Video of Michelle Obama unveiling Martha Karua ‘portrait’ is manipulated 

Slightly less than two months before Kenya’s August 9 2022 election, candidates for political office continue to appear in suspect videos.

One video spreading on Facebook shows the former US first lady Michelle Obama, drawing back a large brown veil. It falls to reveal a photo of Martha Karua, a Kenyan lawyer and politician.

Karua was recently chosen as a candidate for the deputy presidency in the August 9 election, where she will run alongside Raila Odinga, who leads the Azimio One Kenya Coalition party. Odinga’s main opponent for the presidency will be William Ruto, who leads the United Democratic Alliance party in the Kenya Kwanza coalition. He has appointed Rigathi Gachagua as his running mate.

A Facebook user argued that the video showed the former first lady supported Karua’s bid for high office. “Martha Karua portrait unveiled at a Women Conference in USA By Michelle Obama Herself .Our deputy president is recognized both locally and internationally.” We checked to see if Obama had indeed unveiled a portrait of Karua.

Blue, not greyish background

We cropped the image of Karua in the screenshot and did a Google reverse image search. It showed that the original picture of Karua was a photograph with a blue background and not the greyish one in the video being shared. She also appears to be sitting on a stage, a detail the image in the video does not include.

A further Google reverse image search of the new image shows it was published on 26 March 2022. It was published on the Twitter account of Junet Mohamed, who represents Suna East constituency in the west of Kenya. On that day, Karua took part in political rallies in western Kenya, three days after joining the Azimio coalition, before Odinga selected her to contest the presidency alongside him.

Searching YouTube for “Michelle Obama portrait” reveals that the original video shows Michelle Obama having her own portrait unveiled alongside her husband’s at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. on 12 February 2018. 

This unveiling event has previously been used to spread false information. Manipulated videos were also used to claim that the BBC had broadcast a video of former US President Barack Obama unveiling a portrait of William Ruto, Odinga’s opponent in the presidential election.

[title text=”FACT CHECKING” align=”center” uppercase=”yes” bold=”yes”]