Evelyn Groenink
How the Kagame PR machine turned on Forbidden Stories and ZAM “They are going to say that we deny the genocide,” the colleague at Forbidden Stories – the project of fifty journalists and seventeen media that investigated work, life, and death of our Rwandan colleague John Williams Ntwali – had already warned us. He was right: in the past two weeks, they did just that. We are Rwandan genocide deniers , all fifty of us – or at least funded, or deceived by, genocide deniers. Even though all we did was... How the Kagame PR machine turned on Forbidden Stories and ZAM “They are going to say that we deny the genocide,” the colleague at Forbidden Stories – the...
Marnix de Bruyne
In the oil-polluted Niger Delta, Ogoniland had to be the exception: here everything would be cleaned up properly. Yet things are going wrong even there, internal documents show. “It was the biggest shock I have ever experienced. ‘Et tu, Brute’, I could have said to the minister. We even had dinner together a few days earlier.” Many months after it happened, Ferdinand Giadom was still protesting the unceremonial termination of his position as head of the clean-up operation in Ogoniland, known under... In the oil-polluted Niger Delta, Ogoniland had to be the exception: here everything would be cleaned up properly. Yet things are going wrong even there,...
Forbidden stories/ZAM
Journalists threatened and forced into exile, opponents murdered by clandestine commandos, espionage. Coordinated by Forbidden Stories, the RWANDA Classified project began with the mysterious death in January 2023 of journalist John Williams Ntwali. Continuing his work, 50 journalists from 11 countries reveal a system of transnational repression deployed by Paul Kagame’s regime, far from the model country and safe haven for refugees portrayed in Western media. How a dictatorship hides its terror... Journalists threatened and forced into exile, opponents murdered by clandestine commandos, espionage. Coordinated by Forbidden Stories, the RWANDA...
Evelyn Groenink
Rwanda has been widely likened to a police state, still the West continues to support it Based on current and previous revelations, one might think that the European Union, the United Kingdom, and the West in general would regard Rwanda under Paul Kagame’s regime as akin to North Korea: a place to be rather concerned about. Not so. The EU recently closed a mineral tracking deal with the central African police state, meant to stem the flow of conflict minerals, and ensure peaceful and well-governed... Rwanda has been widely likened to a police state, still the West continues to support it Based on current and previous revelations, one might think that...
ZAM/Forbidden Stories
“Every time our leaders speak of friendship, we get scared again.” Uganda had long been a safe space for Rwanda’s Patriotic Front (RPF). Before 1994, President Yoweri Museveni’s National Resistance Movement (NRM) had helped the exiled RPF in its struggle against the erstwhile Hutu regime in Rwanda; he had employed its leaders in his own military and state machinery. Many of the politicians and soldiers of the two movements were related and had families on both sides of the border. When the RPF’s... “Every time our leaders speak of friendship, we get scared again.” Uganda had long been a safe space for Rwanda’s Patriotic Front (RPF). Before 1994,...
Brezh Malaba/Center for Collaborative Investigative Journalism (CCIJ)
Government turns a “blind eye” to religious sect’s child marriages Tambudzai Moyo was just 16 when she was married to a 43-year-old member of the Johanne Marange Apostolic Church in Nyamadzawo village in eastern Zimbabwe. He already had two other wives, making Moyo, whose name has been changed to protect her identity, wife number three. The Apostolic sect represents the largest religious group in the country and has some of the highest rates of child marriage among girls of any religious sect –... Government turns a “blind eye” to religious sect’s child marriages Tambudzai Moyo was just 16 when she was married to a 43-year-old member of the Johanne...
By Josephine Chinele/Platform for Investigative Journalism (PIJ) Malawi
Malawi could end the horror of unsafe abortion, but religion and parliament stand in the way. Restrictive laws are not deterring women and girls from seeking abortions. Instead, they are pushing them towards clandestine procedures, which often cause complications and even death. Meanwhile, emergency healthcare for tens of thousands of survivors also drains public resources. It is easy to see why Malawi’s Ministry of Health would like to see safe abortion provided where necessary. But religious... Malawi could end the horror of unsafe abortion, but religion and parliament stand in the way. Restrictive laws are not deterring women and girls from...
Uchenna Igwe in Nigeria, James Onono Ojok in Uganda and ZAM
Western “green” funds used for “merrymaking with ministers” while forests are cut down Amid hundreds of millions paid by donors to the Ugandan government for forest-saving projects, a powerful logging syndicate linked to the same government continues the desertification. In Nigeria, also despite much “green” funding, the government itself clears out the trees. Forest communities are impoverished in the process. Selling out the trees and the poor Forests in Nigeria and Uganda disappeared faster... Western “green” funds used for “merrymaking with ministers” while forests are cut down Amid hundreds of millions paid by donors to the Ugandan government...
Ghislaine Deudjui, Michèle Ebongue, Marie Louise Mamgue, Data Cameroon & ZAM
72 ministers, mayors, members of parliament and businessmen from Cameroon, Gabon, Chad, Congo and the Central African Republic, a devastatingly poor central region on the African continent, owned high-end properties in posh neighbourhoods in Dubai, United Arab Emirates in the 2019-2020 period. These findings are the result of an eight-month long search, ending in February 2023, of the database of the Center for Advanced Defense Studies (C4ADS), a US-based organisation that “combats illicit networks... 72 ministers, mayors, members of parliament and businessmen from Cameroon, Gabon, Chad, Congo and the Central African Republic, a devastatingly poor...
By Josephine Chinele and Zuza Nazaruk
How the ‘tobacco system’ keeps farmers in poverty During a check on multinationals who pay tax in various locations, we come across a Malawian tobacco company, Alliance One Tobacco Malawi (AOTM). It belongs to an American multinational corporate chain and boasts of being one of the chain’s top revenue providers . The company makes its profits from raw tobacco exported from the small African country, whose population of 20 million is not much bigger than that of the Netherlands. Yet, it pays... How the ‘tobacco system’ keeps farmers in poverty During a check on multinationals who pay tax in various locations, we come across a Malawian tobacco...
ZAM Reporter
Embark on an eye-opening journey with four fearless African investigative journalists as they unravel the truth behind the uprising against kleptocratic regimes. In 2023, Emmanuel Mutaizibwa, Ngina Kirori, Theophilus Abbah, and Elizabeth BanyiTabi visited the Netherlands to shed light on the tumultuous protest movements sweeping across Africa. Their groundbreaking 'Cry Freedom' investigation unveiled gripping accounts of citizens rallying for change in the face of oppression. You can now join their... Embark on an eye-opening journey with four fearless African investigative journalists as they unravel the truth behind the uprising against kleptocratic...
Evelyn Groenink
How an investigative editor continues his work while on the run Gregory Gondwe, founder and editor of Malawi’s Platform for Investigative Journalism, and currently on the run from the Malawian military, still cannot figure out how his country’s president, once-vocal opposition and anti-corruption activist Lazarus Chakwera, is now seemingly unable or unwilling to reign in the bloodhounds. “You ask yourself: who is this person? Is this the same person that I met when he was on the campaign trail and... How an investigative editor continues his work while on the run Gregory Gondwe, founder and editor of Malawi’s Platform for Investigative Journalism, and...
ZAM Reporter
On 31 January, the same day that the Network of African Investigative Reporters and Editors called out Africa’s oppressive kleptocrat regimes , Malawian investigative editor Gregory Gondwe received note that the Military Police in that country were looking for him. The reason why the security forces had set out to take him in ‘for a chat’ at military barracks, he heard, was an article he had published two days before, on January 29th. The article had published documents showing that the military... On 31 January, the same day that the Network of African Investigative Reporters and Editors called out Africa’s oppressive kleptocrat regimes , Malawian...
ZAM Reporter
African investigative journalists call out misrule on continent The Network of African Investigative Reporters and Editors, NAIRE, has issued a New Year’s statement that is simultaneously a call to action by democratic forces, both on the African continent and globally, to support its efforts to expose regimes consisting of “kleptocrats who sell out resources, promote incompetence and nepotism, and oppress civil society.” Noting that these same regimes harass, imprison, and even kill credible... African investigative journalists call out misrule on continent The Network of African Investigative Reporters and Editors, NAIRE, has issued a New...
