Evelyn Groenink

A new network of African investigative reporters

“We want to move away from a focus on corrupt events and corrupt individuals towards questioning the institutions of the African (postcolonial) state.”

On 1 November 2022, nineteen African investigative journalists of good name and excellent professional record, hailing from fourteen countries, came together to form NAIRE, the Network of African Investigative Reporters and Editors. Their aim, per their founding message, is to ‘establish in the investigative journalism profession in Africa a more systemic focus, moving away from (the focus on) corrupt events and corrupt individuals towards questioning the institutions of the African (postcolonial) state.’

Within this overall focus, NAIRE also aims to increase its focus on, and solidarity with, the victims of bad governance and bad public service by linking with communities, civil society and academia. While investigating political elites and kleptocracies in African countries, it will also maintain an interrogative approach towards ‘international players, either as independent wrongdoers or supporters of a bad status quo in Africa (for example in the case of protests against IMF support for bad leaders)’.

With regard to the entirety of its combined efforts, NAIRE’s investigations will ‘unearth parallels in (post-colonial) status quo, players, mechanisms and processes in different African countries’ and try to discover, and interrogate, forces and initiatives for change. NAIRE members will assist one another with data and build databases, and also link with academia so that ‘our findings don't disappear after we publish’ and build a ‘body of work that can be used by those who want to follow up. ’The first investigation initiated by NAIRE members was Cry Freedom. Currently in the process are investigations into drivers of migration away from Africa and a multi-country exploration of institutions which, and actors who, succeed in building functional parts of society. This investigation will unearth these ‘islands of excellence’, and explore how these, while the target of many a corrupt syndicate, and challenged by surrounding kleptocracy, dilapidation and scarcity, inspire hope for change.

The founding message explains furthermore that NAIRE coordinates its efforts through ZAM because ‘the function of a platform that is explicitly not on the African continent, offers, besides equalised continental outreach and editorial support, also freedom to publish and a way to get a comment from, and raising the accountability of, international players who impact on the African continent.’

Founder members: Musikilu Mojeed, Nigeria, Anas Aremeyaw Anas, Ghana, John-Allan Namu, Kenya, Theophilus Abbah, Nigeria.

Members: Charles Mafa, Zambia, Josephine Chinele, Malawi, Adejumo Kabir, Nigeria, Estacio Valoi, Mozambique, Derick Matsengarwodzi, Zimbabwe, Chief Bisong Etahoben, Cameroon, Bettie Johnson Mbayo, Liberia, Taiwo Adebulu, Nigeria, Stephen Kafeero, Uganda, David Dembele, Mali, Catherine Muema, Kenya, Muno Gedi, Somalia @munogedi, Joy Kirigia, Kenya, Zack Ohemeng Tawiah, Ghana.

Consulting members: Benon Oluka, Uganda, Maxime Domegni, Togo, Evelyn Groenink, South Africa/Netherlands.