These are old images from the US, not evidence of Kenya's UDA party rigging primaries

Copyright © AFP 2017-2023. All rights reserved.

Three pictures of a yellow car involved in an accident and stacks of papers strewn across the road have been shared on Facebook alongside a claim that they show evidence of vote rigging by the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party during recent political party primaries in Kenya. The post alleges that the car was involved in an accident while ferrying blank ballots to the UDA’s "preferred candidates" a day before the primaries. But this is false: the images have been online since at least 2020 and were taken in the US. 

The images, which were published on Facebook on April 13, 2022, claim to show evidence of fraud during the recently-concluded UDA party primaries.

Screenshot of the false post, taken on April 26, 2022


“An accident involving 2 UDA branded vehicles has exposed the rot in UDA nominations. One of the vehicles was found carrying UDA nominations ballot papers for Nyeri, Laikipia and Nyandarua counties (sic),” reads the post in part.

“UDA has printed excess ballot papers which they are giving their preferred candidates to mark a day ahead of their nominations (sic).”

Party primaries

In mid-April, political parties in Kenya held primaries to nominate candidates for a range of positions including county governors and members of parliament. The UDA party, which is led by the country's deputy president William Ruto and uses yellow and green as its official colours, held its countrywide primaries on April 14, 2022.

Parties conduct their primaries internally and submit nominees to the country's elections commission; candidates will then vie for positions in the upcoming general election slated for August 9 this year.

The primaries were marked by complaints of malpractice and several losing candidates accused parties of rigging the elections.

But the images shared in the post do not show a car registered to the UDA party involved in an accident in Nyeri while ferrying “ballot papers” to preferred candidates. 

Old photos from US

Reverse image searches conducted by AFP Fact Check found that the three pictures are from different incidents in the US, not Kenya.

The first image was shared in a video featured on the website of the Texas law firm Crosley Law. The clip, describing a car accident case in the US, was uploaded on YouTube in November 2017.

A screenshot showing the original car from the YouTube footage, taken on April 26, 2021

The second image shows piles of mail including ballot papers on the side of a road.

This photo was actually taken in the US state of New Jersey in 2020.

Used in a CNN article, the image’s caption reads: “Mail, which included ballots, found dumped in a North Arlington, New Jersey dumpster.”

The third and last  image shows boxes of mail on the side of a road. It, too, can be traced to the United States.

According to 2018 article by a New Jersey news site, it shows mail that was abandoned by an unidentified postal services worker in New Jersey. 

Screenshot showing the original image posted on the website in 2018

UDA National Elections Board chairman Anthony Mwaura told AFP Fact Check that the party’s primaries were “free and fair,” despite the party receiving complaints from a few individuals about irregularities.

Mwaura added that “none of our UDA vehicles was involved in an accident in Nyeri before or even after the nomination exercise.”