Freedom War Affairs Minister Mozammel Haque has said that Barack Obama has advised the President of Kenya, to follow the lead – follow Sheik Hasina, follow Bangladesh.

Speaking at the inaugural function of the ‘Subarna Jayanti Website’ and ‘Subarna Jayanti Online Quiz’ competitions at the BCC Auditorium of the Department of Information and Communication Technology on 25th January (Tuesday), Liberation War Affairs Minister Mozammel Haque said that Barack Obama said, “Bangladesh is a role model for the world. Follow Sheikh Hasina, follow Bangladesh 

(Screenshot of multiple posts)

Later, the statement of the Minister for Liberation War Affairs AQM Mozammel Hoque was widely circulated on social media including Jugantar[1] , RTV Online[2] , BD24 Report[3] and other media outlets. Netizens reacted immediately after the statement spread on social media, and many expressed interest in knowing if Barack Obama had ever said such a thing. 


An investigation by our team found that former US President Barack Obama did not comment on the Kenyan head of state in his speech, during Kenya visit. Although Kenya was originally the birthplace of Barack Obama, he visited Kenya only once during his presidency. This was the first[4] visit to Kenya by a US president . Barack Obama paid his first state visit to Kenya on July 24, 2015 as President.

(Screenshot from BBC News website)

During his visit to Nairobi on 25th July 2015 , Barack Obama addressed[5] a joint conference on global entrepreneurship with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta . Speaking on the sidelines of the 7 minutes and 10 seconds of the speech, Obama said, “Every day, millions of people around the world send and save money through M-Pesa [Kenya’s Mobile Money Transfer Service] থেকে from Zimbabwe to Bangladesh, citizens crowd-sourcing. Using the platform Ushahidi works to keep the election safe – and that’s a great idea that started here in Kenya.”

Ushahidi[6] is an open-source software application that is used to link user-generated reports and map data. Referring to the fact that this technology created by the Kenyan youth is being used in Zimbabwe and Bangladesh, he mentioned the example of Bangladesh in his speech and then added that “ this is a great idea that started from Kenya “. See a transcript of Obama’s speech that day on the official White House website here[7].

(Screenshot from Whitehouse archive website)

The same statement can be found on the official website of Ushahidi[8].

(Screenshot from Ushahidi website)

Also found on the official YouTube channel of Bangladesh Awami League[9] is a video report published by Time TV on July 26, 2015 under the headline “US President Barack Obama Praises Bangladesh” and a video report[10] of Channel Twenty-Four on ICT Division’s YouTube channel. Basically, at that time, the news about Barack Obama’s statement was published in almost all the mainstream media in Bangladesh.

However, the investigation shows that all those reports have distorted the statement of Barack Obama.

For example, in the light of Obama’s remarks, the online edition of the daily Jugantar mentioned in the detailed part of the report[11] titled ” Obama Praises Development of Digital Bangladesh ” published on July 26, 2015.

Speaking at a joint conference on global entrepreneurship with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta in Nairobi, US President Barack Obama praised Bangladesh’s development in the IT sector. He said, “Bangladesh has come a long way in the field of information technology. Technology is being used in these countries in daily life and even in elections. Bangladesh has used the crowd sourcing platform Ushahidi to conduct the elections in a fair and orderly manner. I think it was a very good job. And a group of young entrepreneurs from Kenya are the inventors of Ushahidi. So, I will tell you again, you move forward with new ideas. Success will come. ‘ He said Bangladesh is working with international organizations to ensure the flow of information based on technology and to digitize the election system. The US president called on African countries to follow suit. Barack Obama said, Africa is currently the fastest growing region in the world economy. However, the IT sector in the region needs to be used for trade expansion. At present, starting from Zimbabwe, Bangladesh has come a long way in information technology. Technology is being used in these countries from everyday life to elections. Barack Obama also commented that Bangladesh is an example in the field of mobile banking.

(Screenshot from Jugantor website)

The online edition of Samay TV at the time published a report[12] titled ” Obama praises Bangladesh in Kenya”.

” US President Barack Obama visited his homeland Kenya and praised Bangladesh this time. He cited Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s Digital Bangladesh as an example for the people of Kenya. Speaking at a joint conference, he lauded the adoption of digital approach to ensure smooth conduct of the election process in Bangladesh. Obama said, “Bangladesh has used the crowd sourcing platform Ushahidi to conduct the elections in a fair and orderly manner. I think it was a very good job. 

