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Kenyan politician Mike Sonko left red-faced after photoshopping himself next to Nelson Mandela

  • @JoBarrow

From Tony Blair to the Spice Girls, everyone wanted to be pictured with Nelson Mandela.

So when this man was faced with the thought of being one of the few politicians without a picture next to the great man, he got creative.

Quick-thinking Kenyan politico Mike Sonko came up with an ingenious solution.

On the day of Mandela’s death, the Senator for Nairobi,  Mike Sonko uploaded a photo of himself in the arms of an aging but still spry Mandela to his personal Facebook page. However, it didn’t take long for users of the site to recognise a badly photoshopped image when they saw one.

Internet sleuths quickly found the original image; one of a broadly grinning Mandela cuddling up to heavyweight boxing champion Muhammed Ali, seemingly decades ago.



Responses across social networks varied from branding him an “attention whore” to the most basic “ugh”, with one critic asking, “What are you? A senator or a socialite?”

To some the problem was clear. On Facebook, Irene Owili-Oyugi quickly saw through the deception: “Someone should have told Sen. Mbuvi that the great Mandela was a very tall guy, much taller than him!”

Reddit user “ZincHead” claimed, perhaps sarcastically, not to see a problem. They said: “Mandela was just a bit blurry that day. Nothing suspicious here.”

Mike Sonko was elected as an MP in 2010, but while serving, was kicked out of Parliament for wearing earrings and sunglasses. He was then elected senator for Nairobi in 2013, and has come to be seen as an icon of youth empowerment and a fighter for the rights of poor people in Kenya.

This isn’t his first brush with photoshop notoriety either. In October, Sonko claimed that images of him with another politician, Rachael Shebesh, in bed, were photoshopped.