While it would be newsworthy for any country to appoint a 19-years as an ICT Minister, it would be even much newsier if that appointment was made by President Paula Kagame, whose passion about technology for development is well known worldwide.
Such was the case on Monday October 5 when news circulated, especially in West African countries, that President Kagame appointed a 19-year old, identified as Patrick Nkuriza as the “Minister of New Technologies and Development.
The story has been published in many publications especially in Senegal and Mali, to portray Rwanda and President Kagame as ‘progressive’ by defying the odds to appoint a youngster ‘with an IQ higher than that of Albert Einstein’ to a ministerial docket.
While it is true that both President Kagame and Rwanda are progressive, it would not require fake news and a photo of an innocent British teenager to drive the point home.
To begin with, President Kagame has not made any appointment to the ICT Ministry in recent days, at least since October 2018. The docket, which is known as the Ministry of ICT and Innovation has been occupied by Paul Ingabire, 37, since that time.
Rwanda does not have a “Ministry of New Technologies and Development”, it is rather the “Ministry of ICT and Innovation”.
The photo being used as that of Nkuriza, alongside President Kagame’s, is that of British teenage Ramarni Wilfred, British teenager Ramarni Wilfred, who is reported to have aced his IQ test, scoring higher than scientist Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, and physicist Stephen Hawking at age 11.
The story has been carried by publications in southern African, such as Maravi Post of Malawi while many West African Francophonie publications also fell for the fake news. Ramarni, who scored 162 on the IQ test, is considered a genius and the smartest boy in England.
A search for ‘Patrick Nkuriza’ returns images of Ramarni or Kakooza Nkuriza Charles (KNC) and Gasogi United players. If there was a ‘tech-savvy’ Patrick Nkuriza, at least he would be all over the internet.
A simple Google search would have shown that the young and vibrant Paula Ingabire remains put at the ICT and Innovation Ministry.
The source of the fake news until now is unclear but the story first appeared in West African publications.