Posts falsely claim Kenyan minister lied about jobs talk with Canadian officials

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When Kenyan Foreign Minister Alfred Mutua tweeted about meeting Canada's immigration ministerto discuss work opportunities in the North American country, he was labelled a “liar” on social media and even accused of fabricating the bilateral talks. The criticism emerged after some people linked Mutua’s tweet to a subsequent warning by the Canadian government urging people to ignore “disinformation” about non-existent immigration programmes for Kenyans. But claims that Mutua lied are false: the Canadian government confirmed holding talks with Mutua about future ties between the countries and the possibility of establishing immigration “pathways” for Kenyans.

“Why does the government of Kenya like lying?” asks a commentator in a video shared on a Facebook page with 1.3 million followers.

Referring to Mutua and his tweet about meeting Canada's immigration minister to discuss job opportunities for Kenyans, the person in the clip adds: “How can you come [go] to a foreign country as a minister for foreign affairs then lie that you have met the minister [there] and negotiated [for jobs] when you clearly know that no such thing has taken place?”

A screenshot of the false post, taken on May 22, 2023

The video, which has been viewed more than 25,000 times, was shared alongside a caption claiming that the “government of Canada issues statement after CS for Foreign Affairs Alfred Mutua lied that he has negotiated special programs with Minister for Immigration Canada Sean Fraser to bring Kenyans to work in Canada (sic)”.

Other Facebook posts (here and here) described Mutua’s tweet as a “PR stunt”.

On Twitter, Mutua was accused of peddling “fake news” in multiple tweets (see here, here and here).

“Canada has officially stated that Kenya Foreign Affairs Minister shared fake news about a jobs opportunity ‘deal’ for Kenyans in his social media pages (sic),” reads one tweet.

Local newspaper The Star published an article titled: “Canada disowns CS Mutua’s remarks on jobs for Kenyans.” The article was later deleted.

Claims that Mutua lied about the meeting, however, are false.

Job talks

Mutua visited Canada earlier this month (archived here), where he met with several politicians including his counterpart, Canadian Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly.

On May 16, 2023, Mutua tweeted that he and Canada's immigration minister, Sean Fraser, had discussed migration opportunity “pathways” for Kenyans to go and live or work in Canada.

In the same tweet, Mutua warned Kenyans to be careful of falling for dubious immigration agencies.

Hours after Mutua’s tweet, the Canadian government took to Twitter with their own, similar advisory urging Kenyans to be wary of following the wrong information on immigration.

“Disinformation is circulating which suggests that special programs are welcoming Kenyan immigrants. This is false, and the immigration programs referenced do not exist. For accurate information on how to immigrate, visit,” read the tweet, which is no longer online.

A screenshot of the Canadian government’s tweet, taken on May 24, 2023

The timing of the posts appears to have given many the impression that the Canadian government was deliberately contradicting Mutua.

Did he lie?

Not so, according to Canada’s immigration ministry.

The ministry issued a statement about Mutua's meeting with Fraser on its website on May 18, 2023.

Immigration ministry spokesman Jeffrey MacDonald confirmed to AFP Fact Check that Mutua indeed met with Fraser, and the two discussed “immigration programmes and continued collaborations between the two countries”.

Moreover, photos of Mutua with Canada's foreign minister attest to the fact that he met with government officials in Montreal (archived here).

MacDonald said the tweet by the Canadian government was issued as a routine warning.

“Following an increase in attention on pathways for immigration to Canada from Kenya, as a result of a wide range of non-official sources of information circulating online, we issued a tweet yesterday providing guidance for Kenyans wishing to immigrate to Canada. We want to reiterate that all available immigration programmes can be found on our website,” MacDonald said.

AFP Fact Check has previously debunked false claims around Canada’s visa system, such as here.