Fake: Viral Facebook, Twitter posts linked to IEBC Vice President Cherera
Viral Facebook and Twitter pages using the name and photo of Independent Elections and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Deputy Chair Juliana Cherera are fake.
Facebook pages, in particular, emerged on August 17 commenting on the recent presidential elections in which Ms Cherera, alongside three other commissioners, repudiated the final results announced by IEBC President Wafula Chebukati .
A day after their dissenting decision, a Facebook page called Julien Cherera opened. Later that day, the page changed its name to Juliana Chereraby correcting the typo on the name of the Deputy Chief of the IEBC.
Another page was created on the same day, August 17, and was named Commissioner Juliana Cherera.
The page, which says the owner, Ms Cherera, is a government official, gained fast and amassed more than 25,000 followers in less than three days as she posted posts and uploaded dozens of photos of Ms Cherera and other IEBC officials.
“Dear Kenyans: Chebukati missed the 2022 presidential results. The joke will be overturned by the Supreme Court! the page wrote.
As well as attracting thousands of reactions to the posts, the page posted controversial statements that saw followers get mean towards each other.
The Standard Checkpoint contacted Ms. Cherera who clarified that she was not present on social media and that all Facebook and Twitter accounts were fake.
“I don’t have a social media account. These accounts on Twitter and Facebook are fake as they have my name and picture on them,” Ms Cherera said.
“I reported to the relevant authorities. The briefing I gave to Serena (Tuesday August 16, 2022) is the last comment I made on the August 2022 election.”
The fake page on Friday morning even promised live press at 4 p.m. for “the big reveal” and drew 108 comments in less than an hour. The page has so far made over 36 posts.
Numerous comments on the various posts posted by the fake page led to a split opinion, with some directing bile against the page admin while others were in defense.
“It looks like you’re ready to burn this country down, you’ve done your part, why not wait and then testify in court and not on Facebook?” asked a Facebook user.
In another article, the page claims that the commissioner received threats from Vice President-elect Rigathi Gachagua against his testimony in court.
Twitter users also have access to fake accounts bearing Ms Cherera’s photo.
Julian Cherera, Julianna Cherera and Julliana Cherera are among the fake Twitter accounts, with the latter spreading automated tweets and retweeting numerous messages related to the IEBC and the elections.
Twitter allows automated accounts, often referred to as bots, and performs programmed actions through the Twitter API.
The false counts gained traction after Ms Cherera and three other commissioners – Francis Wanderi, Irene Masit and Justus Nyang’aya – differed with Mr Chebukati over the presidential vote tally which announced William Ruto as the winner.
On August 16, 2022, the four commissioners held a press conference in which they explained their reasons for disavowing the result of the presidential results.
By reviewing the timing of the creation of the accounts and their content and after seeking comments from Ms. Cherera, we are flagging the social media accounts as fake.
This fact-check was produced by the Standard with support from Code for Africa’s PesaCheck, the African Fact-Checking Alliance Network and the United Nations Development Programme.