Evelyn Groenink
On the surface it seems darkly consistent for Europe and the UK to respond to ever louder calls for slavery apologies with intensifying efforts to create a Fortress Europe laager and a ‘small-boat-free’ channel. The new ‘Stop the Boats’ law and the Rwanda plans in the UK, together with the EU’s barbed wire fences and Frontex patrols around Africa’s northern and western coastlines, send the very coherent message that Africans belong in Africa. Slavery was wrong, right? So these slave ships should... On the surface it seems darkly consistent for Europe and the UK to respond to ever louder calls for slavery apologies with intensifying efforts to create...
Chris Kapfumvuti* (Zimbabwe), Charles Mafa and Linda Soko (Zambia), and Estacio Valoi (Mozambique)
Executive summary Do-it-yourself mining in rural areas could trigger grassroots development, say policymakers, community leaders and NGOs. Sadly, those in power often continue to enable crude exploitation of the villages with wealth beneath their feet. Shady officials, ruling party members, at least one “impersonator”, a war veteran and, in Zimbabwe, a government-linked mafia, obtain mining rights in communities where mineral wealth is found, then partner with foreign companies to get rich... Executive summary Do-it-yourself mining in rural areas could trigger grassroots development, say policymakers, community leaders and NGOs. Sadly, those...
Estacio Valoi
In spite of government policies supposed to assist community-based mining, villagers who had hoped to explore “the wealth beneath their feet” were “cheated” out of their concession again. The third and final instalment of our investigative series on small-scale mining in southern Africa looks at how a ruling party says one thing, yet does another, in Cabo Delgado, Mozambique. According to Mozambique’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Mining, community-based artisanal mining “is an activity that... In spite of government policies supposed to assist community-based mining, villagers who had hoped to explore “the wealth beneath their feet” were...
Charles Mafa and Linda Soko
In Zambia, top government officials covet mining rights and enter partnerships with foreign companies, to the detriment of artisanal mineworkers: the second instalment in a three-part investigative series on mining in southern Africa. Deep within Zambia’s artisanal mining sector lies a captivating web of intrigue, where high-ranking Ministry of Mines and Minerals Development officials, together with foreign entities, capture coveted mining rights. This clandestine alliance, together with the... In Zambia, top government officials covet mining rights and enter partnerships with foreign companies, to the detriment of artisanal mineworkers: the...
Chris Kapfumvuti*
Over a hundred of Zimbabwe’s artisanal miners, who produce close to seventy percent of that country’s abundant gold wealth, died last year, reveals the first of a three-part investigative series on mining in southern Africa. A deep scar runs down Chenje Musimwa’s left shin: an injury the 33-year-old artisanal gold miner suffered while working in a deep tunnel in eastern Zimbabwe's gold rich Penhalonga area. It is only one of the scars he has all over his body; most are injuries from sharp and... Over a hundred of Zimbabwe’s artisanal miners, who produce close to seventy percent of that country’s abundant gold wealth, died last year, reveals the...
Josephine Chinele
In a court case involving damage claims paid out to victims of sexual abuse on Malawi’s tea plantations, well-known Malawian NGO figure Godfrey Mfiti has been acquitted of fraud charges. The Blantyre Magistrate’s court cleared Mfiti of swindling compensation money from victims on grounds that the state failed to prove his wrongdoing beyond reasonable doubt. In an earlier article , ZAM detailed how Jacqueline Makiyi, one of 36 women who received a damage pay-out from their former employer, Eastern... In a court case involving damage claims paid out to victims of sexual abuse on Malawi’s tea plantations, well-known Malawian NGO figure Godfrey Mfiti has...
Mukudzei Madenyika
On the morning of 25 May 2005, as winter was fast approaching, 41-year-old Edson Madya, his wife Sharon, and their baby boy, woke up in their rented backyard room in Chitungwiza, 25km south of Harare, to people yelling, “Riot yauya, riot yauya!” meaning that the riot police was around. His fellow tenants were swiftly gathering their property, ferrying it outside. “Every illegal structure must be demolished without fail,” a municipal hailer echoed. Operation Murambatsvina (“remove the dirt”)... On the morning of 25 May 2005, as winter was fast approaching, 41-year-old Edson Madya, his wife Sharon, and their baby boy, woke up in their rented...
