FACT CHECK: 4 fake news about DRC Nobel Laureate Mukwege’s resignation from COVID-19 team

Platforms Africa fact checks fake news flying around across the continent on reasons the DR Congo Nobel Laureate Mukwege left COVID-19 team.


Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Nobel laureate, Dr. Dennis Mukwege, resigned his appontment from a Covid-19 team through a statement last Wednesday, June 10 2020. As much as the resignation of this gynaecologist who shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 2018 for his work against sexual violence in war, generated interest across Africa, the news has also been greeted by fake news, lies and misinformarion across the continent. The later unfortunately spread faster.

Platforms Africa fact checks four of the news items.

#1: Mukwege is the head of COVID-19 team in DR Congo. Lie.

The Nobel Laureate, until his resignation, led a team of COVID-19 response experts in an eastern province of DR Congo.

He was appointed on March 30 to lead a committee in South Kivu province. Panzi Hospital, where Mukwege treats abused women, is also located in the province.

#2. Mukwege resigned because of an order to declare COVID-19 as the cause of all ailments, deaths. Lie.

A screenshot of social media update by one Nancy Uche Young spread like a wild fire in Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana, Kenya and a host of other countries in Africa.

An update credited to Young


The said Young quoted Dr. Mukwege to have, among others, allegedly blamed his resignation on an order “to declare any illness as Coronavirus and any death.”

The Congolese Nobel laureate said in an authentic statement quoted copiously by Platforms Africa, AFP, France24 among others that he resigned his appontment from a local coronavirus taskforce in an eastern province of DR Congo, because of “organisational problems, outpaced strategy and slow testing.”

No where in his statement was anything like the words used in the fabrication above mentioned.

#3. Monerary inducement to inflate COVID-19 figures. Lie.

‘In addition, the thing that displeased me is that, after more than 100 samples, none came out positive. I have a career to protect and I am a Congolese by blood.” These were the words fabricated for the Nobel Laureate as parts of the reasons he resigned his appontment. Asides that the flow of those words raised serious suspicion, they have also turned out to be lies.

In his real statement posted by AFP, Mukwege said there had been “weaknesses in organisation and clarity between the various teams in charge of the response to the pandemic in South Kivu.”
“We are at the start of an exponential… curve (in infections) and we can no longer apply a strategy that would be purely preventive,” Mukwege said.

#4. He reigned because of the Fear of God. Lie.

“Getting rich by lying is a sin before God. I quit!” The fabrication read.

This line of argument, entirely alien to be given in official issue by medical personel was a part of reason being peddle for Mukwege’s reaignation.

Here is what his authentic statement contains;
“I have decided to resign… in order to devote myself entirely to my medical duties and to treat the influx of patients at Panzi hospital.” 

He said he regretted that it took “more than two weeks” to get coronavirus test results from the national reference lab in Kinshasa — “a major handicap for our strategy based on ‘testing, identifying, isolating and treating’.”

Mukwege also criticised developments that he said had “reduced the effectiveness” of the anti-virus campaign.

They included a relaxation in vigilance by the public, hurdles in enforcing distancing and the return of thousands of people from neighbouring countries without quarantine.

Mukwege had pleaded in mid-April for partial confinement of people over the age of 60 and compulsory mask-wearing for everyone to help break the chain of virus transmission.

On May 9, he called for “emergency supplies” of tests “before the exponential curve (of infections) gets underway.”

The Democratic Republic of Congo has declared 4,390 infections, including 3,980 in Kinshasa and 89 in South Kivu and a total of 96 deaths.


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