public to treat the purported statement and its content as political propaganda and malicious attempt to assassinate my character and my firm relationship with UDA and Kenya Kwanza Coalition."
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