Claim: A Facebook post states how boda boda riders allegedly transport dead bodies in DR. Congo.
Verdict: The photos making the rounds on the internet were originally posted in 2018. Nonetheless, there is insufficient evidence to support the assertions that this practice continues in The Democratic Republic of the Congo or any other African country.
“This is how ‘boda boda’ riders in some parts of rural areas of DR Congo transport corpse to and from the morgue,” her caption partly reads.
Motorcycles are commonly known as “boda boda” in East Africa. In addition to receiving 8.4k likes and being shared 787 times, this assertion has generated more than 2,500 controversial remarks.
Although numerous users confirmed witnessing this phenomenon in several locations, including various states in Nigeria, a segment of individuals voiced scepticism, casting doubt on the authenticity of the widely circulated images in the comment section.
For instance, Victory Emmanuel inquired about the veracity of this by tagging another user and posing the question, “Bro please is this true?”
Likewise, Nwankwo Chijioke categorically labelled the post as false information, remarking, “Fake news. Lai Mohammed, brother.”
Furthermore, Nolwazi Dlamini, another user, countered, saying, “Lies… There’s no such.” Hence, the need for this fact check.
DUBAWA conducted a Google reverse image search on the circulating pictures. This took our research to the earliest version of the same pictures and caption as shared in 2018 by various Facebook users and bloggers like Tori.ng, Kemi Filani News, and Yabaleft.
We also discovered that this same claim had, at different times, gone viral. For example, on December 23, 2021, Hope of Africa’s Facebook page posted a similar claim, gathering over 2,400 likes and one thousand shares. More recently, since July 2023, people have begun to recirculate the same.
Most blogs that have published this previously named “PK Kasirim,” a Facebook user, as their source. However, efforts to get the original claim from this user’s handle were futile as it seemed to have been deleted.
Furthermore, right from its first appearance in 2018 till its earliest in 2023, the same collaged photos continued to reappear. No new photo illustrates this act as a perpetual practice among the Congolese.
Is this practice a norm among East Africans?
There have been theories suggesting that the relatives of the deceased resort to using motorcycles to transport the deceased due to financial constraints.
The 2014 release featured an interview with Ibin Ssenkumbi, the Kampala Metropolitan Police Spokesperson, who characterised the conveyance of dead bodies on motorcycles as unlawful and a threat to human well-being.
Nevertheless, acknowledging that he had not personally observed such occurrences, he mentioned that “transporting bodies on motorcycles as living persons may not be convenient to other road users.”
Additionally, within the same report, the Monitor interviewed riders engaged in comparable activities in Kampala. These riders openly confessed and provided explanations for the execution of this practice.
Similarly, in 2017, Standard Media, a news platform, made a publication announcing a ban placed on the boda-boda riders from carrying dead bodies in Western Kenya.
The regional traffic police boss, Geoffrey Njogu, condemned this act among the citizens.
“Ferrying bodies on motorcycles inconvenience other road users. Besides scaring people, carrying bodies on a motorcycle used by other commuters is also unhealthy. We have a special vehicle known as a hearse meant for that job,” Standard Media quoted.
While it can be argued that transporting corpses on motorcycles has occurred in certain African nations, there is insufficient evidence to confirm that this practice continues. Conclusively, our findings revealed that the pictures making the rounds on the internet are not recent.