“THE DEEP DIVE” EDITION 3
Keyboard crusaders, Cancer warriors, and "Warlord homes" - this edition is about hard-access journalism
As journalists, we spend a lot of our time trying to gain hard access, implying that a part of the stories we are looking to tell lie on the other side of a wall that the public only ever sees the outside of. These walls can be literal, or they can be barriers of other kinds. In this edition, we take you behind some of those walls. Peris Gachahi, in partnership with Code for Africa, delivers a penetrating analysis of Kenya’s online trolling industry. We go behind literal walls, for a tour of what is believed to be a home belonging to South Sudan President Salva Kiir’s home in Nairobi’s upmarket Karen suburb. Elijah Kanyi walks us through what it is like covering cancer survivors over a long period. We also look back at Kanjo Kingdom, one of our first hard-access investigations for reflections on how much, if anything has changed for Nairobi’s oft-targeted informal traders.
Finally, we’d like to say a huge thank you to every one of you who has donated to Africa Uncensored. So far we’ve received over 40 donations, with the average amount given being 100 KES (1 USD). We’re trying to raise the resources to keep doing compelling investigative and in-depth work, and every bit helps! Want to support us? You can use this link to do so.
Let’s scale some wall together, shall we?
John Allan Namu- Africa Uncensored
Kenya’s Keyboard warriors
Part of what we do at Africa Uncensored is collaborating with other organizations to give you the very best content. With Code for Africa's African Network of Centres for Investigative Reporting (ANCIR), we have been producing digital investigations based on network analyses that have revealed cases of coordinated inauthentic behaviour.
Peris Gachahi : Africa Uncensored Reporter and Fact Checker
In our latest piece, we focus on five different hashtags on Twitter that spread narratives against the different sides of Kenya’s often fraught political divide, over the course of 6 days in January 2021. These discussions began after a radio interview given by President Uhuru Kenyatta on Mt. Kenya radio stations, during which he discussed various issues of national importance in vernacular. This investigation revealed a case of coordinated amplification amongst these hashtags, with two distinct narratives being identified: one against President Kenyatta and the other against Deputy President William Ruto; a high-profile example of the kind of divisive politics that have marked Kenya for years. Watch Kenya's Keyboard Warriors and similar digital investigations here:
SOUTH SUDAN “WARLORD” HOMES
In the wake of the Government of Kenya announcing its intention to work towards the closure of the refugee camps in Kenya, several meetings have been conducted with joint teams comprising officials from the Government and the United Nation’s agency to finalize and implement a roadmap on the steps towards humane management of refugees in the camps. But where do the political leaders from these war-tone countries reside?
In this edition, Deep Dive takes you to South Sudan Warlord's Homes, Africa's newest state that plunged into a civil war in 2013. Currently, millions of South Sudanese remain refugees in neighboring countries as a result of the infighting war yet high-ranking South Sudanese and Military officials enjoy the comfort afforded in the capitals of neighboring countries like Kenya. A recent study that focused on the wellbeing of the refugees in Eastern Africa, where 90% of homes in South Sudan, the region's newest nation are grass-thatched mud huts while their leaders continue to enjoy lavish life in East Africa’s major cities, which are constructed primarily out of South Sudans' natural resources and illegal trade.
The stories that no one wants to hear may be the ones that help inspire change in the world.
Elijah Kanyi: Video Journalist-Africa Uncensored.
I have walked in the shoes of families and friends who have lost their loved ones through cancer. During my fieldwork for an episode of Uncensored Mtaani’s My Cancer Story in Mathare, Nairobi, I interacted and bonded with several families while working on this story. I would ask my interviewees to forget the camera and express themselves freely; it was emotional, to say the least. As usual, I promised to share their stories with our Africa Uncensored journalistic values, hoping for great impact. Weeks later I received the shocking news that Dominic Mbatia, one of my friends and a character in the story had died of cancer. It was a shocker to many in the community and a huge blow.
We would find out later that Dominic’s death may have been due to negligent behaviour by some medics at a City Hospital. This was an issue we had investigated earlier (Medical Negligence) at Africa Uncensored, but it is always more difficult to bear when the person who has died is a friend. Listening to Mbatia’s wife and having known him personally made me very emotional. He was young and smart, he loved his family but his death left a gap to many. Dominic and I were friends since we were eight years old. We grew up in the same community. We’d greet each other saying “Yes Rasta!” Cancer truly is a thief, but through my journalism, I hope that Dominic can live again.
