Is This Image of Wangui Ngirici at a Kenya Kwanza Rally Doctored?

An image showing Kirinyaga County’s Woman Representative Wangui Ngirici as part of a crowd at Deputy President William Ruto’s rally has been circulating on Twitter, Facebook as well as WhatsApp.

The posts claim that Ngirici is regretting, alluding to her departure from the deputy president’s political party.

Background

Wangui Ngirici announced that she has left William Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party citing that she was reportedly coerced to halt her ambitions to vie for the Kirinyaga County gubernatorial office in favor of incumbent Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru, who had just joined the same party.

“I was called to Nairobi and I was told to stop campaigning against Waiguru,” Ngirici said, “I was told to allow her to finish her two terms and run for Mwea MP on a UDA ticket.”

Ngirici has stood her ground in contesting for the Kirinyaga top seat, as she initially indicated that she was not fazed by Waiguru’s decision to join UDA and challenged Waiguru to the party nominations. Shortly before announcing that she has left UDA, news claiming that she had dropped her bid for the Kirinyaga gubernatorial race would circulate. In a fact-check published by Piga Firimbi here in November 2021, Ngirici dismissed this as fake news.

Verification

Upon reverse searching the image showing Ngirici as part of the crowd gathered at one of Ruto’s rallies, Piga Firimbi found that the image began circulating on January 30, 2022. Just after the deputy president’s Kenya Kwanza alliance rally in Kirinyaga County, held on January 29, 2022 alongside politicians Musalia Mudavadi and Moses Wetangula.

Further findings reveal that the image was initially published on The Correspondent Africa news website on January 30, 2022. Captions on the image read: “Deputy President William Ruto greeting a section of the crowd that attended a rally at Kirinyaga County.”

This original photo does not show Wangui Ngirici, indicating that her image was photoshopped into the original.

A common trait evident on the Twitter and Facebook accounts that published the doctored image shows that the accounts regularly post pro-UDA content. The posts also appear similar in their captions which contain the phrase “Ngirici is regretting”as is evident on this Facebook post and this tweet published on different accounts.

This is indicative of coordinated behavior, where the exact information is posted word for word by different users.

The Twitter account named Ben Mwangi for instance was among the first to share the doctored image. This account’s profile images are of UDA politicians, the profile statement also reads; “UDA Party”. One of the posts on this account would imply that Raila Odinga is “Judas Iscariot” (perhaps to say that he is a traitor?).

Raila Odinga is UDA leader William Ruto’s political opponent. Both of them have declared their ambitions to become Kenya’s fifth president as the country nears the August 9, 2022 elections. The Ben Mwangi account has in the same vein run self-generated polls, which apparently show that 90 percent of the electorate prefer William Ruto to Raila Odinga. Another self-generated survey on the account shows that 30 out of the 47 Kenyan counties would supposedly vote for William Ruto. The other account that shared the doctored image on Facebook is one named Mt Kenya for Ruto. As the name suggests, the account is aimed at pushing pro-UDA content.

Verdict

YES, the image showing Kirinyaga Woman Representative Wangui Ngirici at Deputy President William Ruto’s rally is doctored.

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Linda Ngari

Linda is a fact-checking and data journalist. She is currently the Piga Firimbi editor. She is passionate about acquiring and utilising OSINT tools and skills to tell stories that matter to a modern day tech-savvy audience in innovative ways.