Video miscaptioned to create impression Kenyan presidential aspirant Ruto was inciting violence

·3 min read

Kenya has a history of politicians exploiting historical grudges and ethnic differences to foment tensions between communities in order to win elections. This tactic was invoked recently when a video was shared on social media alongside the claim that it showed Deputy President William Ruto inciting members of his community in Eldoret town in Uasin Gishu county against other Kenyans living in the region. But this is false: the clip has been deliberately miscaptioned. In the video, Ruto is actually asking communities living in the region to co-exist peacefully.

The miscaptioned clip was published on Facebook on August 2, 2022, and has since been shared several dozen times.

Screenshot showing the false post, taken on August 4, 2022

In the 39-second-long clip, Ruto, who is running for president under the banner of the Kenya Kwanza alliance, addresses a crowd of people in his native Kalenjin and Swahili languages while standing on a car roof.

The Swahili captions that were added to the video translate to: “Are you listening to me, my people? Yes. I am asking everyone here to wake up early on August 9 and vote for me 100 percent; if that doesn’t happen, the outsiders here will regret it. These fools should know that we don’t joke here. And now they are talking about hate leaflets? That's nothing, this is our land and we call the shots here.”

According to local news reports, the video was first shared on Twitter by politicians Junet Mohammed and governor Hassan Joho, allies of Raila Odinga, the presidential candidate for the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Alliance coalition. The politicians have since deleted their tweets.

Kenyans head to the elections on August 9, 2022. President Uhuru Kenyatta has backed Odinga rather than Ruto, his deputy of 10 years.

But the video was miscaptioned to insinuate that Ruto was inciting natives of Uasin Gishu against other communities living in the region.

False captions

AFP reporters who speak Nandi, a dialect of Kalenjin, listened to the clip. Here is what Ruto actually said:

“Have we come to an understanding, my people? We want peace, our competitors have sensed defeat. Because they know that we are winning, they have now resorted to making unnecessary demands. They even come here and share hate leaflets. But don’t accept to be incited into violence; we want peace for everyone because as you can see, everyone living here irrespective of where they come from is willing to vote for me because I represent national interests.”

AFP Fact Check found and reviewed the original footage that the clip was taken from, which did not have captions. It shows Ruto speaking at a political rally in Eldoret on August 1, 2022. The scene from the clip can be found 44 minutes into the footage.

In his speech, Ruto urged the crowd to be peaceful during this electioneering period and affirmed that Uasin Gishu county and the wider Rift Valley region was home to people from all communities in Kenya.

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