The communications lead at the Office of Kalonzo Musyoka, Paloma Gatabaki, has called out Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua for publishing fake news about the health of the former Vice-President’s wife, Pauline Musyoka.
Governor Mutua had, on Sunday afternoon, January 2, posted on Facebook that Pauline had died, reports which were false.
Mutua would later issue an apology on Facebook, saying he had been misled by people close to Musyoka.
“I wish to apologise for the earlier post about the family of H.E. Kalonzo Musyoka. This was a result of misinformation and a hoax from several players, some, seemingly credible and close to H.E. Kalonzo, who made it seem like a message to me about the family. People can be evil,” he said.
“My sincere apologies for any anxiety caused. Happily, all is well. God bless you,” added the governor.
Musyoka’s communications team, however, took issue with the county chief’s original fake report.
“It is unfortunate we live in a time when people spend their minutes trying to get the most clicks and not tell the truth,” said Paloma Gatabaki, the head of communications at the Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka command centre.
“It [is] even more unfortunate when senior politicians post messages of condolence on their official social media pages without verification of the source. For one with a purported media background, this lapse in judgement is incredibly thoughtless.
“It is sad that the spinners of hateful, horrific and fake stories show no evidence of regret nor remorse for the damage they do,” added Gatabaki.
The Standard understands that Pauline Musyoka, who has been ailing for a while, is recuperating at her Karen home in Nairobi.
Ford-Kenya Party leader Moses Wetang'ula tweeted on Sunday afternoon that he was with Kalonzo at his (Kalonzo’s) Karen home and that the ex-VP’s wife was well.
“[I] am in a meeting with Steve Kalonzo and Cyrus Jirongo at Steve's residence. Mama Pauline is alive, safe and sound. This (Governor Alfred Mutua’s Facebook post) is fake news at its highest crudity. Alfred Mutua, you owe the country an apology,” he said.
Another leader who dismissed the Pauline death reports was Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Junior.
“Treat the [Pauline Musyoka] death reports as fake,” he told The Standard.
He later accused Mutua of being “irresponsible” following the fake death reports.
“This is extremely irresponsible of you, Governor Mutua,” Kilonzo said on Twitter.
In an interview aired on Citizen Television on Friday, December 31, 2021, Kalonzo Musyoka said his spouse, Pauline, was recovering well.
“Mama is [in a] stable [health condition], and we thank God. We continue to pray for a miracle,” he said.
Pauline has been ailing since 2015, resulting in her occasionally seeking treatment abroad.
She was first admitted to the Nairobi Hospital on December 29, 2015.
Details of her ailment remain private.
Pauline Kalonzo got married to the Wiper Party leader in 1985 after dating for 13 years.