IN SHORT: Kenyan social media has been flooded with videos of police brutality following opposition leader Raila Odinga's call for mass action on 20 March 2023. But one video circulating on Twitter is an old one, not taken during the 20 March protest.
A video shared on Twitter shows uniformed Kenyan police officers beating two unarmed men with batons.
In the video, one of the men lies on his stomach as the officers beat him up, while the other is grabbed and forced to lie down as he is being whipped. He can be heard screaming in pain.
Text accompanying the video reads: “Live at Nairobian city Central Business District.” The post has attracted more than 150,000 views.
“We are always watching, @DCI_Kenya @NPSOfficial_KE @IPOA_KE hope you see this. Police brutality is on the rise yet you do nothing about it. If was peaceful until these bandits came in. Kenyans have their rights. Cowards. Raila Odinga and Dpp should talk #Maandamano,” another post reads on Twitter.
“Maandamano” is Kiswahili for demonstration.
Kenya held general elections on 9 August 2022 and William Ruto was declared president by the country’s electoral commission. Raila Odinga, the long-time politician and presidential aspirant, rejected Ruto’s win.
In March 2023, Odinga called for nationwide mass action, beginning on 20 March. The protest's grievances include the high cost of living, the outcome of the August election and pending electoral reforms.
But does this video show police brutality in Kenya during the 20 March protest led by the opposition leaders? We checked.
A reverse image search of keyframes drawn from the video clip using the InVID search tool led us to the same video posted in 2022.
Africa Check was unable to determine exactly where and when the video was filmed. However, we found two instances of the clip posted on Twitter on 11 August 2022 here and here.
We also found a statement issued by the Kenya National Police Service (NPS) on its official Facebook and Twitter accounts, dismissing the same footage as old.
On 11 August 2022 NPS tweeted: “NPS is drawn to a video clip circulating on social media of police officers engaged in unpleasant confrontation with some youths. We have reviewed the clip, and wish to state that whereas the action of the police seem out of line with operational policy and expected practice … the incident, which is from the past, is not related to the ongoing 2022 general election as assumed.”
“As a protector of human rights, NPS continues to review our internal performance to reflect the expectation of the public in line with democratic policing ideals and our corporate vision and mission of professionalism, and responsiveness to our clients,” they said.
The NPS was reacting after the same video went viral at the time. The report was also published by Kenyan news websites, the Star and Kenyans.co.ke.
Africa Check has contacted the NPS spokesperson for more details on the video, and we'll update this article if we get a response. But the police brutality in the video has nothing to do with the 20 March 2023 protest.
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