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No, viral photos don’t show former Kenyan cabinet secretary ‘a few days’ before recent death

IN SHORT: George Magoha is unsmiling in the photos, and Facebook users are asking why “no one reached out to him”. But the pics were snapped in 2019, not a few days before the former cabinet secretary’s death from a suspected heart attack in January 2023.

Kenya’s former education cabinet secretary George Magoha died on 24 January 2023 at the Nairobi Hospital after a suspected heart attack.

Just hours later, photos of him sitting in a bus went viral in Kenya with the claim they showed him “a few days ago” in Doha, the capital of Qatar on the Arabian peninsula

Magoha is unsmiling in most of the photos. In one, he has his head in his hands.

“Photos of Late George Magoha a few days ago in Doha,” reads a typical caption to the photos.

Other Facebook users added that he appeared to be going through a lot “and no one reached out to him”.

But are the photos recent? We checked.


Photos more than three years old

A reverse image search of the photos reveals they were snapped in 2019. 

They appeared in a 2020 post by a Kenyan blogger that questioned the then cabinet secretary’s leadership style. (Magoha held the position from 2019 to 2022.) In the post, he relayed a Kenyan journalist’s experience of Magoha. 

The journalist, identified as Saddique Shaban, posted the photos on Twitter in October 2020. He shared his opinion of the cabinet secretary after the two travelled together from Japan to Qatar in 2019.

The photos are not recent.

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