Kenyan presidential candidate did not vow to end Christianity in the country if elected

·3 min read

A video clip of Kenyan presidential candidate Raila Odinga addressing the country’s Muslim community has been shared on social media with a claim that he vowed during his speech to “end Christianity”. This is false; Odinga did not use these words. Instead, he stressed that Kenya was a secular state but one where all religions were entitled to equal freedoms.

On July 28, 2022, a video was posted on Facebook alongside a caption that reads: “Raila: We will end Christianity.”

The same text was also added to the bottom of the video itself.

A screenshot of the false Facebook post, taken on August 1, 2022

Odinga is among four presidential candidates cleared by the Kenyan electoral body to take part in general elections on August 9, 2022.

This year’s presidential vote is seen as a two-horse race between Deputy President William Ruto, 55, and Odinga, a 77-year-old veteran opposition leader who is now backed by the ruling party.

Odinga, who says he’s contesting for the last time, has unsuccessfully run for president four times and challenged his losses in the last three elections.

The same claim linked to the video of his speech was also shared on Facebook here and here.

However, the claim is false.

Odinga’s actual words

Odinga does not say the words “We will end Christianity” in the 25-second-long video clip shared on Facebook, nor in the longer version of the original footage.

Speaking in Swahili, he can be heard in the clip saying: “There’s a colonial ideology in Kenya that elevated Christianity above all other religions in Kenya. This ideology still exists. My government will end that. Kenya is a secular society.”

The clip bears the logo “Citizen Digital”. By means of a keyword search, AFP Fact Check found the original video of Odinga’s speech on the YouTube channel of Citizen TV Kenya.

In this video, which runs for nearly seven minutes and was uploaded on July 5, 2022, Odinga is seen addressing the Muslim community in Nairobi in an effort to secure their support in the polls.

At about two minutes into the clip, Odinga says: “There is a colonial ideology in Kenya that elevated Christianity above all other religions. This ideology still exists. My government will end that. The constitution of Kenya says that Kenya is a secular society and is a God-fearing nation and we must respect all religions, so we have said that we will respect all religions.”

He further stated: “We will apply equal treatment to all religions in our country.”

The constitutional context and Odinga’s remarks about equality were omitted in the shortened videos posted on social media.

Article 8 of Kenya’s constitution is clear on the nation’s secular status, and says: “There shall be no state religion.”

The Kenyan constitution also prohibits religious discrimination and provides for freedom of faith and belief.

The Kenyan government estimates that as of 2019, approximately 85.5 percent of the country’s population was Christian and 11 percent Muslim. Groups constituting two percent of the population included Hindus, Sikhs, Baha’is, and people adhering to various traditional religious beliefs.

Meanwhile, atheists in Kenya welcomed Odinga’s remarks.

Article written by Julian Kamau
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