Is Uhuru back on X? A verified parody account is causing a stir
A new verified account purporting to be the fourth president of Kenya, H.E Uhuru Kenyatta, has surfaced on X, formerly known as Twitter.
The account, using the handle @uhurukenyattta, has been causing a stir by engaging in questionable activities, raising concerns among Kenyans and Twitter users alike.
The account’s bio boldly claims to be the fourth president of the Republic of Kenya.
However, the official account of the former president, managed by his communication team and using the handle @4thPresidentKE, has not posted anything new since September 24.
In their most recent post, they extended their congratulations to the world record holder, Eliud Kipchoge.
Congratulations Eliud Kipchoge for a stellar performance at the #BerlinMarathon2023. Once again Kipchoge has displayed an unmatched command of the 42km race as he recorded his fifth victory in the capital of Germany. In deed impossible is nothing.
Pongezi @EliudKipchoge pic.twitter.com/pTbyMntss2
— Office of the 4th President of Kenya. (@4thPresidentKE) September 24, 2023
The bio on the official account describes President Kenyatta as the “4th President of the Republic of Kenya,” as well as the “AU-Kenya Peace Envoy and Facilitator of the EAC-Led Nairobi Peace Process.”
The imposter’s account was created in March 2022 and has garnered 7,494 followers while posting over 3,000 tweets.
What has puzzled observers even more is the numerous grammatical errors in many of the posts. The language used lacks the regal tone expected of a former head of state, leading many to believe it is being operated as a parody.
In one recent post, the account discussed Uhuru’s personal life, a departure from the expected presidential demeanor.
It stated, “It is important for everyone to create time for their families out of their busy schedules because It is where everyone goes after working and exhausting their fruitful years and therefore needs to ensure things are running well at home.”
In another cryptic post, the account wrote, “The fire that cooks is the same fire that burns…” Such unconventional and enigmatic statements are not in line with the former president’s usual style.
Defending why the account is active, the user states, “The reason why I opened this account was to interact with some leaders globally and my people back home in Kenya.”
This impersonation raises questions about the security of high-profile social media accounts. It is worth noting that President Kenyatta deactivated his official Twitter account in the past due to incessant trolling.
In a previous address to the nation, he mentioned, “Ata twitter niliondoka huko nikaona hiyo kitu ni bure ni matusi tu,” which translates to, “You’ve seen I left Twitter because I didn’t see its benefit. It’s just full of abuses.”
“Unakaa hapo ukisoma watu wanesema nini, unakosa usingizi, unapiga simu vile umetusiwa…” (You sit there reading what people are writing and even lose sleep and start making phone calls),” Uhuru said.
He added, “I’d rather get some sleep after chatting with my wife. I wake up the following day, do my work, and the world continues peacefully.”
When his account was deactivated, former President Kenyatta was one of the most followed African leaders on Twitter, with approximately 3.62 million followers. He was using the handle @UKenyatta.
The then State House Chief of Staff Nzioka Waita then said there were “unauthorised” individuals with access to the President’s social media accounts.
“All official social media handles for the President have been temporarily suspended to allow for the necessary remedial measures to be undertaken,” Waita said.
This curious development comes at a time when Twitter has revamped its verification process, allowing users to pay for the coveted blue tick and associated perks, such as boosted rankings and greater prominence in conversations and searches. This new approach means that maintaining a significant presence on the platform now comes at a cost.
Despite these changes, Twitter has implemented safeguards to minimize the risk of impersonation, including blocking new accounts from accessing the verification service for 30 days. The platform is actively working on additional measures to further reduce impersonation risks.
It remains to be seen how Twitter will respond to this fraudulent activity and whether it will impact the credibility of verified accounts on the platform.