IN SHORT: A photo doing the rounds on social media in March 2023 of Fred Matiang’i and Rachel Ruto does not signify a possible political deal between Odinga’s supporter and Ruto’s government. The photo is from 2019.
A photo circulating on Facebook shows Kenya’s former interior and national administration cabinet secretary Fred Matiang’i walking side by side with first lady Rachel Ruto.
It was posted on 13 and 14 March 2023 with the claim that the two walking together could signify a political deal with the government of Ruto’s husband, president Wiliam Ruto.
“First Lady Rachel Ruto pleading to Matiangi To Assist Ruto nchi isizame,” the caption reads.
The last part of the sentence in Kiswahili translates roughly as “so that the country does not sink”.
On the night of 8 February, there were news reports that the former cabinet secretary’s house had been surrounded by an elite team of police officers. The Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DCI) later summoned Matiang’i to shed light on the claims.
He was questioned and on 7 March it was reported that the DCI was charging him for allegedly misleading the public.
The summon has been widely interpreted as a political witch-hunt since, as a powerful cabinet secretary, Matiang’i supported opposition leader Raila Odinga’s bid for presidency. Odinga lost to Ruto in the August 2022 elections.
The photo went viral hours after charges against Matiang’i were dropped by the Director of Public Prosecutions. Many interpreted this as a resolve by Ruto’s government to forgive and work with him.
But does the photo show Matiang’i meeting with Rachel Ruto after this whole ordeal? We checked.
A reverse image search of the photo reveals it was taken on 22 October 2019 and published on the then second lady’s verified Twitter account.
Matiang’i and Ruto were at an exhibition showcasing some of the projects undertaken by women prisoners in Kenya.
“We would like to thank our CS DR. Fred Matiang'i Cabinet Secretary for the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Security in Kenya for the great support and for visiting the Cross stitch International Exbition at the Michael Joseph centre this morning,” Ruto captioned the photos at the time.
“Together we continue to support our ladies in prison and give them hope and dignity,” she added.
The photo of Fred Matiang’i and Rachel Ruto does not show the two meeting in March 2023.
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