On 4 May the WHO released a statement that traditional medicines such as the tonic’s main ingredient were being considered as possible treatments for Covid-19. But, it added, “establishing their efficacy and safety through rigorous clinical trials is critical”.
Rajoelina has suggested that the product has been dismissed because it was developed by a poor African country. He said: “What if this remedy had been discovered by a European country, instead of Madagascar? Would people doubt it so much? I don’t think so.”
Another false claim Africa Check has debunked was that certain African leaders had endorsed the tonic. Kagame was claimed to be among them, but Africa Check found no evidence of this.
The AU said on 4 May that it was waiting to “review the scientific data gathered so far on the safety and efficacy” of Covid-Organics.
Statements not in Kagame’s published speeches
The posts and articles are vague about when Kagame made these statements. They don’t give a date, or say whether they were made in a particular address or official statement. This is a red flag for disinformation, and makes the details difficult to verify.
One of the most recent statements on his website is from a 26 April press conference in which Kagame supported the WHO. He said: “Rwandans do everything that is possible based on what is in place around the world, on what science tells us, based on the World Health Organization.”
If Kagame had publicly criticised the global health agency, it would have made world news. It hasn’t.
On 19 May the Associated Press reported on Kagame’s pardon of 50 women imprisoned on abortion-related charges, as did the UK’s Independent. Neither publication mentioned that Kagame had attacked the WHO.
Claims that Kagame has endorsed Covid-Organics and attacked the WHO have also been debunked by fact-checking organisation ZimFact. – Keegan Leech
For publishers: what to do if your post is rated false
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Africa Check teams up with Facebook
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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.
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