Photo of President of Kenya digitally altered to suggest he was looking for UK loans

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A photo of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta standing next to a woman holding a notebook marked ‘loans’ has been shared hundreds of times on social media, claiming he was on a mission to the UK to borrow money. ‘silver. However, this image, which shows the president with a Sky News reporter, has been digitally enhanced: the word “ready” did not exist in the original photo.

The image has been published here on Facebook on Aug 2, 2021, with the caption: “UhuRu returned from the UK after signing numerous loans, now for him to steal everything he has to distract from his deputy’s blocking… (sic ) ”.

The mention of his deputy in the post refers to Kenyan Vice President William Ruto, whom local media reported was recently prevented from traveling to Uganda.

Screenshot of the message, taken on August 10, 2021

The image shows President Kenyatta standing next to a woman who is not named in the message. She is holding a yellow notebook with the word “ready” written in all caps.

The image has also been released here on Facebook a few days earlier, with the caption simply “What’s going on here, please?” “.

In addition, the image has been released here on Twitter with an account of over 96,000 followers. While the caption consists of a series of laughing emojis, responses to the tweet suggest that many reviewers believed the image to be genuine.

Screenshot of one of the Twitter responses, taken on August 10, 2021

From July 28 to 30, 2021, President Kenyatta paid a three-day visit visit in the UK to co-host the World Education Summit with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

A declaration released by the President’s Office on July 26, 2021, showed that the Kenyan President’s visit to the UK was aimed at strengthening the two countries’ strategic partnership, described as “a broad framework of cooperation that covers a wide range of bilateral topics between the two nations ”, including security, trade and investment cooperation.

This image, however, has been digitally altered by adding the word ‘loans‘ to the cover of the notebook to make it look like Kenyatta has gone to the UK on a loan assignment.

Original notebook cover has no text

By performing a reverse image search, AFP Fact Check found that the original Photo shows President Kenyatta with Sky News reporter Kimberley Leonard, who interviewed him during his trip to the UK. It was shared on Twitter by Kenyan Ambassador to the UK Manoah Esipisu on July 30, 2021.

Screenshot of the tweet, taken on August 11, 2021

The word “loans” did not exist in the original image. The cover of the journalist’s notebook was blank.

The image is circulating online just a few months after a Twitter campaign urged the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to withdraw a loan offer to President Kenyatta’s administration, arguing that previous loans to the country had not been spent prudently.

In April 2021, the Executive Board of the IMF approved a new 255 billion shillings ($ 2.34 billion) loan to Kenya to help the country continue to fight the Covid-19 pandemic and address its debt vulnerability.

According to the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK), Kenya’s public debt was rising to 7.3 trillion shillings (approximately $ 66.7 billion) in January 2021.

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