- Paperback: 368 pages
- Publisher: Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (June 8, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0061346594
- ISBN-13: 978-0061346590
- Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.8 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 51 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #495,377 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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It's Our Turn to Eat: The Story of a Kenyan Whistle-Blower Paperback – June 8, 2010
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“Wrong’s book is packed with detail and solid sourcing and tells its story clearly.” --Jeffrey Gettleman (New York Review of Books)
“Important and illuminating…Reads like a John Le Carré novel…On a deeper and much richer level, it’s an analysis of how and why Kenya descended into political violence.” (Caroline Elkins, Washington Post)
“A fast-paced political thriller—with echoes of Graham Greene and John le Carré.... A gripping, thoughtful book.” (New York Times Book Review)
“...urgent and important...” (Harper's Magazine)
“A gripping saga…a down-to-earth yet sophisticated expose…a devastating account of how corruption and tribalism reinforce each other.” (The Economist)
A solid investigative exposé (Kirkus Reviews)
“Written with the pace of a thriller and a depth of analysis of a nation and a man, this is a compelling look at a nation struggling to overcome its past.” (Booklist)
“A gripping profile of an anti-corruption crusader.... Githongo...is a magnetic protagonist for Wrong’s expose of the machinery of corruption.” (Publishers Weekly)
“A tumultuous journey through the official networks of sleaze that drained billions of dollars from Kenya’s coffers... The extent of the fraud, and the level of destruction it wreaked, is shocking…” (Newsweek International)
From the Back Cover
In January 2003, Kenya was hailed as a model of democracy after the peaceful election of its new president, Mwai Kibaki. By appointing respected longtime reformer John Githongo as anticorruption czar, the new Kikuyu government signaled its determination to end the corrupt practices that had tainted the previous regime. Yet only two years later, Githongo himself was on the run, having secretly compiled evidence of official malfeasance throughout the new administration. Unable to remain silent, Githongo, at great personal risk, made the painful choice to go public. The result was a Kenyan Watergate.
Michela Wrong's account of how a pillar of the establishment turned whistle-blower—becoming simultaneously one of the most hated and admired men in Kenya—grips like a political thriller while probing the very roots of the continent's predicament.
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Top customer reviews
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Or would it? Githongo, personally appointed by Kibaki, found corruption and took steps to deal with it. However, he discovered that corruption went all the way to the top levels of the government. The story of how John Githongo uncovered hundreds of millions of dollars in fraud and lived to tell about it is fascinating. Even more eye-opening was the way in which foreign aid was handed to Kenya despite the corruption. This is a long-term problem: so long as foreign aid props up these regimes they will continue to exist, skimming off American and European tax money so that the Minister of the Interior can buy a gold-plated Mercedes Benz and Presidents-for-Life can import Saville Row suits, French champagne and Russian caviar.
The only issue I had with this book but was an attempt to smear George W. Bush as being somehow responsible for corruption in Kenya when the book itself discusses steps taken by members of his administration to hold the government accountable. I'm sure it made this book trendy when it came out, but now just makes it look silly.
During my time in Kenya, there were frequently reports in the then newly-free press of what were astoundingly brazen and arrogant acts of corruption by one government minister or another. When their crimes were exposed, each responded in a manner that said, in essence, "so what?" or, if the acts were exposed by the U.S. or U.K., accused the messenger of acting as a hypocritical colonial power with racist attitudes towards "the Kenyan people. We in the United States certainly have corruption among our government officials, particularly in Congress. But one difference between our corrupt and those in Kenya is the arrogance and sense of entitlement among Kenyan officials that results in their not caring at all about the public reaction to such acts. It was obvious that the way to move from poverty to untold riches in Kenya was to be elected to Parliament or, even better, get appointed by the president to a ministerial post. Ms. Wrong's book puts it all into historical context and provided the kind of insider knowledge that only someone of John Githonga's stature, integrity and lifelong experience could truly piece together.
This is an extraordinary book and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to really understand why Kenya is so poor today, despite its natural riches, hundreds of millions in foreign aid and citizens who are incredibly proud, hard-working, educated, enterprising and hospitable. Time will tell whether its newly-enacted Constitution will make meaningful changes in the extent to which elected officials can continue to plunder the country's riches and leave the masses so incredibly poor.