Did The Standard Publish a Story Linking DP William Ruto to Mutula Kilonzo’s Murder? 

By Calvin Rock

For a better part of the day (20/1/2022) the hashtag #WitnessKiller would trend. Of interest this tweet, seemingly a cropped of a section of a newspaper front page with the headline ‘Gicheru to ICC: I know who murdered Mutula Kilonzo’.

Within the thread is an image of what appears to be the front page of a newspaper that has been retweeted 40 times (see screen-grab below).

Background

In 2015, during the trial of 6 Kenyans at the International Criminal Court (ICC), lawyer Paul Gicheru was implicated in a witness tampering case. The trial was brought about by the 2007 post-election violence. Gicheru was accused of undermining the prosecution’s case by tampering with witnesses in Deputy President William Ruto and radio personality Joshua Sang’s case. A warrant of arrest was issued against him.

On 15th July 2021 the pre-trial chamber at ICC – Hague confirmed charges against Gicheru with the chamber stating that it “is convinced that between April 2013 and January 2014, Mr. Gicheru offered various witnesses (millions of shillings) in cash installments in exchange for withdrawing as Prosecution witnesses in the Ruto and Sang case”.

He is facing charges of offenses against the administration of justice.

Verification

A reverse search of the cropped image leads to other Twitter posts, including this one, with a full front page of The Saturday Standard newspaper dated Saturday, November 14, 2020. However, The Saturday Standard newspaper on the said date ran a front-page story on Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha with a totally different headline.

The original image was also flagged in a tweet by The Standard as a fake and even debunked in a fact-check by AfricaCheck as doctored.

The doctored image may have been cropped to escape being flagged in a new wave of propaganda and misinformation sweeping across social media as Kenya gears toward the August 9th elections.

Verdict

NO, The Saturday Standard did not publish a story linking Deputy President William Ruto to the murder of Former Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo.

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