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Veteran Kenyan politician Raila Odinga appointed security company chair? No, impersonator accounts share altered image

IN SHORT: A claim that the former Kenyan presidential candidate has been picked to head an international private security firm is based on a doctored image.

In April 2023 social media company Twitter began removing verification badges from accounts that had not paid for a premium subscription.

The company later restored the badges to some accounts with more than a million followers. But before the U-turn several mainstream media publications in Kenya were targeted for impersonation, with accounts posing as their official handles and sharing misinformation. 

Many publishers spent considerable time denouncing impersonation.

In the confusion a photo of Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga wearing a blue G4S uniform was shared on social media by many of the bogus accounts.

“Former Presidential Candidate Mr. Raila Amollo Odinga was appointed Chairman of G4S Kenya Limited by President Ruto,” the caption to one Facebook post reads.

Other Facebook users seized on the image to make the same claim, including here, here, here and here.

Odinga was president William Ruto’s main rival in a bid for the presidency in the 9 August 2022 election.

G4S is an international private security company operating in Kenya.

But is the image of Odinga in a G4S uniform authentic? We checked.


Reverse image search reveals image has been altered

It is unlikely that Odinga would be appointed by the president to head a private company.

Using a reverse image search, we quickly found a visually similar and unaltered photo, where Odinga is not wearing a G4S uniform but a blue patterned shirt.

We also found a video posted on 8 February 2023 which is similar. In the video, Odinga condemns a police raid on the Nairobi home of Kenya’s former cabinet secretary for the interior, Fred Matiang’i.

A keyframe from the video has been manipulated, adding in the G4S uniform. The image has been altered. There is no evidence of any such appointment.

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