John Githongo Biography, Education, Career, Awards And Election Petition 

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John Githongo Biography, Education, Career, Awards And Election Petition 
Photocredit/TheStar

By Prudence Minayo

John Githongo is a former Kenyan journalist whose works have been featured both nationally and internationally. He exposed high level corruption in Kibaki’s government-including the Anglo Leasing scandal. Githongo is a recipient of multiple awards from international bodies for his relentless fight against the vice of corruption. In the recently contested presidential elections, he is one of the people challenging the election of the 9th respondent who is Hon. William Ruto.  

Here is the background of John Githongo as told by WoK.

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Education and Family 

He attended St. Mary’s School in Nairobi followed by the University of Wales where he pursued Economics and Philosophy. 

His father, Joe Githongo, was the proprietor of an accounting firm whose clients included Jomo Kenyatta. 

Career 

After returning to Kenya, he worked as a management consultant and researcher then switched to journalism.

He wrote for the East African, Executive Magazine and was a correspondent for The Economist. During this time, he wrote several articles about the widespread corruption in the government, something that did not endear him to the powers that be. 

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Githongo joined Transparency International Movement and worked as the founder executive director of the Kenyan Chapter of Transparency International in 1999 following years of being denied registration by the government. He was also a member of Transparency International in Berlin. 

In 1998, an NGO called Series for Alternative Research in East Africa (SAREAT) founded by Mutahi Ngunyi approached him to edit a regional political economy magazine called East African Alternatives. The NGO was funded by Ford Foundation and went down after four issues.

When the Kibaki administration was in power, he was made permanent secretary for Governance and Ethics. He resigned from the position suddenly in 2005 sources claiming that the government was not serious in its efforts to end corruption. 

Following the US$600 million Anglo Leasing scandal in 2006, he named  the then Vice President Moody Awori as one of the high level politicians involved. The others were: Chris Murungaru, David Mwiraria and Kiraitu Murungi. He suggested that Kibaki may have been involved. He said that politicians were planning to use the money to fund their next election campaigns. 

He received threats to his life due to the Anglo Leasing expose prompting him to move to the United Kingdom where he worked at an Oxford College. Other politicians reportedly accused him of being a British spy.

In 2008, he returned to Kenya and established an advocacy organization called Inuka Kenya Trust. 

In 2011, he started an organization called Kenya Ni Yetu which is focused on mobilizing citizens to speak out against injustices and corruption. 

To date, John has served in various organizations and continued to work in some of them as:

  • Vice Chair of the Mathare Youth Sports Association (MYSA).
  •  Commissioner of the Independent Commission on Aid Impact (ICAI) of the British government 
  • Chair of the African Center for Open Governance (AFRICOG)

Awards and Recognition 

In 2004, the President of Germany awarded him the German Africa Prize for Leadership and in 2011 he was named among the world’s 100 most Influential Africans by New African Magazine as one of the world’s top 100 global thinkers by Foreign Policy Magazine. In 2012, alongside Hillary Clinton, he was short-listed for the Tipperary International Peace Award. 

In 2015, he was appointed Mimi and Peter E. Haas, Distinguished Visitor at Stanford University and the next year was made commonwealth election observer in Uganda. The University of Wales and Open University awarded him honors degrees in Economics and Philosophy and an honorary doctorate respectively. 

Other awards include:

  • OXI Award by the Washington OXl day Foundation which marked the defense of freedom and heroism
  • The 2009 African Annual visionary Award by the African Center for Strategic Studies 
  • 2015 Allard Prize for International Integrity 

Election Petition 

John Githongo filed a petition at the Supreme Court challenging the 2022 presidential election results stating that the outcome was marred by fraud. He said that a whistleblower informed him that the results were exaggerated, substituted and suppressed. According to him, he met the whistleblower on August, 18.

“He revealed to me utterly shocking details of how he together with others, were involved in a large scale, well orchestrated fraudulent scheme that enabled them to interfere with and compromise with ther IEBC electoral data transmission system,” part of his petition read. 

The former journalist said the man alleged he was part of a team of 56 people who were tasked to ensure the president elect William Ruto won the election. He was a supervisor alongside 10 other people,  while the rest, 46, were allowed access to manipulating entries. Those named as supervisors are Davis Chirchir, Jackson Kandi and Dennis Itumbi.

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