It's Our Turn to Eat: The Story of a Kenyan Whistle Blower

It's Our Turn to Eat: The Story of a Kenyan Whistle BlowerThere was a mention of Anglo Leasing in the news a couple of weeks ago I asked my Kenyan husband what it was, and he couldn t tell me anything other than some kind of scandal involving high profile politicians I decided it was time to take this one off my to read list I found it very well written The book breezes through a ton of information in quick succession, leaving my mind reeling and needing to process The main story line covers the 2002 Kenyan elections through the aftermath of the 2007 elections However, Wrong also briefly delves into Kikuyu history and culture, the personal and family background of the whistleblower, colonial history of Kenya, the Mau Mau rebellion, early political history of Kenya, and a bit about the Goldenberg scandal It s a lot of ground to cover, and there may be as many tangent chapters as there are main story line chapters, but the history provides important context For an American living in Kenya, it was very eye opening.Wrong doesn t mince words, and she is equally critical of western governments including her own as she is of Kenya She ends, not with victory, but with a word of hope Exposure of Anglo Leasing made a little progress than exposure of Goldenberg Maybe the next one will make even progress. I would like to give this book a higher rating, because I actually quite enjoyed it, but it has some definite shortcomings The greatest of these shortcomings is it s lack of a unifying thought The author can t seem to decide if this is a book about John Githongo, or generally about the Anglo Leasing scandal, or even generally a history of corruption and it s influence in Kenya This is perhaps most obvious in the last chapters of the book, where she tries to tack on a brief recounting of the electoral violence of 2007 8 but it comes off feeling shoehorned in.It s an interesting piece of Kenyan history to recount, involving electoral violence, death threats, paid informants, international exiles, and illicitly taped conversations And I greatly enjoyed reading of the details, since I was living in Malawi in 2007 and was largely disconnected from international news at the time I was aware of John Githongo and the Anglo Leasing scandal, but not on any greatly detailed level However the book simply lacks a clearly defined unifying argument or thought I think, if asked, she would argue that the central idea is political eating, and Kenya s history of swinging back and forth between different ethnic leaders for whom the problem was never corruption, but the fact that corruption was benefiting someone else but there are so many different tangents and facts and opinions and arguments thrown in together that no single unifying one is able to rise to the surface.She is a good writer, and she has a unique personal window into both the electoral violence and John Githongo In fact, the book is at it s best when the author recounts events which she herself was involved in, which may explain why my favourite part of the book is the ending which isn t even about the financial scandal, instead covering the political violence It s just unfortunate that the book wasn t able to be. The central story of this book is fascinating It concerns the travails of John Githongo, the Kenyan Governance and Ethics Secretary, who in 2004 fled his country in fear for his life when he outed an intricate government kickback scandal known as Anglo Leasing British journalist Michela Wrong is uniquely suited to tell his story because Githongo hid in her house during his surreptitious sojourn in London There, while being trailed by Kenyan intelligence, he transcribed the conversations he secretly taped between himself, his old boss President Mwai Kibaki , and his grasping cabinet Githongo then wrote and released a damning report on the still pervasive government corruption destroying his country.But Githongo s story actually takes up only a small part of the book, since, understandably, few others want to talk about his stretch of time in the Kenyan State House The real amazing insights here concern the history of Kenya leading up to President Kibaki and, even importantly, the developed world s strange reactions to Githongo s impressive work.Wrong shows that, beginning with the colonialist Sir Charles Eliot in the early 1900s, ruler after Kenyan ruler worked to exacerbate and exploit Kenyan ethnic differences The British practically invented them with their self appointed government chiefs and their 24 arbitrary native reserves for suddenly organized tribes like the Luhya or the Kalenjin which literally means I say to you, the opening of a British army recruiting broadcast, but now generally recognized as an ancient tribe The British also demanded identity cards for traveling males and instituted rules against migration outside one s own reserve The first black leader, Jomo Kenyatta, furthered this mentality by buttressing his own Kikuyu tribe with plum government jobs and good infrastructure Then the disastrous reign of Daniel Arap Moi as some said, L etat, c est Moi brought the Kalenjin tribe to ridiculously disproportionate power at 8% of the population, they had a third of the cabinet seats, and medical care so good that they were 50% less likely to die before the age of 5 than the rest of the country By 2002, the large Kikuyu organized across ethnic lines in an idealistic campaign to elect Mwai Kibaki, but secretly many Kikuyu said merely that it s our turn to eat In the end there was no ideology, just plain robbery for the sake of family and tribe.Yet after Githongo himself a Kikuyu revealed the extent of this corruption, the aid donors in the First World were shockingly quiescent Many pointed to the GDP growth rates of 6% under Kibaki compared to almost nothing under Moi , and claimed, with a hint of condescension, that one had to expect some corruption in any African country Tony Blair s government had pledged on its election to increase foreign aid to 0.7% of its GDP, and they were having enough trouble giving cash to respectable African leaders without a gadfly like Githongo around When their own High Commissioner, Sir Edward Clay, began attacking the Kenyan corruption, they became even defensive, and barely delayed even a single aid payment, much of which undoubtedly went to the bank accounts of presidential favorites Ultimately, in an almost too perfect denouement, Githongo s warnings were proved accurate when the Kenyan government the First World donors said was trustworthy falsified its 2007 election returns to keep itself in power, which lead to massive popular outrage and unprecedented ethnic bloodletting, with up to 1,500 people killed and 300,000 people displaced The tragedy is that some harsh words and actions from foreign donors, whose aid made up almost 5% of the Kenyan budget, could have averted the whole disaster and brought down Kibaki years before he went over the edge Instead, the dangers of unchecked ethnic favoritism were made all too apparent Overall, this book tells an amazing, classic story of good intentions gone awry and noble efforts stymied in political pragmatics In some ways, it s an old tale well told. A fascinating story of a man that was na ve enough to believe he can bring down corrupion in Kenya and succeeded if only in setting up a precedent that will win in the long run And another good one from Michela Wrong. Absolutely beautiful beautiful bookWrong s gone full drive over here, giving you all the different views of what she s telling.At the beginning of the book you start reading it, feeling inspired, wanting to go all Githongo but at the end, the cost is very high, Githongo lost a relationship, David Munyakei lost his life due to the short memory span of Kenyans And through this book I found out about him, an unsung national hero who died of the most tragic of causes, poverty It really makes you think twice Yes the untouchables are touchable but what s the cost Thanks to this book I ll never look at the Maribou Storks that hang around the Nyayo national stadium in the same manner again, they now stand for something much than just an animal in the avian class If you have any interest in Kenya, or how corruption works in Africa, or how aid agencies can exacerbate corruption, READ THIS BOOK Wrong is a careful, clear writer who pulls no punches Nobody comes across as a hero here, but in telling the story of John Githongo, who exposed a huge corruption scandal within the Kenyan govt to the world, Wrong manages to be both pragmatic and hopeful I found myself not only nodding but exclaiming out loud in agreement, as well as wincing at times at the mirror of Kenyan society held up in this book If I could give than five stars, I would. It was a good read indeed, largely about the history of corruption root of social injustices in Kenya than the story of a Kenyan whistle blower.It is written for an audience outside Kenya or the Kenyan generation born from the mid 1990s There isn t much for someone who witnessed the Kenyatta, Moi, Kibaki and now Uhuru presidency I was jazzed by John Githongonot an easy thing to do but he did it and has possibly inspired change in one way or another. Once again Michela Wrong s journalistic impressionism and meticulous reporting lights up a neglected corner of a neglected continent Wrong is a writer with incredible sources and she knows how to weld their information into a compelling story The book centers on John Githongo, an idealist in a world where pragmatism ruled He was appointed as the head of a new anti corruption agency created by Mwai Kibaki, newly elected president of Kenya Kibaki was only the third Chief Executive of the east African country, replacing Daniel arap Moi who ruled from 1978 to 2002 and who replaced the revered Jomo Kenyatta, founding father, freedom fighter, hero of African independence Kenya, according to Wrong, is structured by tribe than anything else Membership in the Kikuyu tribe is important than citizenship of Kenya, for example President Kibaki and John Githongo were Kikuyus and Githongo discovered his role in the government was to act as window dressing for donors and foreign governments, to show these very important westerners that the corrupt old days of Moi were over They weren t, of course The people pocketing the bribes and kickbacks changed by the method didn t and the Githongo found out the less popular he became Those now in power had the same view of government as those they replaced it was not to produce publicgoods like roads, bridges, markets, irrigation, education, health care, public sanitation, clean drinking water or effective legal systems but to produce private goods for those who hold or have access to political power Contracts don t go to the low bidder or to the company most able to perform but to whoever offers the largest bribe The most outrageous example of this is the Anglo Leasing fiasco Anglo was a company that existed only as an address in Liverpool it had no plants, no equipment, produced nothing, had no contacts with those who did It wasn t even a middleman but simply a facade so that when contracts let by the Kenyan government were paid to Kenyan officials the checks weren t made out to the individual politicians When the government decided to update the printing and tracking of its passports Anglo was given the contact for a bid of 30 million Euros even though a French company with a long list of satisfied clients bid 6 million Euros But it wasn t just the 500% increase in cost Anglo Leasing had no capacity to produce passports and had no intention of doing so They were also given contracts for a forensic lab, military vehicles even a frigate for the navy.This is a tragic true story of one man s efforts his obsessed and doomed striving to vault Kenya from a well oiled kleptocracy that kept its citizens poor while the elites prospered into a functioning democracy. This book is unofficially banned in Kenya which means no book store will dare to stock it but its gained quite an underground following I have found it on sale on the streets, being sold at a profitable premium by newspaper vendors.Rather than being a tell all book about a corruption scandal the book goes into some length about the nature of corruption in Kenya Tribal identity and loyalty to clans and a culture of impunity are brought out very well in this biographical work.Few people in Kenya bothered to read the Githongo dossier available online on the bbc website or the Kroll report available on the mars kenya website the reason being these were never official reports released by a government authority This book is not for people seeking a officially endorsed storyline of events In the end it is a tale of bravery and honesty and a solitary man s crusade to change the status quo. When Michela Wrong S Kenyan Friend John Githongo Appeared One Morning On The Doorstep Of Her London Flat, It Was Clear Something Had Gone Very Wrong In A Country Regarded Until Then As One Of Africa S Few Budding Success Stories John S Tale Is The Story Of How A Brave Man Came To Make A Lonely Decision With Huge Ramifications

Half Italian, half British, Michela Wrong was born in 1961 She grew up in London and took a degree in Philosophy and Social Sciences at Jesus College, Cambridge and a diploma in journalism at Cardiff.She joined Reuters news agency in the early 1980s and was posted as a foreign correspondent to Italy, France and Ivory Coast She became a freelance journalist in 1994, when she moved to then Zaire a

❴Epub❵ ➜ It's Our Turn to Eat: The Story of a Kenyan Whistle Blower Author Michela Wrong –
  • Paperback
  • 354 pages
  • It's Our Turn to Eat: The Story of a Kenyan Whistle Blower
  • Michela Wrong
  • English
  • 02 November 2019
  • 9780007241965

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