An emotional message allegedly from former KTN presenter Esther Arunga asking for forgiveness from Kenyans is FAKE as it was posted through a parody Twitter account.
On Thursday, 17th September 2020, Kenyans on Twitter were treated to the emotive message from the handle @EstherArunga_, claiming to belong to former media personality Esther Arunga.
The tweet received thousands of reactions from social media users, and was shared widely with screenshots being posted on several platforms.
The message read, “Kenyans, forgive me. My parole is over & it’s time to come back home. I have suffered enough. No one should ever be ashamed of starting afresh. To everyone who wronged me, i forgive you all. Kindly accept me back.”
Several people who reacted to the message were “so touched” and ready to forgive the media personality.
A fact check by Business Today found that the message was actually not from Esther Arunga, the former KTN presenter, and the Twitter handle was an impersonation. After a few days, the Twitter handle disappeared after receiving more than 321 retweets, 110 quote tweets and 1,500 likes.
BT investigations revealed, the Twitter handle, created in January 2020, had been changed before to impersonate several media personalities, including radio host and comedian Felix Odiwuor alias Jalang’o.
In a tweet dated 5th August, 2020, the same account tweeted a photo of Jalang’o fishing. On the same day, the account tweeted a photo of Jalang’o and his co-host Kamene Goro, promoting the Kiss FM breakfast show that they host. The two tweets have since been deleted.
The account has been retweeting, commenting and reacting on tweets by renowned personalities such as Ms Goro, Jeff Koinange, Wambui Collymore and Nimrod Tabu among others. As we wrote this, the account had over 47,000 followers.
There is another account thought to belong to Arunga, bearing the handle @EstherArunga that was created in August 2009, at the time she joined the Finger of God Church.
The location of the account is indicated as Canberra, the capital city of Australia. The account has 93 followers and is following 72 people, with 292 tweets. The account has been locked and thus tweets are protected from the public.
Arunga and her husband Quincy Timberlake left Kenya in July 2012 after falling out with parents, and in June 2014, their son died in an alleged accident. The husband was later charged with the murder of the son, while Arunga was charged with accessory to murder.
Since leaving Kenya, little is known about what she does, and it was reported that in 2016, she worked as a storekeeper in Australia. There is also another parody account in her name, https://twitter.com/esther_arunga.
Easter Arunga worked as an announcer and journalist at Capital FM and later for KTN. The presenter would also scoop the 2008 CHAT awards for best Teen TV presenter.
There are no known contacts for the former TV presenter, but all indicators show that the Twitter handle @EstherArunga_ is not hers.
VERDICT: Esther Arunga, the former media personality, did not ask for forgiveness from Kenyans through Twitter. The Twitter handle @EstherArunga_ used to convey the message is FAKE.
[ This story was produced by Business Today in partnership with Code for Africa’s iLAB data journalism programme, with support from Deutsche Welle Akademie ].