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John Githongo Biograhy, Exile, Award and Family

John Githongo Biograhy

John Githongo was born in 1965. He is the CEO of  Inuka, a non governmental organisation involved in governance issues broadly defined- corruption in particular. He is also a Senior Advisor to the Office of the President of South Sudan on governance.

He is a former Kenyan journalist who investigated bribery and fraud. He briefly worked as a management consultant and researcher before moving into journalism.

John Githongo, now resident in Britain is Kenya’s former anti-corruption Tsar who fled into exile in 2005 after threats were reportedly made on his life. This was after he implicated 5 top politicians in a US$ 600 million scam referred to as the Anglo Leasing Scandal.

John Githongo Education Background

1983-1987: Undergraduate student at the University of Wales, Degree in Economics and Philosophy.

1978- 1982: Secondary school student at St. Mary’s Secondary school.

John Githongo Job History

2010 – Present: Advisory Board Member of Protimos

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January 2009 – Present: CEO of Inuka Kenya Trust

  • INUKA (“Rise Up”) is a Kenyan Trust formed in 2009 to address the crisis Kenya faces in light of the effects of the violence that followed the 2007 general elections (PEV) as well as the social, demographic, environmental and governance transitions currently underway in the country. The Trust’s guiding principal is that Kenyan problems require Kenyan solutions.
  • The heart of Inuka’s work is the Ni Sisi! Social Movement (“Ni Sisi!”) — a membership based, grassroots undertaking uniting Kenyans to forge a collective identity to drive transformation in leadership (as suggested by the new Constitution) and improve maisha (employment, security, health, education, water) for all Kenyans. Ni Sisi’s work focuses on youth – specifically the unemployed or underemployed male youth aged 15-30 who are disenfranchised, hopeless and most vulnerable to political manipulation. Ni Sisi! works with this demographic at the grassroots level in the newly designated counties that experienced PEV or those Inuka believes are at risk for future violence .
  • Ni Sisi’s activities are divided between:
    1) A Nation-wide Media Campaign that promotes the core values of Heshima (respect and dignity for all), Diversity (equality and ethnic inclusiveness) and Ni Sisi! (It is Us! – self belief), and
    2) An Outreach Programme and the Peace Through Prosperity economic empowerment projects conducted through local youth centres Inuka has helped create in areas of Kenya that are flashpoints for violence.

Vice President of World Vision

Senior Associate Member at St Antony’s College Oxford.

Permanent Secretary in the Office of the President in charge of Governance and Ethics of the Kenya Government.

Board member Transparency International, Berlin.

CEO Transparency International Kenya

Board member of the Kenya Human Rights Commission.

2008 – Present: Board Member of African Centre for Open Governance (AfriCOG)

2008 – Present: Chair of Advisory Board of Mathare Community Resource Centre

2007 – 2008: Chairman of African Institute for Governing with Integrity.

2007 – Present: Advisory Board Member of International Growth Centre

2006 – Present: Advisory Board member of Transparency International

Columnist for the East African, Associate Editor, Executive magazine; and a correspondent for the Economist.

1999 – Present: Vice Chairman of Mathare Youth Sports Association (MYSA)

  • Africa’s leading and most innovative youth sports for development organisation. Born in the slums of Nairobi in 1987 and created into, among other things, Africa’s largest amateur youth football league incorporating sports for both boys and girls with lifeskills development, environmental awareness and interventions and organically creating a sense of belonging, empowerment and inclusiveness among Kenya’s youth.

John Githongo Exile

John Githongo moved to the UK to live in exile after claiming that there have been threats to his life. In a secret cable by the US ambassador in Kenya to Washington dated the 16/9/09, released by Wikileaks, made clear the extent of these threats. In one section the ambassador wrote –

“Paragraph 5 provides details of statements made by Ringera (former head of the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission) to Githongo that John Githongo took as direct threats to his life by the Kenyan political elite, to include Ringera. This TD corroborates Githongo’s conclusion about Ringera who is identified in a room with leading Kikuyu politicians, including Ministers of government, plotting to kill John Githongo in 2009. The conclusion one can draw from this report, combined with Githongo’s testimony, is that Ringera is part of those within the Kenyan political elite seeking to suppress information and those with information that could assist in punishing and minimizing corruption in Kenya.”

Wikileaks He took up a post at an Oxford college (Senior Associate Member of St Antony’s College). It has also been recently revealed that he taken up an additional position as a Visiting Fellow of the Ottawa-based International Development Research Centre. In an interview with Fergal Keane for the BBC’s Newsnight programme on 8 February 2006, John Githongo revealed what he claims is taped evidence proving that Kiraitu Murungi attempted to impede his inquiries.

Murungi suggested that a 30M Kenyan Shilling loan to his father by a lawyer A.H. Malik had been bought by Anura Pereira, and might be forgiven in exchange for ‘going slow’ on the Anglo Leasing investigation. He reveals that at the end of his investigations, he came to the inescapeable conclusion that the Anglo Leasing scandal went all the way to the top, and as a consequence his life was in danger. Anglo Leasing, and many other similar deals, were rumoured by some people to be back-door financing to pay for NARC’s election bid in 2007. While in Britain, John Githongo spent two days giving evidence to a delegation of Kenyan MPs who were investigating the scandal. Both parties were positive about the outcomes of the meetings.

Allegations of spying

Throughout the saga allegations about the sophisticated nature of the Githongo recordings and the reason and extent for the involvement of the British Embassy have been subject to rife speculation.

Dr Murungaru, who was also the National security Minister, maintains that Githongo was and still is a British spy.

On 10 February 2006, Murungi issued a statement that was faxed to all Kenyan media houses questioning the intentions and motives of John Githongo, in the form of 36 questions. Minister Murungaru was demoted as a result of Mr. Githongo’s allegations and rejected by his own constituents during the 2007 general election.

In 2006, Murungaru was banned from all travel to the United Kingdom by the British Home Secretary as a result of his involvement in corruption.

Among the questions asked was why John Githongo was recording his conversations with Government officials and asking how many other conversations he recorded including those with the president.

Some who have interviewed John Githongo say that in fact the President knew about and had approved of Githongo’s recordings as early as February 2004.

Speculation was also rife that Githongo’s continued exile was directly related to the spying allegations and the fact that he broke various secrecy laws under the Official Secrets Act, that covered government officials.

John Githongo Post-Exile

John Githongo returned to Kenya in 2008, and founded an organisation called Inuka Kenya Trust, a grassroots advocacy group aimed at creating an informed citizenry.

In Jan 2011, John Githongo launched a new campaign, Kenya Ni Yetu (Kenya is Ours), aimed at mobilizing ordinary people to speak up against corruption, impunity and injustice.

John Githongo Awards  and Honors

1 October 2015: 2015 Allard Prize for International Integrity; sharing the CDN$100,000 prize with co-recipient Rafael Marques de Morais.

2015: He was appointed Mimi and Peter E. Haas, Distinguished Visitor at Stanford University.

October, 2013: awarded the OXI! Award by the Washington Oxi Day Foundation that marks heroism and the defense of freedom.

2012:  He was short-listed, alongside US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton for the prestigious Tipperary International Peace Award.

2011: He was selected as one of the world’s 100 most influential Africans by New African magazine and one of the world’s top 100 global thinkers by Foreign Policy magazine.

2004:  German-Afrika Prize for Leadership awarded by the German President.

John Githongo Family

John Githongo is married to his love Salome Mshai Mwangola.

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