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

By Michela Wrong

"A fast paced political thriller.... Wrong's gripping, considerate booklet stands as either a tribute to Githongo's braveness and a cautionary tale." —New York occasions e-book Review

“On one point, It’s Our flip to Eat reads like a John Le Carré novel.... On a deeper and masses richer point, the publication is an research of ways and why Kenya descended into political violence.” — Washington Post

Called "urgent and critical” through Harper's magazine, It’s Our flip to Eat is a nonfiction political mystery of contemporary Kenya—an eye-opening account of tribal rivalries, pervasive graft, and the emerging anger of a prospect-less formative years that exemplifies an African dilemma.

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Right here used to be this strong man–because he did carry a place of massive influence–and we have been calling him “John”. ’ The distinction among those new arrivals’ breezy directness and different govt departments–male-dominated, obsequious and sure through etiquette–was speedily felt. ‘You’d visit conferences with executive officers and it might be “your honourable this”, “your honourable that” and “all protocols saw” ahead of each speech, all this bowing and scraping,’ recollects Karanja. ‘I was once ticked off at one element for now not displaying adequate admire while I corrected somebody who made a criminal aspect I knew used to be mistaken. John needed to interfere and say, “Look, she’s no longer right here only for ornament. She’s now not a toddler. ”’ The NARC govt, in these heady early days, was once able to attempt whatever new, establishing itself as much as its conventional critics. With Moi’s departure, hundreds of thousands of well-qualified Kenyans have been coming back from the diaspora, able to placed their expert talents on the carrier of the country. Transparency overseas, the newly confirmed Kenya nationwide fee on Human Rights–headed by means of the outspoken Maina Kiai–civil society teams and human rights companies have been all invited to country condominium to replace principles and supply suggestion. ‘We have been sitting down with ministers, and discussing legislation. It used to be unprecedented,’ says Mwalimu Mati, who labored at TI-Kenya on the time. ‘The purely different time there have been whatever remotely related was once after independence, whilst returning scholars got here again to assist Jomo Kenyatta’s executive. ’ yet there have been hazards inherent in John’s strategy, which he could simply later discover ways to have fun with. by way of surrounding himself with outsiders and failing to domesticate the outdated defend, he separated himself from the method. while nation condo colleagues slapped him at the again and joked approximately ‘you and your loopy NGO wallahs’ they have been underlining a distinction that will come to trouble them. The coverage may well insulate John from the sleaze of the former period, however it additionally left him dangerously uncovered. there has been one other failing which John may come to remorse: the paradox of his activity description. ‘The first mistake I made was once to not take a seat and draft unique phrases of reference. ’ He could test again and again to pin down his precise function, going to work out the president on 3 separate events with ever extra specific definitions, however the preliminary errors couldn't simply be rectified. His activity, as envisaged via Kibaki, used to be to not officially examine suspected corruption, nor did he have any powers to prosecute. these initiatives remained with the police strength and the lawyer basic. His function used to be in simple terms to recommend the president–an fascinating perception into the terribly centralised nature of strength in Kenya–but that accountability, in his personal view, gave him either the fitting and the duty to prod and to poke, to nudge and to pressurise, in any sector that looked as if it would benefit realization. ‘When humans requested approximately my remit, i'd say, “The president asks questions, and that i resolution them. ” My task used to be to choose up the telephone and make contact with ten those who may prepare an image permitting me to inform the president what used to be occurring.

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