Taiwo Adebulu, Josephine Chinele, Ngina Kirori, Zack Ohemeng Tawiah and Stephen Kafeero
How dedicated officials help the public from within corrupted systems In many countries in Africa, public services are inadequate or dysfunctional. Yet some public servants manage to provide effective healthcare, public transport, emergency assistance, or necessary paperwork, despite corrupt or mismanaged systems. But why are these practices ignored, or sometimes even deliberately side-lined, rather than used as examples for emulation, by the authorities? Why do good civil servants so often seem to... How dedicated officials help the public from within corrupted systems In many countries in Africa, public services are inadequate or dysfunctional. Yet...
Josephine Chinele
Zomba Mental Hospital (ZMH), 70 kilometres north of Malawi’s business capital Blantyre, used to be a place where mental health patients were brought to die. While mental conditions led to suicide, violent actions, trauma from beatings, and infected wounds caused by having been tied up by desperate relatives, untreated HIV, malaria, diarrhoea, and TB also played their part. Up to 2006, out of a total average patient population of 400, the death toll averaged 60 per year. In 2021, the death toll for... Zomba Mental Hospital (ZMH), 70 kilometres north of Malawi’s business capital Blantyre, used to be a place where mental health patients were brought to...
Taiwo Adebulu
In front of a teeming crowd at the family medicine department of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital in Nigeria, a young nurse bravely tries to sort out piles of patient files for the day. She does not get very far: besides the myriad patients in line to get tags for medical attention, doctors are also on strike, meaning that even those with tags may have to go home unattended. The enormity of the workload is apparent in the family medicine records office, where thousands of files are... In front of a teeming crowd at the family medicine department of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital in Nigeria, a young nurse bravely tries to...
Zack Ohemeng Tawiah
Ghanaian journalist Enimil Ashon had it on good authority, he wrote in the Daily Graphic on 25 November 2022, that the President of his country had thought that a new candidate applying to head the then moribund State Transport Corporation (STC) in 2017 “needed a mental examination.” The subsequent presidential decision to give the job to that very candidate, a former MP called Nana Akomea, was therefore probably informed by the fact that no one else wanted it. State appointments in Ghana are often... Ghanaian journalist Enimil Ashon had it on good authority, he wrote in the Daily Graphic on 25 November 2022, that the President of his country had...
Stephen Kafeero
In June 2020, in a rare move ahead of upcoming, and contested, elections in 2021, President Museveni fired the then-Executive Director of the National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA), Judy Obitre-Gama. Obitre-Gama had been under investigation for corruption and incompetence since 2018, over failing to account for the Uganda Shilling equivalent of over US$700,000. Formally budgeted to pay for a project to register children in schools, and for laptops and batteries, the money had... In June 2020, in a rare move ahead of upcoming, and contested, elections in 2021, President Museveni fired the then-Executive Director of the National...
Ngina Kirori
The story of the fire brigade in Kenya’s eastern Tharaka Nithi county shows that it is perfectly possible to maintain a successful public service – and not only put out fires but also inspire hope in citizens – in a rural region classified by the World Bank as “very poor.” It also shows that competency, combined with political will, are enough to achieve success. The question that remains, however, is why other, equally poor counties in Kenya fail so dismally to do the same. And why is the governor... The story of the fire brigade in Kenya’s eastern Tharaka Nithi county shows that it is perfectly possible to maintain a successful public service – and...
Elizabeth BanyiTabi (Cameroon), Theophilus Abbah (Nigeria), Emmanuel Mutaizibwa (Uganda), Ngina Kirori (Kenya) and Brezh Malaba (Zimbabwe)
A new ZAM transnational investigation into migration from five African countries shows that, in many cases, the urge to leave is so desperate that migrants consciously risk extortion by smugglers, abuse, exploitative labour, and even death. In the vast majority of cases, awareness campaigns about these risks, financed by the EU and the UK, do not convince people to stay at home. A majority of interviewees in Uganda, Kenya, Cameroon, Zimbabwe, and Nigeria told ZAM team members that they would leave... A new ZAM transnational investigation into migration from five African countries shows that, in many cases, the urge to leave is so desperate that...