Raila Odinga did not refer to William Ruto as President, video is manipulated


Raila Odinga did not refer to William Ruto as President, video is manipulated

A video circulating on TikTok shows Raila Odinga apparently introducing William Ruto as President in front of a cheering crowd. 

The background is draped in Kenya’s flag colours.

A caption on the video states: ”Raila Odinga joins President Ruto at Siaya”. 

In the video, William Ruto calls Odinga to the platform with the words: “Waziri Mkuu Mstaafu, Mheshimiwa Raila Odinga, kwa sababu sasa tumeingia msimu wa kuungana (Retired Prime Minister, Honourable Raila Odinga, because now we have entered the season of unity) [Crowd applauds].|” 

When Odinga comes to the platform, he seemingly refers to William Ruto as President. That is interesting because since William Ruto assumed office as President of Kenya, Raila Odinga has refused to acknowledge that Ruto won the election or recognise him as President.

Video from Meru, not Siaya

We wanted to verify if the video indeed shows Raila Odinga welcoming President Ruto in Siaya. A Google reverse image search with a screenshot of the video came up empty. 

So we listened to the video for clues to what happened when. We know that Odinga did not participate in the Siaya tour (but sent messages to Ruto) when William Ruto visited the county, so the video cannot refer to the President’s recent visit.

In the video, William Ruto welcomes Raila Odinga to speak and refers to “msimu wa kuungana”, or the “season of unity”. One meaning of that phrase could be the “handshake” of March 2018 between Uhuru Kenyatta, who was President and Raila Odinga, who was his opponent in the elections. 

So we searched YouTube for footage using the keywords “Ruto”, “Raila” and “2018” to see if it was true. Given that the logo on KTN News is in the video, we began our search on the KTN News YouTube Channel

The YouTube search revealed that Raila Odinga and Ruto were speaking at Kinoru Stadium in Meru County  on 1 June 2018, Madaraka Day. 

In the original video, Raila Odinga refers to Uhuru Kenyatta as President of Kenya with the Swahili words “Mheshimiwa Rais wa Jamhuri wa Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta”. He refers to William Ruto as “Rafiki yangu, ndugu yangu William Ruto, Naibu Wa Rais ”, making clear that Ruto was not president at the time.

The video shared on TikTok is manipulated by trimming a video that was published on Madaraka Day 2018.


Debunk looked into a video that seemed to show Raila Odinga addressing William Ruto as President of Kenya. A caption on the video stated that Raila was speaking in Busia but the original video was actually shot in Meru County in 2018, when Ruto was still Deputy President. The claim in the video is false and the video has been altered.

This fact check was published by Debunk.media with support from Code for Africa’s PesaCheck and African Fact-Checking Alliance. 

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