Transparency International Zambia (TIZ) has signed an MoU with News Diggers Media Limited to support the media organisation in its reporting on good governance, transparency, integrity and corruption.

The partnership which was officially signed at the TIZ offices in Lusaka seeks to empower News Diggers with funds to carry out investigations into suspected corrupt practices within and outside government circles.

Wesley Chibamba is TIZ executive director and explains why his institution decided to partner with News Diggers and what the partnership aims to achieve.

“We are quite excited with the partnership that we have established with News Diggers. Transparency International Zambia has always been very strong in terms of working with the media, and for us, the media is a very important stakeholder in promoting transparency. The reason we have decided to enter into a formal partnership with the News Diggers is because they have been always working on stories that expose corruption and malpractices in the government, so they are a very strategic partner for us to work with. So going forward, we are going to work with News Diggers in promoting good governance, promoting anti-corruption disciplines and also in terms of promoting transparency, accountability and integrity. We will be working with the Diggers so that they can help us with expositions of corruption,” explained Chibamba.

“We feel that issues to do with corruption need corrective action and that can only be done if the root causes of corruption are unearthed. Otherwise, if people do not know about these things, then it becomes difficult to put corrective action, and that is why we are working with News Diggers so that we increasingly make corruption very difficult for those that want to be corrupt and those that want to promote bad governance. So it is a very strategic partnership. Making corruption difficult includes, exposing those that are corrupt and letting the powers that be, like the law enforcement agencies, letting them know about all those things that are going on so that they can investigate and bring them to justice, that is the reason why we have entered into this kind of partnership with News Diggers. We basically want to improve on the governance situation in the country.”

News Diggers Editor-In-Chief Joseph Mwenda explained that the partnership would resolve the challenge of failure to carry out in-depth investigations which his institution had been facing due to limited financial resources.

“Investigations take a lot of time and resources. One of the challenges we have as an investigative media house is that we don’t have the financial capacity to carry out certain investigations, and this limits our reporting to surface inquiries which lack depth. So this partnership between News Diggers and Transparency International seeks to resolve that challenge. It will enable us to, not only dig out information, but also verify, push relevant authorities in government, for example, to explain and further provide an analysis of the matrix employed by wrong doers in the cases that we will investigate. So we are very grateful to TIZ for choosing to partner with News Diggers,” Mwenda said.

He also assured supporters and readers of News Diggers to look out for other investigative projects that the Newspaper had signed up for.

“Our readers must also be informed that News Diggers has now officially by admitted to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) who are the producers of the Panama Papers and the Paradise Papers, and we are already working on the latest report that zeros in on Africa. We have also been adjoined to the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) and we are only getting started with local investigative projects under that wing. So there is a lot for our readers to dig in in the coming weeks, months and years,” said Mwenda.