Has Kenya’s Trade Unionist Francis Atwoli Been Hospitalized?

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Multiple posts were shared online on June 30 claiming that Kenya’s Central Organization of Trade Union (COTU) Secretary-General Francis Atwoli has been hospitalized.

Background

Breaking news and rumours alike on Kenyan leaders being hospitalized is not new. The claim on the COTU boss comes after reports of some Kenyan Members of Parliament being hospitalized for contracting COVID-19.

On May 29, there was public outrage sparked by a luncheon that Atwoli held at his Kajiado home with politicians from Western Kenya. Angry Kenyans protested what they called the selective application of social distancing rules, with others demanding that everyone present be taken to mandatory quarantine. The anger was further fuelled after the arrest of 40 people, including seven minors, in Kisumu for breaching the social distancing directives on the same day.

Politicians including Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa, Senate Speaker Ken Lusaka, governors and lawmakers from the Western region could be seen standing close together in pictures. Some were shoulder-to-shoulder during the press briefing and without facemasks as required by the Ministry of Health.

Verification

A search for the keywords ‘Atwoli hospitalized’ leads to this tweet by COTU Kenya refuting the claim, saying the Secretary-General is in good health and has been busy attending meetings aimed at cushioning workers from the economic shock of COVID-19.

Through Twitter, Atwoli also addressed the claim saying, “Let’s avoid sharing fake news. Considering I am a person of interest, I will make it public if I were to get hospitalized. It’s God, the one God I pray to, who takes care of me.”

Verdict

The claim that COTU Secretary Francis Atwoli has been hospitalized is FALSE.

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Peris Gachahi

Peris Gachahi is a reporter at Africa Uncensored.She is passionate about human interest stories told through in-depth documentaries, data stories and digital storytelling.