Josephine Chinele
How ‘the cartels’ protect their grip on power. As a van with ‘Central Medical Stores’ written on its side in bold text arrives at the health centre in Nsanje, the southernmost district in Malawi, residents quickly surround it. They are surprised, because actual deliveries of health supplies to the area are a rarity. But disappointment quickly replaces excitement- it’s only condoms and gloves, and their long wait for essential medication continues. Nsanje is the second poorest district in the... How ‘the cartels’ protect their grip on power. As a van with ‘Central Medical Stores’ written on its side in bold text arrives at the health centre in...
Bettie Johnson-Mbayo
Award-winning Liberian journalist and ZAM network reporter Bettie Johnson-Mbayo and her husband Dr Moses Mbayo were recently assaulted by a group of men working for Marvin Cole, a Representative in the Liberian government. The attack was a punishment for parking their vehicle near his driveway. The couple and four friends had still been inside the car on the roadside at the time, on their way to pay their respects to a local family who had suffered a bereavement. But rather than take action against... Award-winning Liberian journalist and ZAM network reporter Bettie Johnson-Mbayo and her husband Dr Moses Mbayo were recently assaulted by a group of men...
Adejumo Kabir
The story of a government that fails to help cattle herders, an army that fails to fight bandits, a train that fails to safely get from A to B, and the bandits who benefit from this mess. Any passenger trying to travel between Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, and Kaduna, the northern region’s hub about 200 kilometres away, comes away with the impression that the loose bands of thugs locally known as ‘bandits’ are now more powerful than Nigeria’s government and army. For a long time, making the journey by... The story of a government that fails to help cattle herders, an army that fails to fight bandits, a train that fails to safely get from A to B, and the...
Kunle Adebajo and Murtala Abdullahi
While the resources herders and farmers compete over – fertile land and water – are rapidly dwindling, the populations of both groups are fast growing. The result? Distrust. Attacks. Counterattacks. Even more distrust. And then a seemingly unending cycle of brutality and bloodbath. A bare-chested old man lies in the emergency room of a government hospital in northeast Nigeria. An intravenous line sticks out from his right arm and an arrow from his left shoulder. A second arrow, with the tip now... While the resources herders and farmers compete over – fertile land and water – are rapidly dwindling, the populations of both groups are fast growing....
Estacio Valoi
Investigations into a polluting and land grabbing coal mine project in Mozambique, inter alia in ZAM have led to questions put to a Danish contract partner to the mine. The coal mine in Tete province, owned and operated by Brazilian VALE, has polluted land and water sources and also forcibly resettled over thirteen hundred families. Government security forces acting on the side of the company have violently suppressed local protests. Danish FLSmidth, a minerals processing equipment supplier for the... Investigations into a polluting and land grabbing coal mine project in Mozambique, inter alia in ZAM have led to questions put to a Danish contract...
Khadija Arife
A new videoseries shows in five short episodes made by activists just how the plunder of their own countries by local leaders, thanks to (often less-than-ethical) trade relations with foreign companies and global kleptocracies, translates to international assets. Episode 1: Angola. The struggle of a mother living in a Luandan slum is one that requires all her might, each day, just to keep her child alive. With insufficient clean water, sanitation or electricity, virus-borne diseases like cholera... A new videoseries shows in five short episodes made by activists just how the plunder of their own countries by local leaders, thanks to (often...
Estacio Valoi
A troubling pattern of land-grabbing, violence, pollution and death in Mozambique’s Tete province contradicts a Brazilian coal mine’s claims of ‘responsibly sourced’ coal. It also shows, once again, that Mozambique’s government authorities and security forces are squarely on the side of those responsible for the damage. Six years ago, the plunder of rubies in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province made – mainly thanks to ZAM network colleague Estacio Valoi’s work – headlines around the world. Most... A troubling pattern of land-grabbing, violence, pollution and death in Mozambique’s Tete province contradicts a Brazilian coal mine’s claims of...