Manasseh Azure Awuni
Editor’s note: This is an abridged excerpt from the book “Investigative Journalism in Africa: A Practical Manual,” written by the award-winning Ghanaian investigative journalist, Manasseh Azure Awuni. It is republished with permission and has been edited for style. In 2007, two reporters of The Washington Post, Dana Priest and Anne Hull, investigated and comprehensively reported how bureaucracy and administrative lapses at the Walter Reed Army Medical Centre resulted in the poor treatment of... Editor’s note: This is an abridged excerpt from the book “Investigative Journalism in Africa: A Practical Manual,” written by the award-winning Ghanaian...
Omolabake Fasogbon, Nigeria, and Raquel Muigai, Kenya
Building collapses, and the tragedy of groups of survivors digging through rubble and shoving broken concrete beams to unearth relatives, friends and neighbours, have long been a familiar sight in places like Nairobi, Lagos, Dakar, and Accra. There have been hundreds of such disasters that weren’t prompted by an earthquake or flood, but were simply due to sloppy construction. Data is sparse, but the number of victims, from deaths to severe injuries to people who lost homes and livelihoods, likely... Building collapses, and the tragedy of groups of survivors digging through rubble and shoving broken concrete beams to unearth relatives, friends and...
Jon Allsop
The Columbia Journalism Review recently published a report on the ZAM and NAIRE 'Arizona Project' that investigated the murder of journalist Martinez Zogo in Cameroon. With the CJR's permission, we are republishing it below: In January, Martinez Zogo, the director of the Cameroonian radio station Amplitude FM, was found dead near Yaoundé, the capital . His body reportedly showed signs of torture: his foot was broken, several of his fingers had been cut off, and his tongue was deformed. A few weeks... The Columbia Journalism Review recently published a report on the ZAM and NAIRE 'Arizona Project' that investigated the murder of journalist Martinez...
Arizona Project Team
How the killing of a Cameroonian journalist silenced investigations into plunder by an internationally-connected elite, eliminated a rival for the succession of an ageing president, and sidelined a tax director. A dossier full of bank slips, payment instructions, and tables of sums amounting to tens of millions of dollars, printed by government printers and handed to a journalist, became the downfall of an upstart candidate who had been positioned as a possible successor to ageing autocrat... How the killing of a Cameroonian journalist silenced investigations into plunder by an internationally-connected elite, eliminated a rival for the...
Arizona Project Team
How tax cases involving hundreds of millions in payments from state coffers to questionable entities were snuffed out. A list of 67 suspicious transactions scheduled for investigation by Cameroon’s tax agency shows a total equivalent to US$ 656 million in undeclared payments from state coffers to questionable business entities and individuals. The list, obtained by the Arizona Project team in Cameroon (see box at end of article), covers the period 2017 to 2021 and contains the names of... How tax cases involving hundreds of millions in payments from state coffers to questionable entities were snuffed out. A list of 67 suspicious...
Arizona Project Team
Before 1995, very few Cameroonians outside his immediate family and friends knew much about Jean-Pierre Amougou Belinga. A man of simple beginnings, born in 1965 to farmers in Cameroon’s central region, Belinga moved to the capital Yaoundé as a young adult and found a job at a newspaper, where he was mentored by its editor, Gilbert Baongla. Baongla was famous for calling himself an (extramarital) son of President Paul Biya – remarkably, without ever being officially contradicted. It's not known if... Before 1995, very few Cameroonians outside his immediate family and friends knew much about Jean-Pierre Amougou Belinga. A man of simple beginnings, born...
Evelyn Groenink
“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... “We want to move away from a focus on corrupt events and corrupt individuals towards questioning the institutions of the African (postcolonial) state.”...
