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Rumours of Roselyn Akombe’s death are false – Kenya’s former electoral commissioner alive, and tweeting

A Facebook post has surfaced claiming Dr Roselyn Akombe, Kenya’s former electoral commissioner, is dead. 

“Breaking News: Roselyn Akombe found dead in her house in USA,” reads the post published on 24 June 2019. It includes a photo of Akombe.

The rumour of her death was also published on the Kenyan Report website on 24 January 2019.

‘Serving the world’

Akombe dramatically fled to the US in 2017 after death threats. She then quit her position in the electoral commission.

She now works at the UN headquarters in New York. As news of her death spread online in June 2019, she tweeted that she was “serving the world”, showing a photo of her sitting at a desk and smiling. 

“I’m grateful and overwhelmed by your calls and messages of support,”  she posted on Twitter on 25 June. “I don’t take any of them for granted. And to those who mourned me, I am really sorry for the pain caused to you. But I am equally touched by the kind words you had for my ‘obituary’.”

A post on the Facebook page Dr Roselyn Akombe Phd  also denies the rumours.

Those bloggers spreading rumours of malice about my demise I forgive you,” it reads. “Stop that behaviour and look for other ways of making money. Before you share anything on social media, check for its authenticity and the origin. Don't contaminate social media with malice!!!”

Page dispelling false death reports exposed as fake

But the comments section showed something even more interesting.

A Facebook user named Roselyn Akombe called out Dr Roselyn Akombe Phd.

“This is a fake account,” the comment read – although it’s now been deleted. “Sad that you continue to run a fake account and claim to be against fake news. You surely know that I would construct better sentences that those you have mashed up above.” read the comment.

On Twitter Akombe said a Kenyan newspaper had quoted a “fake Facebook account” when they debunked the death rumour.

@StandardKenya, the irony here is that you are quoting a fake @facebook account,”  she tweeted on 26 June. “Surely you  must have Fact-checkers. Together, let’s fight against #CyberBullying #FakeNews.”

Akombe, who is much more active on Twitter, is not dead. - Grace Gichuhi


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