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Supporters of arrested Kenyan MP digging up road? No, photo of protest in South Africa

A photo posted on the Facebook page “Bigwig Kenya News” on 24 September 2020 shows a man hacking through the tarred surface of a road with a pickaxe while a group of other men look on. More sections of damaged road can be seen in the distance.

“Supporters of Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi arrested after they destroyed sections of a tarmac road using mattocks,” the caption reads. “They claimed that the Government was using police officers to harass their legislator.”

Sudi has been accused of hate speech and incitement for remarks he made about president Uhuru Kenyatta and the president’s mother, Ngina Kenyatta. He handed himself over to police on 13 September and has since been released on bail.

The photo and caption have attracted hundreds of reactions and been shared dozens of times. They have also appeared on the imposter page “Citizen Weekly”.

It’s reported that before Sudi’s arrest, young people blocked the road between Eldoret and Kapsaret “as police planned a night arrest”. But does the photo show Sudi’s supporters destroying a road in protest against harassment of their legislator?

Service delivery protest in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Kenya’s mainstream media have not reported on the incident, even though it would have been newsworthy.

And a reverse image search reveals that the photo was not taken in Kenya. 

It appears in several South African news reports on the destruction of the R33 road in eBhovini between Pomeroy and Dundee in the country’s KwaZulu-Natal province.

The Citizen newspaper reported that residents protesting a lack of water and electricity in the area blocked the road with stones and dug up the tarmac  on 22 September.

Umzinyathi mayor Petros Mthandeni Ngubane said the South African Police Services had been notified about the "criminal activity", according to News24.

The incident was also covered by East Coast Radio. – Dancan Bwire


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