(Screenshot from SOMOY TV website)

However, in his speech during Barack Obama’s visit to Kenya, he mentioned Bangladesh while praising Kenyan youth for using Kenyan-made software in Zimbabwe and Bangladesh.

A video report on the same subject on Time TV[13] and Channel 24[14] also distorted Obama’s statement.

Time TV’s video report[15] distorts Obama’s statement, and Channel 24’s video report translates Obama’s statement, excluding Zimbabwe and mentioning only Bangladesh. But in his speech, Obama mentioned[16] Bangladesh after Zimbabwe .

(Screenshot from Whitehouse website)

Analyzing some more reports published in the local media about Obama’s statement at that time, it is seen that there has been a distortion of Barack Obama’s statement. In the wake of Obama’s remarks, a report titled ” Obama set an example for Bangladesh ” said in a voice[17] published in the Voice of the Daily, ” Bangladesh is an example for mobile banking.” He made the remarks while addressing a summit of world entrepreneurs in Nairobi, Kenya. 

(Screenshot from Kalerkantho website)

In fact, in his speech, Barack Obama did not say anything about mobile banking in Bangladesh, but in his speech, he said that Kenyan mobile banking M Pesa is being used in different countries and through this he praised Kenya. Note that M Pesa[18] is not a Bangladesh based mobile banking, it is a mobile money transfer service in Kenya.

(Screenshot from Google Search)

In other words, in that speech of Barack Obama, the praise of mobile banking in Kenya was distorted in the local media and it was published in the demand for praise of mobile banking in Bangladesh.

On the other hand, the report published[19] in the international media BBC and Forbes[20] about the speech of Barack Obama given at that joint conference on global entrepreneurship did not show such distortion of Obama’s speech.

(Screenshot from BBC News website)


Disinformation/ Rumor


No statement has been found in any domestic or international media titled “Follow Bangladesh, Follow Sheikh Hasina” given by Barack Obama. Barack Obama last visited Kenya in 2016 after leaving the presidency. No comment on Bangladesh was found during his visit. In other words, the recent statement, on 25th January, of the Minister of Liberation War Affairs, Mozammel Haque, “Barack Obama has told the President of Kenya, his grandfather’s country – follow Sheikh Hasina, follow Bangladesh.” The statement is baseless and rumored to create a soft image of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

ABCDE Framework-Based Analysis

ActorIndependent Social media accounts and Minister of Liberation war Affairs Bangladesh is involved in spreading hoax.  
BehaviorMisleading false claims are made through social media or web articles to disseminate the propaganda.
ContentSocial Media post, Web articles.
DegreeAn evidence-less social media posts, surfacing old incident with misleading captions and false claims by minister are made to mislead the general public of Bangladesh.
EffectFalse claims and hoaxes are misleading the general public of Bangladesh.
AnalysisBangladeshi independent social media users and minister and news website are spreading rumors/ disinformation.

[1] https://archive.ph/Ngp3M

[2] https://www.rtvonline.com/bangladesh/163633/কেনিয়াকে-ওবামা-বলেছেন-ফলো-শেখ-হাসিনা-ফলো-বাংলাদেশ

[3] https://news.bd24report.com/post/কেনিয়াকে-ওবামা-বলেছেন-ফল/

[4] https://www.bbc.com/bengali/news/2015/07/150725_pg_obama_us_visit

[5] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZaOVo1NI6jM

[6] https://www.ushahidi.com/

[7] https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/the-press-office/2015/07/25/remarks-president-obama-global-entrepreneurship-summit

[8] https://www.ushahidi.com/impact-report/theory-of-change

[9] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=86Uyz145-qY

[10] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TJK_AW6OJZU

[11] https://archive.ph/wbYPY

[12] https://archive.ph/NVqSv

[13] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=86Uyz145-qY

[14] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TJK_AW6OJZU

[15] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=86Uyz145-qY

[16] https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/the-press-office/2015/07/25/remarks-president-obama-global-entrepreneurship-summit#:~:text=From%20Zimbabwe%20to,next%20Kenyan%20innovation.%20%C2%A0

[17] https://archive.ph/egIUm

[18] https://www.vodafone.com/about-vodafone/what-we-do/consumer-products-and-services/m-pesa

[19] https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-33677115

[20] https://www.forbes.com/sites/tobyshapshak/2015/07/29/why-kenyan-tech-entrepreneurs-deserve-all-obamas-praise/?sh=11a3286d7068

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