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Doctored video with fabricated subtitles doesn’t show Kenyan deputy president William Ruto threatening voters in Uasin Gishu county

A widely shared video posted on Facebook and Twitter, and spread on WhatsApp, claims deputy president William Ruto had threatened communities living in Uasin Gishu county, about 300 kilometres to the west of Nairobi.

In the video, Ruto is seen speaking to a crowd in Nandi, a dialect of the Kalenjin language. One of the videos is 11 seconds long while another version is 39 seconds long. 

“Kagekashine? Kimeche kalyet ameche asomok. Ongen ole bichun kokonai kole kisirei asubuhi, Ko amu kokonai kole kisirei asubuhi, komeche koip abusnatet. Nyokonde ngal eng yuu kole kimeche cho kimeche chun, koip pamphlets, koip nee. Lakini amache amwowok, moyan ngalecha, kimeche kalya ak biik tugul. Pirwech piik ap kimaswek tugul,” Ruto said. 

‘We want peace’

We separately asked native Nandi speakers for translations.

“Are we in agreement?  We want peace. I want to request you, you know those guys have known we shall win very early in the morning. And because of that they want to bring nonsense. They want to bring issues, pamphlets and other things but I want to tell you, don’t believe in them. We want peace with all people. People from all over are voting for us” 

Here is a sentence by sentence translation. 

The reference to pamphlets followed reports that leaflets asking some communities to vote for Ruto or leave the area were being spread.  

After the Nandi language section, the video cuts to Ruto speaking in English: “The people from western Kenya who are here, the people from Nyanza who are here, the people from central who are here…”.

After these words, there’s an abrupt transition, indicating an edit, and then Ruto continues “shame on you”. 

He then switched to Kiswahili: “Na tutawashtaki kwa mungu mkituletea kisirani yenu, na mkwende kabisa.” In Kiswahili this translated as: “And we will report you to God if you continue with your nonsense. Get lost.” 

Those who posted it claimed Ruto was inciting his Kalenjin community and threatening mass displacement of other ethnic communities if they do not vote for him in the elections scheduled for 9 August 2022.

However, a close look at the content revealed fabricated subtitles and the manipulation of the video of Ruto’s speech spread a false dangerous narrative as some users pointed out. (We shall not repeat that content here for legal reasons). 

Ruto is vying for the presidency under the United Democratic Alliance party. His home is in Uasin Gishu county, considered to be his political backyard.

Land ownership is a source of conflict in the region and disputes have in the past escalated into ethnic and political conflict, especially during elections.  Sharing a video where he appears to be calling for people to be removed from a region can stir up tensions.

Authentic footage 

Africa Check looked at the videos posted on Ruto’s Facebook page and found a full version posted on 1 August 2022. It is over 96 minutes long. It shows Ruto’s full speech, including the point where it was manipulated. 

James Gitungo heads audiovisual production at Distory communications, a Nairobi-based digital productions firm. He told Africa Check to look out for the inconsistencies in the video frames in order to identify the “jump cut” –an abrupt transition which indicates a crude edit. 

In the authentic footage, Ruto says: “The Kalenjins who are here, the people from western Kenya who are here, the people from Nyanza who are here, the people from central who are here, the people from all parts of Kenya who are here, they belong to Uasin Gishu. And their home is Uasin Gishu. And this Uasin Gishu is the home of every Kenyan. And we want to tell those who want to divide us, shame on you.” 

He then concludes in Kiswahili: “Na tutawashtaki kwa mungu mkituletea kisirani yenu, na mkwende kabisa.” This translates as: ““And we will report you to God if you continue with your nonsense. Get lost!”

In the doctored version, the words “... The Kalenjins who are here” are edited out. The part where he said “the people from all parts of Kenya who are here, they belong to Uasin Gishu. And their home is Uasin Gishu. And this Uasin Gishu is the home of every Kenyan. And we want to tell those who want to divide us …” is also removed. 

The manipulated clip gives the impression that he had called for mass displacement of people from “western, nyanza, and central” regions of Kenya. 

The video was doctored, the subtitles fabricated, to further dangerous political narratives.

Further Reading

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