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,...
ZAM Reporter
Reporter Taiwo Adebulu’s story on marriage registry corruption in Nigeria has had massive impact less than a week after publication. The story, which highlighted the sabotage of an electronic bookings portal by officials intent on extorting loving couples and cashing in bribes at the Ikoyi marriage registry, caused an avalanche of responses from the Nigerian public, who shared online their experiences of official bribery demands at the same registry. Adebulu then turned the public input into... Reporter Taiwo Adebulu’s story on marriage registry corruption in Nigeria has had massive impact less than a week after publication. The story, which...
John Masaba
On the morning of October 30, 2019, Maxillary Owilli, 56, walked into the bank in the northern Uganda district of Abim, looking forward to his payday salary. But moments later the teacher of Murolem Primary School, in the same district, left the bank premises dejected. He was not going to be paid that month. ‘They told me it ‘hanged’ and went back to the ministry’, he says. When complaining to his district office he was handed a form to fill and a promise that all would be well the following month.... On the morning of October 30, 2019, Maxillary Owilli, 56, walked into the bank in the northern Uganda district of Abim, looking forward to his payday...
Lydia Namubiru, Khatondi Soita Wepukhulu and Rael Ombuor / openDemocracy
A six month investigation in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda reveals widespread use of clinics that claim ‘therapy’ will change a person’s sexual choices. When Samuel (not his real name) was a teenager, he was sent to live in a windowless room in a deserted area on the outskirts of Nairobi, the Kenyan capital. Here, he said, he was given electric shocks and shown pictures of ‘ruptured anuses and wounded penises’ by people who told him that if he didn’t stop being gay, he would ‘meet the same fate’. ‘I... A six month investigation in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda reveals widespread use of clinics that claim ‘therapy’ will change a person’s sexual choices....
Taiwo Adebulu
Officials of Nigeria’s federal marriage registries extort prospective married couples by charging them fees way above the official rate, diverting up to half of the country’s minimum wage at a time into their personal bank accounts. Taiwo Adebulu went undercover to record how these civil servants work together, and across marriage offices, to do this with impunity. He also discovered how an online registration portal, meant to be a solution to the corruption, is routinely sabotaged. On the right... Officials of Nigeria’s federal marriage registries extort prospective married couples by charging them fees way above the official rate, diverting up to...
David Dembélé
When COVID 19 hit Mali, businessman Boubacar Thiam was one of the many who felt a ‘sense of panic’. ‘Maybe I should have thought about it for longer’, the chairman of APBEF, the association of financial and banking enterprises of Mali, says. ‘But we were told there was a global pandemic and many of us might die. So we put US$ 1,234,885 into the voluntary fund that the government presented. We did not foresee that there would be no traceability’. On a picture taken at the 1st of April 2020 launch of... When COVID 19 hit Mali, businessman Boubacar Thiam was one of the many who felt a ‘sense of panic’. ‘Maybe I should have thought about it for longer’,...
Nazlee Arbee
Shakeera Baker doesn’t like asking for help to put food on the table for herself and her two children, but she struggled to make ends meet in mid-2020 already. And then the COVID lockdown prevented her from even going to look for work. So she and her equally unemployed husband applied for the new COVID 19 grant. 1 At 350 Rands, US$ 20, per month, it wasn’t going to be much. It barely buys you some electricity, some bread, some tea, cooking oil, rice, some vegetables. But it was something. Only they... Shakeera Baker doesn’t like asking for help to put food on the table for herself and her two children, but she struggled to make ends meet in mid-2020...
Estacio Valoi
Cabo Delgado, 2021. Over 600 000 people, more than a quarter of the population, live in refugee camps, battling food and water shortages, mosquitoes, and disease. The Mozambican province has been under attack from violent militants – Ahlu Sunnah Wa-Jamo, or the local ‘Al Shabab,’ as residents call it – since August last year. Humanitarian aid organisations like Doctors without Borders barely cope, especially now that the pandemic is spreading and people present with cough, fever and shortness of... Cabo Delgado, 2021. Over 600 000 people, more than a quarter of the population, live in refugee camps, battling food and water shortages, mosquitoes, and...