Posts falsely claim Kenyan opposition leader promised to ban trade in second-hand clothing

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A screenshot from a televised address has been shared on Facebook alongside a claim that Kenyan opposition leader and presidential candidate Raila Odinga promised to ban second-hand clothing traders from cities if elected president. But this is false: Odinga actually said he would revive the domestic textile industry to help sellers access quality clothes produced locally.

The post was published on Facebook on June 7, 2022, and has since been shared more than 120 times.

It claims Odinga, a presidential contender in August polls, “promised to ban” traders of second-hand clothes during a televised manifesto speech.

The post featured a purported Facebook post by Kenyan broadcaster Citizen TV, which apparently attributed a quote to Odinga saying he wanted to spruce up the nation’s cities "like London" in order to attract international investors.

Screenshot showing the false post, taken on June 10, 2021

Other examples of the same claim appeared on Facebook here, here and here.

Many traders in major open-air markets in Kenya sell second-hand products imported from Western countries, including clothes known as “mitumba”.

Odinga, who leads the Orange Democratic  Movement  (ODM) party, is the presidential candidate for the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Alliance in a high-stakes election scheduled for August 9, 2022.

At the launch of the Alliance's manifesto on June 6, 2022, he sparked outrage on social media when he said that second-hand clothes sold in the country had been previously worn by dead people.

But the claim that Odinga vowed to remove mitumba traders from Kenya’s cities is false.

The image of the purported post by Citizen TV Kenya which appears to support the claim is also a fabrication.

Fabricated quote

A search for the post on Citizen TV’s Facebook page came up empty.

The font used in the screenshot is different to what is used by the news organisation on its official Facebook account.

A side-by-side comparison of the fabricated post (L) and a screenshot from the authentic Citizen TV Facebook account

"The quote is fabricated, we did not publish it on our page,” the broadcaster told AFP Fact Check.

Indeed, the quote attributed to Odinga does not appear anywhere in his manifesto speech.

“Kenyans are only wearing second-hand clothes coming from outside the country, which have been worn by people who are dead. We are going to go for primary production so that Kenyans who are importing mitumba can have good products to sell locally," he said regarding the second-hand clothing trade.

Odinga’s spokesman Dennis Onyango told AFP Fact Check that the statement was quoted out of context.

“Mr Odinga didn’t say that he will ban mitumba trade or kick mitumba traders out of towns. He said that he will protect the traders by ensuring that they get the first opportunity to market locally-made clothes,” Onyango said.

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