FACT CHECK: Does This Video Show A Member Of A Maasai Tribe Employed By Kenya To Whip People Into Complying With COVID-19 Curfew?

Trevor Schakohl | Legal Reporter

A video shared on Facebook purportedly shows a member of a Maasai tribe in Kenya whipping people who violate the country’s curfew during the coronavirus pandemic.


Verdict: False

The video shows a comedic skit meant to raise awareness about social distancing. No media reports about the Kenyan government enlisting a Maasai tribe to enforce the country’s curfew could be found online.

Fact Check:

The Kenyan government has instituted, among other measures, a curfew from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. local time and a requirement that all people wear face masks in public to help curb the spread of the new coronavirus in the country, according to BBC News. (RELATED: Viral Image Claims To Show WHO Lockdown Guidelines)

The video shows a man wearing clothing that somewhat resembles the traditional garb worn by the Maasai, an ethnic group living in Kenya and Tanzania. As he swings a whip at several people in the streets of Kenya’s capital city of Nairobi, he shouts, “One meter!” The caption claims the Kenyan government is “employing Maasai tribe in enforcing curfew!”

However, the caption’s claim doesn’t hold up. Mbuzi Seller, the Kenyan comedian brandishing the whip in the footage, confirmed to France 24 that the video is comedic. Seller actually created the comedic skit to raise awareness about the importance of social distancing.

“I saw my fellow Kenyans out in the streets as if nothing was happening. I wondered if they thought that this virus was a joke and so I wanted to make a joke out of it myself, but this time to get people to understand just how serious the situation is,” Seller told France 24 in a statement. “So I used my character to ‘terrify’ the population and encourage them to maintain a distance of one meter from others.”

Seller also emphasized that the whip was fake and that he hadn’t been commissioned by the Kenyan government to make the skit, according to France 24. The Daily Caller didn’t find any media reports about the Kenyan government calling upon members of a Maasai tribe to help enforce the country’s mitigation measures.

While the video does not show someone deputized by the Kenyan government to enforce the curfew, Kenyan police have been criticized for using violent methods to do so. At least 12 people in Kenya have been killed by police since the dusk-until-dawn curfew that started on March 27, the Washington Post reported.

UPDATE: This article has been updated to reflect that the Maasai are an ethnic group, not a single tribe.

Trevor Schakohl

Legal Reporter
Follow Trevor on Twitterhttps://twitter.com/tschakohl


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