ZAM Reporter
[ Texte en français ci-dessous. ] In the past five years ZAM has published a vast body of work done by 35+ eminent African investigative journalists. Transnational investigations like 'African Oligarchs', 'Public Disservice', The Associates', 'Last Resource' and 'The Kleptocracy Project' received wide acclaim and, more importantly, had some impact. It is clear that a number of ills in the fields of social injustice and misgovernance need further exploration as well as a push for more change.... [ Texte en français ci-dessous. ] In the past five years ZAM has published a vast body of work done by 35+ eminent African investigative journalists....
Chigozie Victor, Mansir Muhamed & Hauwa Shaffii Nuhu / Humangle
Terror continues to massacre northern Nigerian citizens, while the government persecutes ordinary villagers as ‘terrorists’. The Islamic fundamentalist Boko Haram militia feeds on poverty and social injustice in northern Nigeria. The movement commits grave war crimes such as mass murder and the kidnapping of children. However, in the fight against it, the Nigerian military has become just another force to fear. Two stories, reported in December 2021 by Nigerian Humangle, a platform co-founded and... Terror continues to massacre northern Nigerian citizens, while the government persecutes ordinary villagers as ‘terrorists’. The Islamic fundamentalist...
ZAM Reporter
Last week, on 15 January, award-winning Liberian journalist Bettie Johnson-Mbayo and her husband Dr Moses Mbayo, together with a friend, were ordered flogged by parliamentarian representative Marvin Cole because their vehicle was parked at the edge of his fence in a public alley. The couple and their friend, a school principal, had parked there to pay their respects to a nearby family where someone had recently died. The people’s representative saw the parked car near his fence as an obstruction of... Last week, on 15 January, award-winning Liberian journalist Bettie Johnson-Mbayo and her husband Dr Moses Mbayo, together with a friend, were ordered...
ZAM Reporter
An intense social struggle is under way between exploiters and exploited in many African countries. We should not be bystanders, nor should we think in terms of taking the side of “Africa versus the world.” We should engage with those who fight for justice in Africa, true self-determination and good governance.’ In the past year, ten muckrakers in eight African countries left no stone unturned in their investigations into cronyism, self-enrichment, and the undermining of service delivery. The... An intense social struggle is under way between exploiters and exploited in many African countries. We should not be bystanders, nor should we think in...
Evelyn Groenink
How to go deeper into state dysfunctionality and widen impact for change through pan-African focus and collaboration. The African Investigative Journalism Conference kicks off this week. Below is ZAM investigations editor Evelyn Groenink's input for the transnational collaborative journalism session on Friday 15 October. Stay tuned for outcomes of the session and selected outcomes of the conference to be reported here next week. I. Introduction The following is a list of investigative exposés... How to go deeper into state dysfunctionality and widen impact for change through pan-African focus and collaboration. The African Investigative...
Evelyn Groenink
Ten African investigative journalists who participated in ZAM’s Kleptocracy Project look back on months of risks, hardship and revelations. Bettie Johnson-Mbayo’s worse moment came when she had to print a Freedom of Information request at a print shop in Monrovia, her Liberian hometown. ‘I live in a society where people are interrelated. The print shop owner could be related to a subject in my request’. At the time, Johnson-Mbayo was already receiving threats. Journalists have been killed before in... Ten African investigative journalists who participated in ZAM’s Kleptocracy Project look back on months of risks, hardship and revelations. Bettie...
ZAM Reporter
Over one-and-a half-weeks ago ZAM reported how, after Taiwo Adebulu’s marriage corruption story , yet another investigation in our Kleptocracy Series had caused commotion in Nigeria. An outraged businessman by the name of Dr Aloy Chife called Theophilus Abbah’s ‘Border Control Syndicate’ story ‘lies’ in as far as it pertained to him. The slighted Doctor targeted Abbah’s editor at ZAM, Ruona Meyer, tweeting at her that he was a ‘US national’ and that ‘Ruona’ had 24 hours to delete her ‘lies’, or... Over one-and-a half-weeks ago ZAM reported how, after Taiwo Adebulu’s marriage corruption story , yet another investigation in our Kleptocracy Series had...
