No, Kenya’s first lady not giving away KSh30,000 Covid-19 grants 

A Facebook post on the page “Margaret Kenyatta” – the name of Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta’s wife – claims to be giving out KSh30,000 grants to help people during the Covid-19 pandemic.

It reads: “Following the government directives in conjunction with the ministry of health that everybody MUST stay at home due to Covid-19 pandemic,which has rendered many jobless,in support from the President,am giving you a grant of ksh 30,000 to help you during this time of difficulties.”

But it adds: “You only need to send the registration fee of ksh 599 to my Principal secretary number with me in office now and immediately upon confirmation I will send you ksh 30,000 to your Mpesa account.”

This sounded fishy, and reminded us of other hoax schemes we have debunked. We investigated.

Errors and red flags in post

The post is sloppily written, leaving out words and spaces, and using upper- and lower-case words haphazardly. This seems unlikely in an official social media post by the first lady of any country.

But the most glaring red flag is the paragraph where interested people are asked to send money. A request for money in order to receive a donation or grant should warn any Facebook user of a scam. Real charity doesn’t require you to make payment first.

And according to Kenya’s presidency, neither the first lady nor the president has a “principal secretary”. Principal secretaries are senior officials who are appointed by the president to administer a state department.

Not official Facebook account

It is also suspicious that the Facebook page does not have the blue tick verification badge, used to guarantee that the social media account of a public figure is genuine. 

When we searched for “Margaret Kenyatta” on Facebook, we found only one account – Office of the First Lady Kenya –.with this verification.

There are no announcements of a KSh30,000 grant on this official page, or on the first lady’s verified Twitter account

The account that posted the fraudulent message was created in February 2020. The official account was created in July 2013. The fake account has sent out the same post multiple times. It was created to cheat people out of money, and should be ignored. – Grace Gichuhi


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