Back to Africa Check

Recent ‘mega demonstration’ in Nairobi, Kenya, over 2008 Kiambaa church killings? No, old photo doctored

A photo posted on Facebook in Kenya in February 2021 shows a huge crowd of what seem to be mainly women marching down a road. Those in front carry a banner that reads: “Ruto! Ruto! Use the energy you have in rejecting BBI to rebuild Kiambaa church.”

It was posted with this status update: “Mega Demonstration in Nairobi as Nairobians ask Ruto to use the energy he is using to oppose BBI to rebuild Kiambaa Church. Kenyans want Ruto impeached Soon.”

Kiambaa is a constituency in Kenya’s Kiambu county, just north of the capital of Nairobi. On 1 January 2008 women and children sheltering in a church in Kiambaa were burned to death in a fire set during the violence that followed the country’s 27 December 2007 elections.

Kenyan deputy president William Ruto and his allies have not openly supported the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) rolled out after the “handshake” truce between president Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga in 2018. Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement lost the 2007 elections to Kenyatta’s Jubilee Party.

But does the photo really show a recent “mega demonstration” in Nairobi against Ruto and his perceived opposition to the BBI, demanding that he instead help rebuild the church? We checked.


No recent demonstrations

There have been no major demonstrations in Nairobi since Covid-19 struck in March 2020. Most recent large public gatherings have been political rallies, and there have been no recent media reports of any “mega demonstration”.

And none of the people in the photo are wearing face masks. Since the Covid-19 pandemic began, most people in Kenya wear these masks, even at political rallies that attract huge crowds. The absence of face masks is a sign that something’s not quite right with the photo.

Protest against gender violence in 2014

A reverse image search reveals the photo was taken in November 2014, and has been manipulated. In the original, the banner the protesters are carrying reads: “Say no to violence against women. My dress, my choice.”

Africa Check found the photo on the Adobe Stock website, credited to Noor Khamis of Reuters press agency.

Here the caption reads: “Women take part in a protest along a main street in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi on 17 November 2014. The demonstrators were demanding justice for a woman who was attacked and stripped recently in Nairobi by men who claimed that she was dressed indecently.”

Republish our content for free

We believe that everyone needs the facts.

You can republish the text of this article free of charge, both online and in print. However, we ask that you pay attention to these simple guidelines. In a nutshell:

1. Do not include images, as in most cases we do not own the copyright.

2. Please do not edit the article.

3. Make sure you credit "Africa Check" in the byline and don't forget to mention that the article was originally published on

For publishers: what to do if your post is rated false

A fact-checker has rated your Facebook or Instagram post as “false”, “altered”, “partly false” or “missing context”. This could have serious consequences. What do you do?

Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.

Publishers guide

Africa Check teams up with Facebook

Africa Check is a partner in Meta's third-party fact-checking programme to help stop the spread of false information on social media.

The content we rate as “false” will be downgraded on Facebook and Instagram. This means fewer people will see it.

You can also help identify false information on Facebook. This guide explains how.

Add new comment

Restricted HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h2 id> <h3 id> <h4 id> <h5 id> <h6 id>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
limit: 600 characters

Want to keep reading our fact-checks?

We will never charge you for verified, reliable information. Help us keep it that way by supporting our work.

Become a newsletter subscriber

Support independent fact-checking in Africa.