Fiacre Salabe
For years, hundreds of millions of CFA Francs have been sent to the municipal authorities in Nola, a town in the south of the Central African Republic (CAR). This money, from taxes and levies paid by timber companies operating in the densely forested area, is intended for public services like the construction of hospitals, schools, market buildings and new roads connecting the rural areas to the town. Between 2015 and 2020, the municipality received well over FCFA 726 million, US$ 1.3 million from... For years, hundreds of millions of CFA Francs have been sent to the municipal authorities in Nola, a town in the south of the Central African Republic...
Bettie Johnson-Mbayo
Liberia’s Anti Corruption Commission (LACC), in conjunction with a set of relatively recent anti-corruption laws, are supposed to get public officials to declare their assets. The effort is based on the tremendous inequality between an impoverished people and a wealthy political elite in the West African country of five million, as well as on the lack of transparent public spending by the same elite. As such, the anti-corruption structures and regulations are supported by international donors and... Liberia’s Anti Corruption Commission (LACC), in conjunction with a set of relatively recent anti-corruption laws, are supposed to get public officials to...
ZAM Reporter
On Friday 6 August, 2021, yet another story in the ZAM Kleptocracy series went viral in Nigeria. This time it concerned the Border Control Syndicate investigation , in which Theophilus Abbah exposed the plunder of the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) by politicians and top officials. The investigation was shared and liked by hundreds on social media, often accompanied by calls to action. The story, the seventh in a series of ten ZAM investigations on kleptocratic systems in Africa, appealed to... On Friday 6 August, 2021, yet another story in the ZAM Kleptocracy series went viral in Nigeria. This time it concerned the Border Control Syndicate...
Charles Mafa
‘I don’t know how much it is in Kwacha that we have to pay, but it is a lot, in thousands’, says Dickson Chishimba, leaning back on his chair and wiping his moustache after a sip of sweet beer, locally known as munkoyo. Thought it is lunchtime at his cooperative’s milling plant in Kalense, northern Zambia, the production of maize meal, a staple in the country where many do not have sufficient access to food, is ongoing today. But that may not continue to be the case for very long. The Zambia... ‘I don’t know how much it is in Kwacha that we have to pay, but it is a lot, in thousands’, says Dickson Chishimba, leaning back on his chair and wiping...
Theophilus Abbah
Entrenched interests, from top to bottom, have turned border control into a money-making machine for those at the head of the Nigerian Immigration Service. Partnerships with a number of private companies siphon off monies paid to them by the state as well as by visa and passport applicants. Court judgements, a parliamentary probe and even petitions by the agencies' own former senior officers have not been able to dent the scheme. With honest civil servants having left in frustration, and a former... Entrenched interests, from top to bottom, have turned border control into a money-making machine for those at the head of the Nigerian Immigration...
Andrew Mambondiyani
‘I have been told by a friend that this Nigerian guy resides somewhere along this street’. While strolling through Yeovil – a quiet leafy luxurious suburb in the eastern border city of Mutare, Zimbabwe – a young man approaches me inquiring about a Nigerian diamond buyer whom he believes lives in the area. The young man acts as if he is in a market place, looking for someone to buy his tomatoes. The Precious Stones Trade Act According to Zimbabwe’s Precious Stones Trade Act, unlawful dealing in or... ‘I have been told by a friend that this Nigerian guy resides somewhere along this street’. While strolling through Yeovil – a quiet leafy luxurious...
Evelyn Groenink
That many African state systems can be called ‘kleptocracies’, i.e. states whose leaders make themselves rich and powerful by stealing from the people, is a conclusion long arrived at by most African investigative journalists. Many of the colleagues we connect with in the ZAM network have dedicated their careers, and often their lives, to exposing and hopefully helping dismantle these systems. Together, in investigations such as African Oligarchs, Public Disservice, The Associates, Risking Death to... That many African state systems can be called ‘kleptocracies’, i.e. states whose leaders make themselves rich and powerful by stealing from the people,...