Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta’s social media accounts were deactivated Thursday after a politically volatile tweet the government said was sent by someone with “unauthorized access.”
Chief of Staff Nzioka Waita tweeted that the “social media handles for the president have been temporarily suspended to allow for the necessary remedial measure to be undertaken.”
Kenyatta’s Facebook and Twitter accounts have millions of followers. The tweet in question, sent Thursday night, promised to fight corruption.
“If you are corrupt we will fight you. You can be my brother or my sister or my closest ally but if you are corrupt we will fight you. If you are corrupt we will fight you. I won’t be clouded by ethnicity or status in my quest to leave behind a united nation and I will continue championing for Kenya’s unity.”
Kenyatta’s accounts were deactivated after that, sparking speculation as to what happened. Some thought that Twitter took action against Kenyatta for the tweet. But Kenyatta hadn’t violated Twitter’s rules.
Waita clarified the situation with his own tweet Friday, which read: “On account of unauthorized access to the official social media handles of H.E the President of the Republic of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta .All official social media handles for the President have been temporarily suspended to allow for the necessary remedial measures to be undertaken.”
He later tweeted, “It seems the president’s stand on corruption has generated all manner of reactions.” That further complicated the matter because if Kenyatta’s account was hacked, he wasn’t the one talking about a “stand on corruption.”
Regardless of who sent the tweet, the “closest ally” could be a veiled reference to William Ruto, a deputy in Kenyatta’s government. The two ran on a joint ticket in 2013 and 2017 but their relationship has been strained lately. Kenyatta has made peace with his one-time rival Raila Odinga, which further distanced him from Ruto. Some see this as a political move to wreck Ruto’s plans to challenge Kenyatta as president.