On Sunday, November 7, 2021, a Twitter user with the name Linda Ottori claimed that the African Union Commission’s chairperson called for the temporary relocation of the Commission and its staff from Ethiopia.
The tweet read thus: “Just in. internal communication for @_AfricanUnion, staff are told to immediately leave the capital with their valuables until further notice. #Evacuate while you can, as airspace might be closed in the coming days.”
As of the time of fact-checking this claim, the tweet has generated 26 comments from different handles, 203 quotes and retweets, and 283 likes.
N-VA extracted the claim, “African Union Commission is relocating its secretariat from Ethiopia” and went on to fact-check and verify the authenticity of the claim.
POTENTIAL IMPACT OF THE CLAIM
One of the pertinent reasons for fact-checking the authenticity of this claim is that The African Union (AU) is headquartered in Ethiopia where armed conflict has taken a more disastrous turn since November 2020.
Also, the tweet does not carry any link to the internal memo it quotes, hence, the fact-checker needs to confirm the claim with hard and indisputable evidence.
Lastly, considering the number of followers the user has, and the total number of users who might have retweeted and shared on each of their social media pages might cause panic to the entire African Union and its member states.
In response to the tweet made earlier on Sunday, November 7, 2021, Ebba Kalondo, the spokesperson of Mr. Mahamat, has debunked the claim that the AU has called for the relocation of its headquarters out of Addis Ababa as fake in a statement released on November 7, 2021.
It read thus: “7 November 2021, Addis Ababa: The African Union Commission has learned of the existence of a report circulating on social media purporting to be an official internal memo attributed to the Chairperson of the Commission, allegedly calling for a temporary relocation of the Commission and its staff from Ethiopia. The said report is fake news and has no basis in fact or form. Issued by: Ebba Kalondo, Spokesperson to the Chairperson.”
A copy of this was shared on her official Twitter verified account while the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, HE.Moussa Faki Mahamat also shared it on his personally verified Facebook page.
The claim that the African Union Commission is relocating its secretariat from Ethiopia amidst the armed conflict in the East African nation is FALSE.