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Media Duped by Fake News on New EAC Currency

What made the page seem credible is the grey tick verification badge on the page which is provided by X to the official government pages.

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Information spreads faster on the web but misinformation spreads even faster, this is what happened over the weekend when several credible news outlets shared false information about the East Africa Community’s new currency called SHEAFRA.

This false story was first shared by an X’s (formerly Twitter) page EastAfricaGov, a page which identifies itself as a Federal Republic of East Africa Government, a non-existing entity. The page shared a note of ‘five Sheafra’, and the post went viral across multiple platforms as many people assumed it was an official presser from the East Africa Community.

What made the page seem credible is the grey tick verification badge on the page which is provided by X to the official government pages. The official X page used by the East Africa Community which runs under the handle jumuiya is not verified by X.

Several media in Tanzania and Kenya picked up the story including Kenyans, The Citizens, ITV Tanzania, Jambo TV, and Jamii Forums among others.

News clipping of several media that reported the story

While it is not the first time this social media page report about the ‘new currency’, this is the first time that the account has managed to become viral with over 600,000 views on the post and had received media amplification. Since January 2024 the page has been sharing similar kinds of posts on the new currency.

Web of Lies

Our analysis of the page shows that there are several problematic issues with the page that needs close follow-up from X. First the account was verified as a government organization of a non-existing government, the Federal Republic of East Africa, this is problematic.

The page has a network of other pages which run as East African Community Interruling Party Union, which in this work of fiction serves as the union of the ruling parties that runs the federation. The pages include EAC_IPU, EAC_IPU_UG, EAC_IPU_BUR, EACIPUSomalia, EAC_IPU_Ke and EAC_IPU_BUR.

In maintaining its active status, the page has been retweeting several official news from the government in East Africa and also comments on current affairs. The page has also been posting about upcoming plans including the announcement of the Government of Federal Republic of East Africa, its plan to engage the media, and on December 15, 2023, it tried to host a public talk on X space.

The page in itself looks like a confused person who crammed several political words and can connect them along the East Africa community and federation theme, a highly suspicious trend of a troll-farm run page.

A person who run the page introduces himself as an overseer of the federation and is calling himself  Moses Haabwa and also introduces himself as Ambassador Moses Haabwa. While the images used by this account show that he is a natural person, sometimes posing with his child, it is highly unlikely this identity is genuine or connected to the pictures used.

Moses Haabwa gained his ambassadorship when he was appointed by a fictitious monarchy the Duce of Royan which is also verified on X as a government entity and also verified on Instagram under ducderoyan. The monarchy also has an official website that is used to share various messages, including appointments, images used by the Duce of Royan are fictitious and polished to look real.

Mr.Haabwa who is busy overseeing the Federal Republic of East Africa completed his mission as an ambassador on June 23, 2023, when it was announced by the Duce of Royan. Moses claims to hold talks with several European ambassadors after his tenure has ended.

Looking at the grand of things, this seems like another scheme in one of the elaborate disinformation campaigns. Taking by the account posts, it seems the page has a much closer understanding or interest in Uganda and Somalia than the rest of the countries in EAC.

Responding to the report on X, the East Africa Community asked people to “ignore any rumours circulating in social media on the unveiling of new banknotes for the region.”

Subsequently, the Tanzania’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, January Makamba refuted the report saying  that proposals toward a single currency in the EAC will be reached in 2031

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