2017 and 2018 proved the value — and power — of collaboration among journalists in Africa. But while the Paradise Papers and, of late, the Implant Files have been major highlights, there still has not been a major shift in the mindset of African leaders towards corruption. Take for example my country, Botswana: Ian Kirby, president of the Botswana Court of Appeal, was linked to several offshore companies in the British Virgin Islands — but simply dismissed the exposé, saying it offered nothing new. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, no action was taken against President Joseph Kabila’s twin sister and media mogul Jaynet Kabila after she was linked to a company incorporated on the Pacific island of Niue months before her brother was elected president.
It was hardly a surprise when the new Botswana president, Mokgweetsi Masisi, was sworn in in April this year amid low public expectations.
It began with a tip-off from a former head of an international humanitarian organization who used to be based in Zimbabwe. There was an explosive dossier detailing heinous crimes of the Gukurahundi — a series of massacres of civilians carried out by the Zimbabwe National Army in the 1980s — and had been kept under lock and key for decades. Earlier this year, the Botswana-based INK Centre for Investigative Journalism tracked down the mystery dossier and, in July, broke the story. Here’s how we did it.