Journalists at Africa Uncensored investigate incompetence and corruption in a multimillion-dollar healthcare deal.
“Our goal is to show Africa as it really is: The good, the bad, the ugly, the potential,” says John Allan Namu, an investigative journalist in Nairobi, Kenya.
He co-founded Africa Uncensored, an investigative journalism collective that works to hold the government accountable and cover stories often unreported by the media.
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They are working on a massive story: The government is believed to have misappropriated millions of dollars after Kenya’s health minister signed a multimillion-dollar deal in 2015 for what he said was much-needed hospital equipment. The government also promised to invest in the improvement of Kenya’s medical services, which were seen to be especially failing the poor.
Namu had received a tip-off from a source, leading him onto the case.
“The data set that we received showed us that there are corrupt networks in many, many places. But the place we chose to focus our attention on was on the ministry of health because this is one of the president’s key pillars for delivery to the public,” he says.
“And it seems as if it’s either has been hijacked or it was formulated to steal from this country.”
They carry out their investigation, using hidden cameras to confront an official, despite fears of reprisal.
Meanwhile, they feel the urgency to publish as they speak to those most affected by failures in the health system, including a mother who could not afford her cancer treatment.
Still, the team maintains their faith in the power of journalism.
“I think that the key role of journalism is that we publish the things that some people don’t want published, even if that means that we are scared. Because at the moment that citizens have the information that they require to live their lives, that’s when positive change happens,” Namu says.