The road to getting that hard-access story begins with the basics. For five years now, Africa Uncensored has run a training and mentorship program for early-career journalists called Investigate 101. The goal of the program has been to build the investigative reporting skillset in journalists early on in their careers, with the hope that these reporters will consistently produce well-researched, in-depth stories. These pictures are from the inaugural training program, held in Nairobi in September 2016.
Africa Uncensored’s John-Allan Namu and media trainer Steve Holloway
Media trainer Judy Aslett takes reporters through techniques used in news production
Training on Interview Techniques
Mohammed Ali (Investigative Journalist & Current Member of Parliament) sharing his experience as an investigative journalist.
LEFT TO RIGHT: Morris Oniang’o, Wacera Ngunjiri, Elijah Kanyi, Steve Holloway, and Judy Aslett previewing edits prepared by trainees
Reflecting on the plight of Nairobi’s informal traders
Africa Uncensored’s expose’ “Kanjo Kingdom” delves into the struggles and frustrations faced by hawkers and Informal traders. The in-depth investigation exposed an extortion ring ran by officers (popularly known as Kanjo) from Nairobi City County's notorious Inspectorate Department. Through undercover reporting, the four-part series unveiled how the County officers fleece hundreds of thousands of informal traders off up to one million dollars. With Billions to be made, informal traders are looked upon as little more than feeding troughs for the money-hungry officials. From the expose, we uncovered how cartels would sustain multi-million shilling extortion through brutalizing and killing those they wish to extort. The half-a-decade-old investigative series has continued to win local and international accolades.
With the recent creation of the new Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) which is geared towards delivering both short and long-term social-economic benefits to the residents of the Nairobi Metropolitan region by improving key public services, will this KanjoKingdom trend of impunity be corrected?
Here’s the playlist to Kanjo Kingdom Documentary:
On our fact-checking platform, Piga Firimbi we’re interested in publishing factual content about COVID-19, but who says it has to be in an article? We’re inviting you to take our COVID Quiz and test your knowledge about the pandemic. You can participate by answering 15 questions about COVID-19 within a specified time frame and the fastest and most accurate participants get to walk away with cash prizes. The game awards ten winners every day and is up every weekday at 7:30 PM. Tuesdays are a special day for the quiz, as the questions are set in Kiswahili. We’re also awarding players at random from time to time, so make sure you are part of the quiz! Register here.
From the Kanjo Kingdom investigative series
Ignatius Andrew: This is a very good piece. But why do the people in the highest leadership seem to never know what is going on in their companies or organizations rather, could they just be playing nice to the cameras?. Action should be taken and not word of mouth only.
Laban Obiero: Great job, Mr.Namu.Allow me to appreciate the hours you put in, the risk involved, the painstaking trailing that goes into this sort of work. Hopefully it will help in restoring sanity to City-Hall.
Alex Riunge: Is there any justice in Kenya? Why has none of these guys been brought to justice?
Geoffrey Mutua: A Kingdom of beasts!!!! Kudos to the media for such highlights, it’s an eye-opener. Hope the affected and the mandated institutions will act with swift to lawfully deal with these rogues.
Shem Nero: There has to be someone even bigger than these individuals. more than a billion in extortion? these must be the lieutenants/foot soldiers. The big fish must be someone even bigger than these small men and women. Regardless, great work to Allan Namu and the team for an eye-opening expose.
Joan Jepkirui: This is so disturbing, I am just left numb with nothing to say but let God's justice reign on them " the hawkers" It is so painful to an extend one has to die just because the officers needs bribe. It is a big shame on the County and those in leadership.
Felix Alvin: This is a very informative documentary. Officers caught extorting money from the poor traders should face the law. Such a pity that poor Kenyans lose their money to corrupt officers.
Duncan Wasidia: Man eat man nation, corruption is rampant in my country #Kenya. God help us because there's no justice in courts
Social Media Manager : Cecilia Ashioya
Assignment Editor: Sam Munia
Editorial Director: John-Allan Namu