Johnson Mwakazi: I am alive!

Media personality Johnson Mwakazi has dispelled rumours of his death.

Fake news about Mr Mwakazi’s “death” hit social media on Sunday evening, with a section of online users falling for the misinformation.

Mr Mwakazi has now come out to set the record straight about his well-being.

Taking to Twitter on Sunday, May 13, the ex-Citizen TV news anchor said: “All is well! I give thanks to God! Kindly, note that rumours that I am dead are not true. I am alive.”

The specific source of the fake news about Mr Mwakazi’s “death” is yet to be known.

Mr Mwakazi now joins a list of other public figures, who, in the recent or far past, were victims of fake death reports published online.

On July 15 last year, a fake report hit social media that veteran broadcaster Leonard Mambo Mbotela was dead.

Mr Mbotela made a phone call to KBC on the same date – July 15 – to allay fears and confusion that he had died. His call was broadcast.

During the call, Mr Mbotela said: “I have received a lot of phone calls, with concerned friends and Kenyans inquiring about my health. I would like to confirm to KBC listeners, my fans, relatives, work colleagues, friends and my bosses that I, Leonard Mambo Mbotela, I am alive currently speaking to you on radio. I am alive; breathing as I would every other day. I am full of life. I thank God.

“I urge you to pray for me to live longer. I have never received as many calls as I have today. International media houses including Deutsche Welle (DW), the BBC all have called to ascertain the accuracy of the online reports. I am alive, I am well. I thank God. Kindly pray that I live longer. I am alive. I am alive. I am alive. I forgive the person who crafted and peddled the false report that I perished in a road accident; he does not know what he is doing. May God forgive him too,” said Mr Mbotela.

Other public figures, who were falsely claimed to have died, include Starehe MP Charles Njagua, alias Jaguar, retired president Daniel Moi, among others.

On April 26 this year, the National Assembly passed a law which criminalises publication of fake news or peddling pornography.

Should one be found guilty of the offense, he or she will have to part with hefty amounts of cash in form of fines, or serve lengthy jail terms, or both.

Under the Computer and Cybercrimes Bill, which has been presented to President Uhuru Kenyatta for assent, publication of false, misleading or fictitious information will attract a maximum fine of Ksh.5 million or imprisonment of a maximum of two years or both, upon conviction.

Legislators also expanded the offence to include publication of fictitious information that is likely to propagate war, incite people to violence, constitute hate speech, advocate ethnic hatred or negatively affects the rights or reputations of others.




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