Kenya’s deputy president Ruto not ‘diagnosed with cancer’ – hospital photo from 2016

In July 2019 three prominent Kenyans – a member of parliament, a telecoms CEO and a county governor died of cancer.

The deaths revived media rumours about high numbers of government leaders reportedly being treated for cancer. 

Then a Facebook user shared a photo of Kenya’s deputy president William Ruto being attended to by a medic with the claim it showed him “in Nairobi Hospital where he was diagnosed with cancer”.

The user commented: “Breaking news: Ruto in Nairobi Hospital amepatikana na cancer.” That’s Kiswahili for: “Ruto in Nairobi Hospital has just been diagnosed with cancer.” 

Another post with the same image claimed Ruto had suffered a stroke.

‘Bout of flu’ during 2016 hospital opening

A reverse image search reveals that Ruto posted the photo on his Facebook and Twitter accounts in August 2016, during the official opening of the Lunga Lunga hospital in Kwale county.

Ruto said he was being treated for “a bout of flu”. 

“Opened Lunga Lunga sub-county hospital and became a beneficiary of treatment after a bout of flu. I am grateful to Rhoda Pola who attended to me in Lunga Lunga Constituency, Kwale County,” he wrote on Facebook.

At the time, a few blogs used the photo to claim Ruto was suffering from “haemorrhage”. But these were also false.  – Dancan Bwire 


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