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Yes, Kenyan opposition leader vowed to resign if 1m signatures raised to change constitution

This article is more than 4 years old

A video clip showing a top official in Kenya’s opposition Orange Democratic Party vowing to resign if the Thirdway Alliance Kenya got a million signatures supporting a referendum to change the constitution has surfaced on social media.

The video was posted on Facebook and Twitter in mid-June 2019. A reader then shared it on Africa Check’s Kenyan WhatsApp channel.

“Kindly factcheck the video of ODM secretary general betting to resign if Thirdway Alliance manage to collect a million signatures,” the person asked.

Kenya’s constitution requires 1 million registered voters to sign onto any popular initiative for the constitution to be amended.

The low-res video shows ODM secretary-general Edwin Sifuna swearing to quit his party position if the TAK raised the million signatures. This was during a TV debate with Fred Okango, his TAK counterpart, on KBC1 in October 2018.

‘They cannot do it’

In the video, Sifuna is heard saying: “Thirdway Alliance in this country is a nuisance. They are here for nuisance value. I can guarantee you and I can bet here; I want to say in front of this country: if Thirdway Alliance are able to raise one million signatures, I will resign as the secretary-general of ODM.” 

He adds: “I know for a fact they cannot do it.”

The 93-second clip has been viewed 16,000 times on Facebook, and shared more than 200 times.

Kenya’s electoral commission announced on 18 July 2019 that the TAK had exceeded the threshold of 1 million signatures needed to initiate the push for a referendum to change the constitution.

‘It wasn’t me. I was misquoted. I don’t recall’

Twitter users then asked Sifuna to honour his word.

Instead, he tweeted: “It wasn't me. I was misquoted. I don't recall. I said re-sign not resign. I wld rather die. I've never been on KBC. I don't know who Third Way are. Take your pick! This is a WIND ASSISTED and pyrrhic ‘victory’ but all the best to @EAukot @fokango and their #PunguzaMizigoBill2019.”

Is the video legit?

Africa Check found the original video. It was posted on YouTube on 19 October 2018.

It shows the Cross Talk segment in KBC’s Good Morning Kenya that aired on 18 October 2018. The full video is 50 minutes long, but includes the 93-second clip.

Sifuna’s vow to quit, starting with “Thirdway Alliance in this country is a nuisance”, sets off 21 minutes and 24 seconds into the video.

Cross Talk host Ram Aguko quickly responds: “We will hold you [to] your word.”

Sifuna then says: “This is something that I know, and I have said it on national TV. I know who they are, I know who they are not.”

Aguko confirmed to Africa Check that Sifuna made the promise.

“Those are the words that were uttered. The video does not have any alterations whatsoever.”

In other words, it’s not a deep fake

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