While all other major papers such as The Daily Nation, The Standard and The Star avoided the news item about the president like the plague, People’s Daily ran it, and when it was finally discovered to be fake news, the dismay was spectacular. While they’ve since deleted the item from their site, the remaining screenshots continue to add to their embarrassment.
Although it is the case that indeed recent years have witnessed a paradigm shift in the journalistic space, whereby online news sources have largely replaced the traditional media models, traditional media still continues to enjoy a coveted space in as far as credibility is concerned. People trust traditional media sources more, and always use major media houses to confirm whether a breaking story is true or not.
It is because of this that many people were quick to fall for the biggest fake news in recent history once they saw that People’s Daily, a major newspaper, had also posted the news item too.
No one knows to date who the originator of the hoax was, but in a well orchestrated and coordinated misinformation campaign, a piece of fake news was disseminated across the country. For an entire day, the country was under the impression that the High Court had declared the Nairobi Metropolitan Services unconstitutional. So effective was the propaganda machinery, that none less than the person of the Solicitor General himself had to respond. It took an official statement from the General Solicitor, Kennedy Ogeto, to finally set the city and country at ease.
The government dismissed reports of an alleged court ruling that declared Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) unconstitutional.
Through the Office of Solicitor General, the government said the court had already ruled that NMS was lawfully and properly established with Executive Order No 3 of 2020.
“The case was determined and final judgment rendered by the court on September 17, 2020. By the said decision, the court found that NMS was properly and lawfully established … and that the County Assembly was involved in the process leading to the establishment of the NMS in accordance with the law,” Solicitor General Kennedy Ogeto said.
Interestingly, the People’s Daily was among the first to quickly publish the government’s clarification, but by then it was too late, and they’d already embarrassed themselves.