ZAM Reporter
‘Arizona Project’ by NAIRE and ZAM: Investigating a journalist’s death in Cameroon. What was the story that killed Martinez Zogo, whose mutilated body was found on 22 January in a suburb of the capital of Cameroon? A team of African journalists is set to find out. A team of West-African-based investigative journalists is travelling to Cameroon to pick up the threads of an investigation done by journalist Martinez Zogo, whose mutilated body was found in the country’s capital Yaoundé on 22 January... ‘Arizona Project’ by NAIRE and ZAM: Investigating a journalist’s death in Cameroon. What was the story that killed Martinez Zogo, whose mutilated body...
ZAM Reporter
On a misty spring morning in Paris, 29 March 1988, Dulcie September had just visited the post office to collect mail for her office in France, where she served as a Chief Representative of the African National Congress. As she pressed the lift button to the fourth floor, an assassin was lurking in the shadows. The news of the murder of Dulcie September sent shock waves across the world, the ANC and the international solidarity movements with the struggle against apartheid. In France, thousands of... On a misty spring morning in Paris, 29 March 1988, Dulcie September had just visited the post office to collect mail for her office in France, where she...
Josephine Chinele
Confidential damage payments mean new problems for abused farm workers. Emily Gondwe was walking home from another day of picking tea on the plantation where she worked in Thyolo, Malawi when some friends approached her. There was a meeting, they told her, at the local Chief’s house, for women who had faced abuse on the tea estate. Gondwe, like many in Malawi and indeed in East Africa , knew all about abuse on the tea estates. Besides the long working hours in the hot sun, little pay, and the... Confidential damage payments mean new problems for abused farm workers. Emily Gondwe was walking home from another day of picking tea on the plantation...
Data Report: Trends of repression and resistance
1. General Data on human rights violations collected over the past five years appears to show a marked and steady increase in the use of state and state-sponsored violence against, and arbitrary arrest and detentions of, political opponents and critics in Cameroon and Zimbabwe, while in Uganda, Kenya and Nigeria state violence has tended to peak during elections, often securing wins and new terms for the orchestrators, before diminishing again afterwards. Repressive violence in Nigeria has been... 1. General Data on human rights violations collected over the past five years appears to show a marked and steady increase in the use of state and...
Evelyn Groenink
Repression and resistance: how a new generation challenges African autocrats and their international allies A transnational investigation by Ngina Kirori, Emmanuel Mutaizibwa, Chief Bisong Etahoben, Elizabeth BanyiTabi, Theophilus Abbah and Brezh Malaba ‘It’s your man who did this!’ shouts a woman at a village meeting in Nakuru County, Kenya. She is filmed by Kenyan journalists as she points at another woman, a supporter of a powerful local politician known for associating with gangsters. In the... Repression and resistance: how a new generation challenges African autocrats and their international allies A transnational investigation by Ngina...
Evelyn Groenink
'There comes a point where we need to stop just pulling people out of the river and go upstream to see who is pushing them in.' (Ascribed to the late Archbishop Desmond Tutu) Executive summary Many young people are risking everything to leave home in search of greener pastures within and outside Africa. They are pulled by promises of jobs and wealth, but they are also pushed: by autocratic leaders who treat state coffers as piggy banks and political opponents as criminals. Aware, urbanised,... 'There comes a point where we need to stop just pulling people out of the river and go upstream to see who is pushing them in.' (Ascribed to the late...
Theophilus Abbah
At 2 AM on March 28th 2022 Olanrewaju Suraju, the head of the Human and Environmental Development Agency (HEDA), was asleep beside his wife in their bedroom in Abuja when they suddenly found themselves under attack by men who had broken into the house. The men, who made off with laptops, mobile phones, and cash, could have been mistaken for ordinary criminals were it not for the fact that they mysteriously told the couple that they were ‘acting on information and instruction.’ Nigerian burglars... At 2 AM on March 28th 2022 Olanrewaju Suraju, the head of the Human and Environmental Development Agency (HEDA), was asleep beside his wife in their...