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Viral graphics don’t show Kenyans queuing to sell dollars as Kenyan shilling gains

IN SHORT: The Kenyan shilling has made significant gains against the US dollar in 2024. Two graphics suggesting that Kenyans are scrambling to sell their dollars before further losses against the shilling are fake.

“Kenyans queue outside NCBA bank to sell dollars,” reads a graphic circulating on social media in Kenya.

It features an image of people standing in a queue on the side of a road.

The graphic is branded with the logo and web address of Standard Group Plc, the Kenyan media house that publishes the Standard newspaper

Another version of the claim, posted on X (formerly Twitter), featured the logo of Nation, a major Kenyan news site.

On 15 February 2024, the Central Bank of Kenya reported that US$1 was trading at KSh153.2, from KSh156.71 the previous day, marking one of the strongest gains in years.

It was trading at KSh160.24 on 15 January and had even reached KSh161.36 at one point during the month.

Major newspapers in Kenya have reported the development, with some even calling it the “strongest single-day gain in 12 years”. 

Some users claimed that the graphic showed Kenyans who were allegedly hoarding dollars, hoping to profit as the shilling lost against it, but decided to sell the dollars before further losses.

The graphics have also been posted here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

But do they show Kenyans rushing to sell their dollars and are they legit? We checked.

KenyaDollar_False

Ignore old photos

While the image on the graphic with the Standard Group logo started circulating on Facebook on 15 January, a reverse image search showed it had been online since 2017. 

We found the original photo, published by Kenya's Business Daily on 4 June 2017. Its caption reads, in part: “Kenyans submit job applications for government jobs last week”.

On 15 February 2024, the Standard took to Facebook and X to dismiss the graphic as “FAKE”.

“FAKE NEWS ALERT: This is NOT a genuine post from the Standard Group PLC or any brands under the media stable. Be cautious NOT to fall for propaganda and deep fakes,” it posted.

The image in the graphic with the Nation logo is also old. It first appeared online in 2018. It was captioned: “Graduates queue in long lines at Wabera Street waiting for a chance to get a job interview at the Sarova Stanley which was conducting massive recruitment for the hospitality department.” The interviews took place on 26 May 2018.

The Nation also said the graphic was “fake”.

The NCBA bank also tweeted the graphics on 15 February 2024, cautioning the public against falling for them.

The graphics are fake and should be ignored.

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