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Renovations at Kenyan deputy president’s residence? No, image photoshopped

A screenshot of a tweet posted on a popular Kenyan Facebook page appears to show a government signpost at a construction site.

On one sign, the “contract” is listed as “renovations of the official residence of the deputy president”. The “project financier” is given as “government of the Republic of Kenya”.

The image has been interpreted as president Uhuru Kenyatta wishing to evict deputy president William Ruto from his residence, as highly publicised wranglings within the ruling Jubilee Party continue.

On Facebook, the screenshot is captioned: “The Government is set to renovate DP Ruto's Karen home (official residence) from next month. All occupants have been advised to vacate. The renovation will take 1 year or more.” 

The image was also published on the website Capital News, under the headline: “Why DP Ruto could be forced out of his Karen residence, billboard raised.” 

What’s the story behind the signpost? 

Original photo from tunnel construction

A reverse image search reveals that the original photo of the signpost was published by the Star newspaper in October 2016. It was credited to Alice Waithera, a Murang’a-based correspondent for the newspaper. 

Oliver Mathenge, the group digital director at Radio Africa Group, which owns the Star, confirmed to Africa Check that Waithera had taken the photo.

But the text on the signpost in the original photo is different from the image shared on Facebook. In the original, the project under construction is the Northern Water Collector Tunnel Phase 1, supposed to move water from Murang’a county to the capital, Nairobi.

The photo is captioned: “A sign post showing construction of the Northern Water Collector Tunnel on April 13 [2016].” 

The image on Facebook has been photoshopped. There’s no evidence that the deputy president’s residence is currently being renovated. – Dancan Bwire


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