Sunday, March 15, 2009

"It's Our Turn to Eat" by Michela Wrong: My little review

Everybody knows by now what this book is about: it tells the gripping story of John Githongo, our former anti-corruption tsar. Michela Wrong reveals how several of Kibaki's cabinet ministers and aides sought to conceal fraudulent deals to help steal billions of shillings. It's an interesting story about corruption, ethnicity, dishonest leadership, power plays, looting, betrayal, generational conflict, patronage... In short, it is about some of those very disturbing facets of our beautiful, blossoming Kenya in this vast African continent with plenty of potential for sustainable development and a young generation full of bright ideas and hope .

The book is excellently written with lively and detailed narratives. Michela Wrong's artistic talents, her brutal honesty and her reflective and stinging humorous style of writing have won the respect and out-and-out approval of readers. Though an outsider, Michela Wrong knows Kenya and Kenyan politicians better than most of us. I myself really learned a lot and I feel like I know my country better after reading it. To me, the book is really a must-read, no question about that. But right now I just need some time to reflect on the book, and determine what implications it has for a potential brighter future for Kenya, what paradigm shifts we need for real change, and what my role could be in order to optimally contribute to a new era for Kenya and Kenyans.

Unfortunately, the book is still hard to find in Nairobi (although it is not banned at all), but the Nairobi Star is now running a daily competition giving away "the book Kenyan shops are afraid to sell". You can send an e-mail to 'win [at] nairobistar.com' with your name and phone number to enter the draw.

The book is also available from Amazon in the UK, and is delivered in Kenya without problems:


Illegal copies of the book are available on the Internet, but before you start searching, please read Michela Wrong's position on this ("please have a heart and don’t pass it around like this" she is rightfully saying) and resist the temptation. On the other hand, I would like to encourage the publisher to make the e-book available for legal sale as soon as possible. HarperCollins is apparently planning the release of the e-book for June 23rd, but why does this have to take so long if illegal softcopies are already circulating on the Internet?

UPDATE (9 April 2009): It looks like Michela Wrong or HarperCollins have heard our plea for an official release of the e-book and it is now available for purchase at a fair price here. Thanks a lot for this!

3 comments:

Lumi said...

Can't wait to read it, A friend of mine is bringing me a copy from the UK next week...

Rafiki said...

@ Lumi: Please feel welcome to this space. Make sure you set a day or two aside once you get your copy of the book.

michela said...

Dear All,

Harper Collins have finally come up with an e-book of "It's Our Turn to Eat". So Kenyans can buy the PDF file, and there's no excuse for any further piracy or bootlegging. Please pass this around on your mailing lists and post it on your websites. We've tried to keep the price as low as possible - you'll see that it is a lot cheaper than the hard copy.

http://www.harpercollinsebooks.co.uk/OurTurnToEat

We're also hoping to make this something Kenyans who don't own credit cards can buy on M-Pesa, but at the moment that's proving a logistical nightmare.

Please spread the word.

Michela Wrong