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US ambassador apologises to Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga over 2022 election comments? No, photo is of unrelated event

IN SHORT: This photo of the US's ambassador to Kenya, Meg Whitman, meeting with opposition leader Raila Odinga was not taken in August 2023. They also did not meet for Whitman to apologise for her comments on Kenya's 2022 general election.

A photo of what appears to be Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga meeting with senior US delegates has been shared in a number of Facebook posts in August 2023.

One of the captions reads: “UPDATE: US Ambassador to Kenya Meg Whitman and US Senator Chris Coons went to apologize to Rt.Hon.Raila Odinga. They are still in a close door meeting.”

The photo shows Odinga in a conference room with US ambassador to Kenya, Meg Whitman, and other delegates. 

The photo was posted on social media a day after Odinga, the leader of the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition, lashed out at Whitman over her comments that the August 2022 general election was the most credible polls Kenya had ever held.

Odinga accused the ambassador of overstepping her diplomatic mandate and interfering in Kenya's internal affairs, and threatened to ask the US government to recall her.

The photo claiming that the US delegates subsequently apologised to Raila has also been posted on Facebook here, here, here, here and here.

But does this picture show Odinga meeting the US delegates in August 2023?  We checked.


Photo taken in March

A reverse image search didn't turn up a similar photo. Africa Check scoured Odinga's social media pages for photos of him in a blue suit. 

We found a post on X (formerly known as Twitter) with photos of Odinga and Whitman in a meeting, wearing the same clothes as in the posts in question.

The post and photos on Odinga’s X account were published on 29 March 2023.

We found the exact photo posted on Odinga’s Facebook page.

It shows Odinga meeting with Coons and his delegation to discuss political developments in Kenya.

“Had a great meeting this evening with US Senator Chris Coons and his delegation to discuss political developments in our country. We had a fruitful discussion on the importance of upholding the constitution and the rule of law in all activities, and agreed to keep the channels of communication open,” the caption reads.

The photo being shared on social media was not taken in August, but in March.

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