Obama’s Half-Brother Tweets Image of Debunked Kenya Birth Certificate

Malik Obama reposted a scan of a long-debunked forged document supposedly proving that Barack Obama was born in Mombasa, Kenya.

  • Published 10 March 2017

Malik Obama, the half-brother of former U.S. President Barack Obama and a fervent supporter of President Donald Trump, re-ignited a controversy that dogged America’s first African-American president throughout his term of office by tweeting an image on 9 March 2017 of a document allegedly proving that Barack wasn’t born in Hawaii, as he claimed:

The image, which first surfaced in an eBay auction 2009 and was immediately debunked as a forgery, is of a birth certificate supposedly issued by the British Protectorate of Kenya in 1961. It’s one of several fake documents circulated by proponents of “birtherism,” a nexus of conspiracy theories holding that Obama was never qualified to hold the office because he could not (supposedly) establish natural-born citizenship.

The document says Barack Hussein Obama II was born in Mombasa, a city on the east coast of Kenya. However, Obama’s paternal family lived (and still lives) hundreds of miles to the west in the Nyanza Province, along Lake Victoria. Mombasa, originally part of Zanzibar, wasn’t incorporated into Kenya until the latter became an independent nation in 1963, two years after Obama was born. Additionally, historians specializing in African history have pointed out several other anachronisms that betray the certificate as a hoax.

The timing of Malik Obama’s reposting of the forgery suggests that it’s a propaganda effort aimed at discrediting his half-brother, who has been rumored in the far-right media to be spearheading opposition to President Trump’s agenda. In a previous tweet, Malik has declared himself the president’s “Thot Patrol General”:

Malik responded to dismissive media reports questioning the authenticity of the birth certificate in a Trumpian fashion by slamming journalists:

For his part, President Trump was birtherism’s foremost proponent during the 2016 presidential campaign but broke decisively with his co-conspiracy theorists in September of that year when he stipulated that “President Barack Obama was born in the United States, period. Now we all want to get back to making America strong and great again.”

Since 1994
A Word to Our Loyal Readers

Support Snopes and make a difference for readers everywhere.

  • David Mikkelson
  • Doreen Marchionni
  • David Emery
  • Bond Huberman
  • Jordan Liles
  • Alex Kasprak
  • Dan Evon
  • Dan MacGuill
  • Bethania Palma
  • Liz Donaldson
  • Vinny Green
  • Ryan Miller
  • Chris Reilly
  • Chad Ort
  • Elyssa Young

Most Snopes assignments begin when readers ask us, “Is this true?” Those tips launch our fact-checkers on sprints across a vast range of political, scientific, legal, historical, and visual information. We investigate as thoroughly and quickly as possible and relay what we learn. Then another question arrives, and the race starts again.

We do this work every day at no cost to you, but it is far from free to produce, and we cannot afford to slow down. To ensure Snopes endures — and grows to serve more readers — we need a different kind of tip: We need your financial support.

Support Snopes so we continue to pursue the facts — for you and anyone searching for answers.

Team Snopes