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Viral video shows fire at Kenyan coastal resorts, not former president Uhuru Kenyatta's hotel

IN SHORT: A video shared on social media in Kenya shows a building engulfed in flames. But it was taken in February 2023 and shows the razing of a coastal resort, not fire at a property owned by former president Uhuru Kenyatta in March.

A video doing the rounds on Facebook in Kenya shows a huge fire burning what seems to be a palm-thatched roof of a large building.

The video has been posted with the claim that it shows property belonging to former Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta and that the fire was started by people hired by Kenyan deputy president Rigathi Gachagua.

“President Uhuru Kenyatta Hotel In Kirinyaga Being Burned By Gachagua Goons,” the caption reads.

Kirinyaga is a county in central Kenya.

The video went viral immediately after local and international media reported that unknown people had invaded Kenyatta’s farm, cutting down trees and stealing sheep. The Azimio la Umoja One Kenya opposition coalition leader Raila Odinga’s property was also vandalised

Both attacks took place on 27 March 2023 as Odinga led country wide protests. These are an attempt to force Kenyan president William 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.

The weekly protests ordered by Odinga have been marred by violence and the disruption of business in some parts of the country.

Politicians in Ruto's government have accused Kenyatta of sponsoring the protests and warned that his properties are also at risk of invasion. Gachagua has also hinted that Kenyatta is funding Odinga.

Kenyatta supported Odinga’s bid for presidency in the 9 August 2022 election, though Odinga lost to Ruto.

The attacks on Kenyatta’s and Odinga’s properties have been widely seen as retaliation to the weekly protests

But does the video show Kenyatta’s hotel in Kirinyaga on fire? We checked.


Video old, unrelated

While Kenyatta’s property was invaded on 27 March, a reverse image search shows the video was online as early as 22 February 2023. 

According to an Italian news website, the video shows fire at an Italian resort, the Barracuda Inn, in Watamu beach in the Kenyan coastal county of Kilifi. Local media reported that two other resorts were destroyed on 22 February.

The incident attracted local and international attention.

No local media reported that buildings were burnt down during the raid at Kenyatta’s farm more than a month later.

The claim that the video shows a fire on Kenyatta’s property is false.

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