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Viral statement allegedly from Kenyan opposition leader's party calling off protests is fake

IN SHORT: Following widespread protests by Kenya's opposition against the incumbent government, it has been reported that the security of some opposition leaders has been withdrawn. But a document claiming that this has led the leadership of the Orange Democratic Movement to call off demonstrations is a forgery.

A document bearing the logo of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party calling off countrywide protests in Kenya has attracted social media attention in the country.

“Following the withdrawal of security of our party leader Rt. Hon. Raila Amollo Odinga, we the leadership of Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) Party hereby confirms to the general public that Monday Demonstrations has been called off forthwith,” the document begins.

“Considering the events on last week where Baba's vehicle was heavily damaged, this has warranted us to reschedule our Peaceful Demonstration to a later Date,” it says.

The document also says that Kenyan president William Ruto’s government is “illegal” and its alleged actions “unconstitutional”.

It says the opposition leaders will resume protests once their security is reinstated.

“Baba”, Kiswahili for “father”, is an affectionate name for Raila Odinga who is the ODM party leader. It is one of the parties in the Azimio La Umoja One Kenya coalition, also led by Odinga. 

Odinga lost the 9 August 2022 election to Ruto. But Odinga rejected the results and has said Ruto's government is illegitimate.

He led countrywide protests on 20 and 27 March 2023 to force Ruto’s government to address the high cost of living and ensure there is “inclusivity” in the reconstitution of Kenya's electoral commission, among other grievances. He has said the protests will continue on Mondays and Thursdays every week.

The statement comes just a day after local media reported that the government had withdrawn security for some leaders in the coalition participating in the protests. However, Odinga was not included in this list. 

While it seems to refer to the 27 March protests, which were on a Monday, it does not specify a date.

The document has been posted here, here, here, here, and here.

But is it legit? We checked.


‘This is fake’ – ODM

While the withdrawal of Odinga’s security would have drawn local media attention, no credible news source has reported on the development.

On 27 March, the ODM took to its verified Twitter account to dismiss the document as fake.

The party’s director of communications also stamped it fake in a post on Facebook.

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