Did The Star Publish This Newspaper Saying That Raila Does Not Have COVID?

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An image circulating on Twitter claims to show The Star newspaper’s front page, stating that former Prime Minister Raila Odinga apparently does not have COVID-19 as was reported earlier and that he may allegedly be discharged on Friday.

Background

Mr Odinga, who is also the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party leader was on March 11, 2021 said to have contracted COVID-19.

He was taken ill at the Nairobi Hospital on March 9, and later tweeted that he had been feeling better and is under doctor’s instructions on March 10. He however issued a statement on March 11, stating that he tested positive for COVID-19.

Raila, who in his statement urged Kenyans to observe the established protective measures because “COVID-19 is real”, is the second East African leader to have been taken ill this week amid a looming third wave of the pandemic as announced by Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe. Tanzanian President John Magufuli was also admitted on March 10 in a suspected case of COVID-19. Piga Firimbi published a report here analysing the much-concealed state of the COVID-19 pandemic in Tanzania.

Verification

The front page image claiming that “Raila has no Covid” is a fabricated version of the actual front page, having the same outlook, but different words compared to the legitimate front page published on The Star’s Twitter page.

Moreover, the fake front page indicates that doctors reviewed Raila’s medical progress on Thursday night yet the statement declaring that the ODM leader has contracted the virus was issued on Thursday night. The ODM party’s Twitter page published the statement on Raila’s COVID test results at 2:28 a.m. on Thursday, March 12.

There is also no legitimate media report from any other local media platforms claiming that the former Prime Minister does not have the virus. Genuine news reports or front-page images are always published on the media channel’s social media pages. Any front pages that appear to be different from those on official social media platforms are often fabricated as Piga Firimbi has previously debunked similar fake newspaper images circulating online.

Verdict

The image claiming to show The Star newspaper’s front page indicating that Raila Odinga does not have COVID-19 is FAKE.

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Linda Ngari