Social media posts have been circulating the claim of Andry Rajoelina, Madagascar’s Prsident being offered large amounts of money by the World Health Organization (WHO) to secretly poison the drink.
The baseless theory suggests that the WHO wants to prove that African countries can’t be self-reliant and find their own cure for Covid-19.
It appears to have first appeared in a French-language post on a Facebook account that was operating from Angola and DR Congo on 23rd of April.
The claims were later published by two newspapers in Tanzania on 14th of May. One of these reports alleges President Rajoelina had admitted – during an interview with France24 – that he’d been offered money.
The story has been picked up and widely shared on social media across Africa.
Mr Rajoelina was indeed interviewed by France24 on 11th of May, but at no point does he say he’d been offered any money by the WHO.
The WHO has told the BBC the story is fake, and the Madagascar government has dismissed the allegations.
“Since the launch of the Covid-Organics remedy, many words have been falsely attributed to President Andry Rajoelina”, government spokesperson Lova Ranoramoro has said.
The herbal drink Covid-Organics continues to be produced in Madagascar and has been exported for use in other African countries, but there’s no evidence it works against the virus.
The WHO says it welcomes innovations based on traditional remedies but has also warned against untested treatments.