Did the UN Withdraw Mukhisa Kituyi’s Diplomatic Privileges?

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This tweet with a newspaper’s front page went up on the internet on July 6, 2021. The front page contains an image of former UNCTAD secretary-general, with the title ‘UN withdraws Mukhisa diplomatic rights.’  

An analysis done on HOAXY shows that the same image was also shared by this verified account on July 7, 2021. 

Background

Diplomatic immunity represents legal immunities that protect diplomats against prosecution in the receiving state for the entire time they hold their diplomatic post. 

In the case of Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi, served as Secretary-General to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development between September 1, 2013 and February 15, 2021. He then stepped down to actively join politics as a presidential candidate. 

This immunity however does not act as a carte blanche for misconduct. Immunity from the jurisdiction of diplomatic agents may be waived by the sending state often on grounds that the official commits or witnesses a serious crime not related to their diplomatic role.

Verification

Piga Firimbi established that this publication was Volume 24 of the Weekly Citizen, a newspaper published weekly by Headlink Publishers Limited, Kenya. The article is not clear who their source of this information is. In addition, there is no media report with information surrounding these claims. (See image of the publication below).

Additionally, our fact check desk sought a reply on these claims from Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi. In a phone interview, Dr. Mukhisa maintained that he is still entitled to his diplomatic privileges. He added, “ these claims have no basis and they should not be a subject of discussion at all.”

Piga Firimbi attempted to reach the Weekly Citizen but did not get any response by the time of this publication.

Verdict

NO, the United Nations has not withdrawn Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi’s diplomatic rights. 

This story was produced by Africa Uncensored in partnership with Code for Africa with support from Deutsche Welle Akademie.

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Nyakerario Omari

Nyakerario J. Omari is a Kenyan writer and journalist with a passion for in-depth stories told through documentaries. She has an interest in reporting matters concerning health, crime and human rights.