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No, video from May 2023 protests in Kenyan capital Nairobi, not July protests in Kitale county

IN SHORT: A video of demonstrators in Kenya is not from the 12 July protests against the government of president William Ruto. It was filmed at least a month ago.

A video posted on Facebook claims to show a protest in Kitale, a town in Kenya’s Trans Nzoia county, about 390 kilometres northwest of the capital Nairobi.

The video is one minute and 12 seconds long and shows a crowd protesting outside a building chanting “ndovu”, Kiswahili for elephant.

The video was posted on 12 July 2023 with claims that it shows protesters invading a police station in Kitale during “Maandamano Wednesday”.

“Maandamano” is Kiswahili for demonstration.

The video was posted during nationwide protests called for the same day by opposition leader Raila Odinga.

Odinga lost the 9 August 2022 election to president William Ruto. But he rejected the results and has said Ruto's government is illegitimate.

Odinga is also demanding that the Ruto government reduce the cost of living. The opposition leader said the protests would continue on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of the week beginning 17 July 2023.

The video, which has been viewed over 279,000 times on Twitter, is captioned: “Protestors have taken over the main Police Station in Kitale. No one is coming in or going out.”

The text accompanying the video on one Facebook post reads: “Hustlers have taken control of Kitale's main Police Station. No getting in or out.”

“Police station taken over in Kitale,” reads another post.

But does the video show a protest during the 12 July protests that left nine people dead? We checked. 


Red flags

In the video, although it’s blurred, we can see the building called “Criminal of Directorate Investigations Headquarters” (DCI). This is located in Nairobi.

The DCI is Kenya’s Directorate of Criminal Investigations, the police department responsible for investigating crime.

We searched for the keywords “Ndovu DCI” and found a media report published on 25 May by the Star, a Kenyan daily newspaper. 

The story reported that supporters of Maina Njenga, a former leader of the outlawed Mungiki criminal gang, were protesting outside the DCI headquarters chanting "ndovu” after he was arrested. 

We searched on YouTube using the keywords “Maina Njenga supporters chanting ndovu” and found similar and clearer videos to the one we are reviewing, posted in May 2023, including here and here.

The same clip was posted on Facebook on 25 May with the caption: “Maina Njenga's supporters outside DCI Headquarters in Kiambu”.

The video shows a real protest in Nairobi in May 2023, but the claim that it happened in Kitale in July is false.

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