Claim 1: UP Joseph Boakai releases a list of cabinet ministers, leaving out Nimba.
Verdict: Misleading. The viral WhatsApp screenshot purporting to be a chat from both the UP and CDC chats was staged to disseminate disinformation.
Full text: On October 18, 2023, a list leaked on Facebook suggesting that the opposition Unity Party had issued its list of cabinet ministers, although Nimba County was not included.
Nimba is one of the biggest and most vote-rich counties in Liberia. The people of Nimba massively voted for Boakai, as indicated by his placing first in the county according to the National Elections Commission preliminary results.
We also saw another purported leaked chat on Unity Party stalwart Patrick Honnah’s page, claiming that it was from the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC).
The chat is about the CDC’s intention to put money in Nimba to attack the county’s newly elected senator, Prince Johnson, and kill some people to win the presumed runoff election.
On October 10, the country held its general elections, wherein 20 presidential candidates contested, but with over 90% of the votes counted, none of the candidates accumulated 50+1 of the votes tallied.
This means the top two candidates will show up in a second round.
The two candidates include former Vice President Joseph Boakai of UP and incumbent leader George Weah of the CDC.
Verification: A statement published by the UP Alliance campaign spokesman denying the altered material being spread on Facebook
The statement reads: “Yesterday, we saw a list circulating on social media and other news outlets claiming that it was a proposed cabinet list from the UP. Such a list is fake and misleading, and it’s a propaganda ploy from the opponent intended to cause mistrust among our people. The purported chatroom from which the fake list was generated is also fake.”
According to Ali, at the moment, the UP Alliance Campaign and her supporters are focused on rescuing Liberia.
Additionally, the national chairman of the CDC, Mulbah Morlu, says on his Facebook page that the screenshot is fake.
Tarlo Bedell, an IT specialist, said, “Based on the two screenshots, I believe the WhatsApp conversation is a forgery.” All genuine WhatsApp group chat chats display the names or phone numbers of group members who send messages.
“This is not the case with the screenshots of group chat conversations that have been widely posted on social media. You only see one name and have no idea who is sending the other messages.”
Conclusion: The two circulated WhatsApp chats are misleading and therefore should not be given credence.