Kenya: No, Kenyan President’s Aide Didn’t Call Gen Z Protesters ‘Protégé of Terror Group’

IN SHORT: Kenyan president William Ruto has withdrawn the controversial finance bill. But the Gen Z-led protests have continued in parts of the country, while misinformation has also continued to spread on social media. This graphic, which claims that Ruto’s aide called young protesters “protégés of a terrorist group”, is fake.

A graphic doing the rounds on Facebook attributes a quote to Farouk Kibet, the aide to Kenya’s president William Ruto.

According to the graphic, Kibet describes the mostly young anti-finance bill protesters as “protégé of terror group” and suggests they want to overthrow the Kenyan government.

Dated 20 June 2024, the graphic reads: “These young people calling themselves GEN-Z are just protégé of terror group who wants to take over government. There is a powerful force behind this unsuccessful demonstration. We will not allow that. Serikali iko imara na hatutatishwa! President Ruto will continue executing his mandates because that is what he was elected to do.”

It shows an image of Kibet and the logo of Kenyans.co.ke, suggesting that it was published by the Kenyan digital news outlet.

The country has seen a series of protests against the finance bill since 18 June. The protesters have largely been young people, widely referred to by local and international media as Generation Z or Gen Z. They have called for the entire bill, which contains controversial tax hike proposals, to be scrapped.

The anti-finance bill protests have largely been mobilised on social media platforms, which have also seen a rise in misinformation. False claims have targeted politicians suspected of supporting the bill, and some have had their properties targeted.

The bill was first tabled in parliament in May. Despite nationwide protests, members of parliament approved it and Ruto was expected to sign it into law. After a bill is introduced in parliament, it has to pass through several key stages before it becomes law.

On 26 June, Ruto said he had withdrawn the bill after listening to the Kenyan people. However, protests have continued in some parts of the country.

The graphic has also been posted here and here.

But is it legit? We checked.

Ignore fake graphic and fabricated quote

The graphic quickly went viral, but Africa Check could not find any reports on this from reputable news agencies. This is a sign that the graphic may be fake.

Kenyans.co.ke often posts its graphics on its verified social media accounts, including Facebook and X (formerly Twitter). We scoured the accounts for the graphic and came up empty.

On 22 June, the media outlet posted the circulating graphic on its official social media accounts, with the word “fake” printed in red.

“This post did not emanate from our media house. We flag it as FAKE. For official communication from Kenyans.co.ke, always visit the official website and verified social media pages,” it cautioned its readers.

The graphic is fake and should be ignored.