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Fact Check: Does IEBC vice-chair Juliana Cherera have social media accounts?

By - Aug 19th 2022
Juliana Cherera, IEBC Vice-Chair. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Facebook and Twitter accounts with the name and picture of Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) vice chairperson Juliana Cherera are fake.

The Facebook account, in particular, became active on August 17 with posts about the 2022 presidential election results where  Cherera and three other IEBC Commissioners disowned the final results that were announced by the Commission chairman Wafula Chebukati.

A day after their dissenting move, a Facebook page called Julian Cherera was opened. Later in the day, the page changed its name to Juliana Cherera, correcting the typo on the IEBC deputy chief’s name.

Several pages created on Facebook

Another page was created on the same day, August 17 under the name Commissioner Juliana Cherera.

The page, which indicates that the owner, Ms Cherera, is a government official, has attracted over 25,000 followers in under three days. It has regular posts and tens of photos of Ms Cherera and other IEBC officials have been uploaded on the photo album.

“Dear Kenyans: Chebukati bungled the 2022 Presidential results. The joke will be nullified by the Supreme court!” said a post.

Besides attracting thousands of reactions to posts, the page has controversial statements that have seen followers insult each other. 

Juliana Cherera comments

When the Standard Checkpoint contacted Ms Cherera, she said she is not on social media and does not have any Twitter and Facebook accounts. 

“I don't have any social media account. Those accounts on Twitter and Facebook are fake as much as they bear my name and picture,” said Ms Cherera.

“I have reported to the relevant authorities. The briefing I gave in Serena (on Tuesday, August 16, 2022) is the last comment I've made on the August 2022 election.”

The fake page, on Friday morning, even promised a 4pm live press for “the big reveal” and attracted 108 comments in under one hour. By the time this article was published, the page had over 36 posts.

Followers reaction to posts

Comments by followers of the page have led to a split opinion, with some directing bile at the page admin while others were to the defence. “It seems you are ready to burn this country, you did your part, why not wait then give evidence in court and not on Facebook?” one Facebook user asked.

In another post, the page claims that the Commissioner has received threats from deputy president-elect Rigathi Gachagua against testifying in court.

On Twitter, there are several fake accounts with Ms Cherera’s photo.

Julian Cherera, Julianna Cherera and Julliana Cherera are some of the fake Twitter accounts, with the latter running automated tweets and has been retweeting many posts related to IEBC and the elections. Twitter allows automated accounts, often referred to as bots and perform programmed actions through the Twitter API.

The fake Twitter accounts gained traction after Ms Cherera and three other Commissioners—Francis Wanderi, Irene Masit and Justus Nyang’aya— differed with Mr Chebukati on the presidential votes tally that announced William Ruto as the winner.

On August 16, 2022, the four Commissioners held a press conference at Serena where they explained why they had disowned the presidential results.

Looking at the timing of the creation of the accounts and their content and having sought comment from Ms Cherera, we flag the social media accounts as fake.

This fact check was produced by the Standard with support from Code for Africa’s PesaCheck, African Fact-Checking Alliance Network and the United Nations Development Program.

ptheuri@standardmedia.co.ke     

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