Questions have emerged as to why the Directorate of Criminal Investigations would be using some photos taken more than 15 years ago claiming they were from the Azimio anti-government protests held last Monday.
Investigations by Taifa Leo showed that some of the photos used were from long ago and cannot be whatsoever linked to the riots.
Further, some of the photos were taken in other countries while some photos were manipulated using Google Reverse Image Search technology to give a fake illustration of the real situation on the ground.
The technology also shows the date and the media house that published the photo for the first time.
For instance, the photo that showed a man in a white cap throwing a teargas canister was taken on January 17, 2008, in Kibera, Nairobi.
That photo is owned by Getty Images and was taken during the deadly 2007 post-election violence at the slum.
The late Mwai Kibaki
This was after ODM leader Raila Odinga disputed the victory of then president the late Mwai Kibaki.
In addition, there was a photo of people jumping from burning trees which was taken by Al Jazeera, an international media house, in 2015 during the violence in Burundi.
The violence stemmed from the arrest of 400 protesters who were against the presidential candidature of the late Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza for the third time.
Also, among the 12 photos that were posted on DCI’s official social media accounts, was a photo that showed youths jumping near a burning tyre.
But Taifa Leo’s investigations show that this photo was taken by Deutsche Welle (DW), a German international media house, on August 16, 2022, and cannot be associated with Monday’s protests.
The photo was taken in the slums of Kibera, a day after President William Ruto was declared president-elect after the August 9 elections.
The youths photographed in the photo were against the announcement made by former Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chair Wafula Chebukati.
However, these photos were used to show the aftermath of the Azimio la Umoja-led Monday’s protests.
Dancing with sufurias
On the other hand, some photos are not a threat to peace like the one of some men dancing with sufurias on the road.
But in their post, DCI tweeted, “The criminals who took advantage of the demonstrations were captured on camera destroying public property, attacking innocent members of the public and hurling projectiles at police officers who were on duty protecting life and property.”
The directorate added, “As a result, property of unknown value was destroyed while a total of 33 officers suffered injuries of various degrees and some are still recuperating at various hospitals in the city.”
Moreover, DCI shared that a police officer lost their firearm, which was loaded with 15 rounds of 9mm ammunition, was also lost after he was attacked by a gang of a well-notorious mob.
“The officers were preventing the destruction of public property in Embakasi area of Nairobi County. In this regard, the Directorate of Criminal Investigations cautions members of the public that while the right to assemble, picket, and petition is enshrined in our constitution, these rights should be exercised with civility and should not infringe on the rights of others,” it tweeted.
Further, it explained, “The Directorate is currently on a manhunt for the suspects whose images appear below as others are being gathered and shall be updated, who will face charges ranging from robbery with violence, malicious damage to public property and assault among other allied offences.”
DCI is also urging the public to relay any information that could lead to the arrest of those alleged lawbreakers.
“The suspects are requested to present themselves at the Serious Crimes offices based at DCI headquarters along Kiambu Road or at their nearest police station before close of business today for further action,” it added.
But security experts argued that the use of those photos was a tactic by the Interior Ministry to scare Kenyans against showing up for riots by Azimio, which are slotted for Mondays and Thursdays as per the announcement made by Mr Odinga.
“Still, it is very wrong for the DCI to use fake or past photos that did not show the events of Monday 20th 2023,” said a retired officer who requested anonymity.
“Further, it is a shame for the DCI to use photos from other countries to drive an agenda that is being vouched for by politicians who are in the governing administration.”
A Kenyan by the name Asamoh has also noticed that the photos used by DCI were fake.
Through his Twitter account, Asamoh tweeted, “It is EMBARRASSING that a whole @DCI_Kenya has been reduced to this. Plucking images from 2018 demonstrators to assign Azimio in 2023. Amin Mohammed is an embarrassment to the agency. @Kenyajudiciary @ODPP_KE.”
He was referring to a photo that was used by the European Union (EU) in their report on the aftermath of a past Kenyan election. The photo was taken on January 10, 2018.
Translated by Wangu Kanuri