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Globetrotting fake news aimed to parlay Donald Trump’s name into advertising clicks recently. A website called USA Radio crafted some imaginary thoughts from the incoming American president about the departing president of Ghana.
Under the headline "Donald Trump warns outgoing Ghana President," the faux article said, "Talking to the New York Times, Trump acknowledged the efforts of John Mahama in defending Africa’s democracy by peacefully conceding defeat in the country’s elections."
It then continued with this purported quote:
"As an outgoing president, you don’t have to implement last-minute policies that will make governance tough for the incoming president. You just have to spend the rest of the days on packing. Reverse those appointments and salary increments immediately."
Facebook users flagged this for vetting as part of the social media platform’s efforts to stymie fake news.
Needless to say, there is no New York Times article quoting Trump as saying this, nor did a search of the Nexis news database uncover any time when Trump spoke about Ghana. A search of the ICANN Whois registry failed to identify the website's operator.
Since the December elections in Ghana drew modest press coverage in the United States, a bit of background is in order.
Ghana emerged from a military-controlled government in 1992 and since that time has established itself as a stable democracy. Residents of the West African nation went to the polls in early December 2016. Challenger Nana Akufo-Addo defeated the incumbent President Mahama by a million votes. Akufo-Addo took office Jan. 7, 2017, making this the third peaceful handoff from one ruling party to another.
Mahama’s administration was marred by charges of corruption, and frequent breakdowns of the electric grid that left homes and businesses in darkness. On top of that, Afrobarometer, an internationally backed public opinion project, found that more Ghanaians trusted Akufo-Addo's party to control inflation and boost jobs.
The invented quote from Trump referred to Mahama’s post-election appointments for several key anti-corruption jobs in the government. The slots had been vacant for over a year and the move sparked pushback from some newly elected lawmakers.
We reached out to the Trump transition team and did not hear back.
A fake news website said that Trump had warned the departing president of Ghana to avoid making last-minute job appointments. The article cited a New York Times interview that does not exist.
We rate this claim Pants on Fire.
USA Radio, Donald Trump warns outgoing Ghana President, Jan. 4, 2017
AllAfrica.com, Ghana: Election 2016 and Ghana's March Towards a Liberal Democratic Tradition, Jan. 1, 2017
Voice of America, Ghana's NDC Ponders Reasons for Election Loss, Jan. 5, 2017
Washington Post, What will Ghanaians expect from their new president?, Jan. 6, 2017
News24, Africa's disputed elections, Sept. 2, 2016
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