Man arrested in Kenya for not wearing mask during coronavirus outbreak? No, photo from 2014 strike

A photo circulating on Facebook in Kenya on 15 April 2020 shows two police officers escorting a man down a street.

“The citizen was arrested by the government for not wearing a face mask,” one caption reads. “Ironically the government [officials] arresting this poor citizen doesn’t have a face mask. Oh my Kenya my country.”

Another user posted: “These 2 traffic policemen arrested this pedestrian for not wearing a mask. They, too, are not wearing masks!”

The claim has also been made on Twitter, tagging several Kenyan authorities.

On 15 April regulations came into effect requiring people in Kenya to wear face masks in public or risk arrest. The measures are intended to slow the spread of Covid-19 infection.

But does the photo show a man arrested under the regulations?

Arrest during 2014 strike

Not one of the people in the photo is wearing a mask, including onlookers in the background. That’s a hint that it may not have been taken recently.

And a reverse image search reveals that it’s almost six years old.

It was published on the Standard newspaper’s website on 23 August 2014 with the caption: “Police manhandle a person they arrested in Mombasa during a Matatu strike.”

The Covid-19 outbreak began in Wuhan, China in December 2019. – Dancan Bwire


For publishers: what to do if your post is rated false

A fact-checker has rated your Facebook or Instagram post as “false”. What should you do? First, don't delete!

Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.

Publishers guide

Africa Check teams up with Facebook

Africa Check is a partner in Facebook’s third-party fact-checking programme to help stop the spread of false information on social media.

The content we rate as “false” will be downgraded on Facebook and Instagram. This means fewer people will see it.

You can also help identify false information on Facebook. This guide explains how.

Fighting coronavirus misinformation

Africa Check is working with the CoronaVirusFacts/DatosCoronaVirus Alliance, a coalition of more than 100 fact-checkers fighting misinformation about the Covid-19 pandemic.

Learn more about the alliance here.

© Copyright Africa Check 2020. Read our republishing guidelines. You may reproduce this piece or content from it for the purpose of reporting and/or discussing news and current events. This is subject to: Crediting Africa Check in the byline, keeping all hyperlinks to the sources used and adding this sentence at the end of your publication: “This report was written by Africa Check, a non-partisan fact-checking organisation. View the original piece on their website", with a link back to this page.