Back to Africa Check

Ruto pushing wheelbarrow on Mashujaa Day? No, photo of Kenyan deputy president doctored

A photo that seems to show Kenya’s deputy president William Ruto pushing a wheelbarrow is doing the rounds on Facebook. He is walking with three other people, with a helicopter behind them. 

In one post, the caption reads: “Hustler leader apewe wheelbarrow yake.” This is Kiswahili for: “Let the hustler leader have his wheelbarrow.” 

Ruto often uses the word “hustler” to identify himself with Kenya’s unemployed youth, and people who work in the informal economy.

The deputy president has defended giving out wheelbarrows during public rallies, saying they could change people’s lives for the better. But opposition leader Raila Odinga has dismissed the handouts, reportedly saying: “Wheelbarrows will not help our people.” 

In another post, the photo is captioned: “Hustler officially at Gusii stadium.”

The Gusii stadium sports venue in Kenya’s southwestern Kisii county is where the official national celebrations of Mashujaa Day were held in 2020. This public holiday, also known as Heroes’ Day, is observed on 20 October each year.

We checked if the deputy president arrived at this important national event pushing a wheelbarrow.

Reverse image search

A reverse image search reveals that there is no wheelbarrow in the original photo

Local radio station Emoo FM published a collection of photos on its verified Facebook page, showing Ruto’s arrival at the Mashujaa Day event. The wheelbarrow was photoshopped into the original photo. –Vincent Ng’ethe


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.