Thursday, August 29, 2013

Three of the best books on Kenya

At the Guardian, Pushpinder Khaneka named three of the best books on Kenya. One title on the list:
It's Our Turn to Eat by Michela Wrong

Wrong's book on the rise and fall of Kenya's anti-corruption tsar is part Le CarrĂ© political thriller, part tale of serious moral failure. At its heart is the practice of competing ethnic (or tribal) elites taking turns at grabbing power and "eating" – as Kenyans dub the gorging of state resources by the well-connected.

John Githongo, a bright, idealistic young Kenyan, is appointed by the government to root out sleaze. But within two years he flees the country in fear for his life after discovering that the administration and its friends are brazenly looting public funds. He turns up at Wrong's flat in London.

Githongo blows the whistle, backing his allegations with secretly taped conversations, but it changes little. Even western agencies are complicit, with most donors turning a blind eye to the revelations.

The book ends just after the horrific ethnic violence surrounding the 2007 elections, which Wrong argues was caused by the tribal-based, winner-takes-all politics.

British author and journalist Wrong has reported from across Africa for many years. When local shops refused to stock It's Our Turn to Eat because of Kenya's draconian libel laws, it briefly became the most pirated text in the country's history.
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue