An open source survey of the events following the initial election results
The @DFRLab has joined forces with our colleagues @LiveUAmap to provide an overview of the events and claims made in the aftermath of Kenya’s 2017 election. Here’s what we’ve seen.
— DFRLab (@DFRLab) August 9, 2017
As in the weeks and days leading up to the election, in the aftermath of the election there has been a surge of false reports, with the two sides supporting each of the major candidates accusing each other of spreading fake news and instigating violence. Protests have taken place in Nairobi and elsewhere throughout Kenya, amplifying the confusion regarding the election aftermath. In this article, we will look at some of these protests and where they took place, along with some false reports about a protest in Mombasa.
Tensions soar in Nairobi's Mathare slum district as Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga alleges widespread vote rigging pic.twitter.com/QRtqznuDWl
— AFP News Agency (@AFP) August 9, 2017
Protests after the elections
Violent protests broke out on August 9, after presidential candidate Raila Odinga publicly announced that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) server had been hacked, the voting algorithms had been manipulated, and votes had been given to his opposing candidate Uhuru Kenyatta.
On August 10, Reuters reported that police killed three people and protesters killed a fourth. The protests took place in Nairobi and the western city of Kisumu. Open source research allows us to gain better insight into these protests.
Some unrest has been reported in Kisumu, a city in the west of the country. On August 9 at 6:32 am, foreign correspondent Tristan McConnell tweeted an image showing police forces using tear gas to disperse protesters in Kisumu.
Police use tear gas to disperse a small crowd of protesters in Kisumu pic.twitter.com/nR9fo2PVk2
— Tristan McConnell (@t_mcconnell) August 9, 2017
A large advertisement (in blue, for the Kenyan betting website betin.co.ke) in the background of the image published by McConnell matches with an ad visible in a still shot of the video posted by The Star Kenya.
In the afternoon, McConnell tweeted an image of the same place where police and protesters had clashed earlier.
— Tristan McConnell (@t_mcconnell) August 9, 2017
Nevertheless, Erik Esbjörnsson, a Nairobi-based freelance reporter and Africa correspondent for the Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter, posted on Twitter that, overall, Kisumu was “mostly calm.”
— Erik Esbjörnsson (@Esbjornsson) August 9, 2017
On the morning of August 10, Twitter user Sandra Musimbi tweeted an image of dark smoke rising over a Kisumu street. The post says the image is from August 9.
This is kisumu county yesterday ….. soo sad pic.twitter.com/ncBu9kpFkr
— sandra Donald (@musimbi_sandra) August 10, 2017
Though the situation in Kisumu didn’t escalate into fatal violence, visual evidence shared across social media shows the tension of the situation.
Mathare area of Nairobi
The Associated Press also published photos showing unrest in Mathare’s streets. One of the photos also shows youth running with branches.
The protest was also reported by the local media outlet Nairobi News. They, along with the AP, captured photos showing a protest sign with the slogan “Uhuru must go home.”
— carien du plessis (@carienduplessis) August 9, 2017
The tweet wasn’t geotagged, and it’s not clear if the Twitter user was reporting directly from the scene.
— Daniel Finnan (@Daniel_Finnan) August 9, 2017
The position of the body in relation to a window on a wall nearby confirms that the place and the victim depicted in each image are the same. At least one death during the protests in Mathare can be confirmed.
Kibera slum near Nairobi
— Habari Kibra (@HabariKibra) August 9, 2017
A similar tweet promoting peace was shared by Twitter user kennedy mutuma.
— GadgetDeck (@kennedymutuma) August 10, 2017
Though people in Kibera stayed in the streets late into the night, violence did not escalate. In the morning of August 10, Instagram user storitellah posted an image with a running man and a burning tire.
Around the same time, Twitter user Mr Atang’a tweeted that the protests were peaceful and thus the media had nothing to report on.
— DA (@D_Atang_a) August 10, 2017
Open source evidence suggests that the Kibera protest was more peaceful than the Mathare protest.
Fake protests in Mombasa
Similarly, Twitter user Cyprian, Is Nyakundi posted an image of people on a road in Mombasa.
Nevertheless, both reports appear to be false. The TV channel NTV Kenya broadcasted from Mombasa showing that the situation was peaceful and no protests were taking place. Another Kenyan news channel, KTN, also reported that the situation was peaceful.
The founder of the Kenyan media outlet Kenya Insights explained that the video is of old protests in Mombasa — protests that had occurred against the IEBC reforms on May 23, 2016.
— Kenya West© (@KinyanBoy) August 9, 2017
Additionally, many on Twitter called out another tweet from Cyprian, Is Nyakundi, one of the Twitter accounts mentioned above, as fake. Twitter user Lily Nyawira Gutu explained that the image is from a road accident that occurred the day before Cyprian, Is Nyakundi posted it.
This photo was taken yesterday after a road accident. Stop inciting Kenyans. You're an embarrassment to our peace.
— Lily Nyawira Gutu (@LilyFloret) August 9, 2017
Though there were some instances of protests in the aftermath of the Kenyan election results, there is no evidence they occurred on a large scale. Nevertheless, four people lost their lives.
The protest in Kisumu was minor and no large-scale protests were reported in Nairobi. The protest in Mathare appeared to be the most violent. Some misinformation attempts to provoke unrest in Mombasa happened, but the Kenyan online community soon proved these attempts to be false and misleading.