FACT CHECK: No, Barack Obama Did Not Make This Statement To Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta

Trevor Schakohl | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook claims former President Barack Obama made a comment advising Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta that he “won’t become popular by fighting” his deputy and supporters.

Verdict: False

There is no record of Obama making the statement.

Fact Check:

A rift has been slowly forming for years between William Ruto, Kenya’s deputy president and Kenyatta’s running mate in two past elections, and Kenyatta, according to BBC News. Ruto aims to be chosen as president in the 2022 Kenyan general election, in which he may be running against current Kenyatta ally and former Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga, the outlet reported.

The image in the Facebook post claims Obama gave Kenyatta advice about leadership, seemingly in reference to Kenyatta’s falling out with Ruto. (RELATED: Did The Russian Embassy In Kenya Put Out This Press Release About Imported Sputnik V Vaccines?)

“You won’t become popular by fighting your own deputy and those who supported your leadership aspirations, a great and sound-minded leader will always build a great future for those who are serving under him,” Obama supposedly said. “I am happy seeing Biden a president of U.S.A!”

In reality, the statement has been misattributed to Obama. Check Your Fact searched the websites of The Office of Barack and Michelle Obama, the Obama Foundation, the presidential library and the White House, but found no instances of the comment. Nor did the statement appear in any of Obama’s social media posts.

Obama met with Kenyatta during a 2015 visit to Kenya, and at the White House for a 2014 U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit dinner, as seen in State Department photos on Flickr. Obama went to Kenya again in 2018, meeting Kenyatta on that trip as well, CNN reported. An internet search by Check Your Fact found no news reporting of Obama making the statement in the Facebook post at any time.

Kenyatta on Aug. 23 said that Ruto should resign if he is unhappy with the president’s agenda, The Citizen reported. “I have an agenda that I was elected on, and that work must continue, and it would really be the honourable thing that if you’re not happy with it that you would actually step aside and allow those who want to move on, and then take your agenda to the people,” Kenyatta said, according to the outlet.

Trevor Schakohl

Fact Check Reporter
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