Author: Michela Wrong
Publisher: HarperCollins UK
Release Date: 2010
When Michela Wrong's Kenyan friend John Githongo appeared one cold February morning on the doorstep of her London flat, carrying a small mountain of luggage and four trilling mobile phones he seemed determined to ignore, it was clear something had gone very wrong in a country regarded until then as one of Africa's few budding success stories.Two years earlier, in the wave of euphoria that followed the election defeat of long-serving President Daniel arap Moi, John had been appointed Kenya's new anti-corruption czar. In choosing this giant of a man with a booming laugh, respected as a longstanding anti-corruption crusader, the new government was signalling to both its own public and the world at large that it was set on ending the practices that had made Kenya an international by-word for sleaze.Now John was on the run, having realised that the new administration, far from breaking with the past, was using near-identical techniques to pilfer public funds. John's tale, which has all the elements of the political thriller, is the story of how a brave man came to make a lonely decision with huge ramifications. But his story transcends the personal, touching as it does on the cultural, historical and social themes that lie at the heart of the continent's continuing crisis.Tracking this story of an African whistleblower who started out as a pillar of the establishment, Michela Wrong seeks answers to the questions that have puzzled outsiders for decades. What is it about African society that makes corruption so hard to eradicate, so sweeping in its scope, so destructive in its impact? Why have so many African presidents found it so easy to reduce all political discussion to the self-serving calculation of which tribe gets to "eat"? And at what stage will Africans start placing the wider interests of their nation ahead of the narrow interests of their tribe?
"A fast-paced political thriller.... Wrong's gripping, thoughtful book stands as both a tribute to Githongo's courage and a cautionary tale." —New York Times Book Review “On one level, It’s Our Turn to Eat reads like a John Le Carré novel.... On a deeper and much richer level, the book is an analysis of how and why Kenya descended into political violence.” — Washington Post Called "urgent and important” by Harper's magazine, It’s Our Turn to Eat is a nonfiction political thriller of modern Kenya—an eye-opening account of tribal rivalries, pervasive graft, and the rising anger of a prospect-less youth that exemplifies an African dilemma.
Author: Daniel Branch
Publisher: Yale University Press
Release Date: 2011
On December 12, 1963, people across Kenya joyfully celebrated independence from British colonial rule, anticipating a bright future of prosperity and social justice. As the nation approaches the fiftieth anniversary of its independence, however, the people's dream remains elusive. During its first five decades Kenya has experienced assassinations, riots, coup attempts, ethnic violence, and political corruption. The ranks of the disaffected, the unemployed, and the poor have multiplied. In this authoritative and insightful account of Kenya's history from 1963 to the present day, Daniel Branch sheds new light on the nation's struggles and the complicated causes behind them. Branch describes how Kenya constructed itself as a state and how ethnicity has proved a powerful force in national politics from the start, as have disorder and violence. He explores such divisive political issues as the needs of the landless poor, international relations with Britain and with the Cold War superpowers, and the direction of economic development. Tracing an escalation of government corruption over time, the author brings his discussion to the present, paying particular attention to the rigged election of 2007, the subsequent compromise government, and Kenya's prospects as a still-evolving independent state.
The debut novel by a British writer with nearly two decades of African experience - a compelling courtroom drama and a gritty, aromatic evocation of place, inspired by recent events. British lawyer Paula Shackleton is mourning a lost love when a small man in a lemon-coloured suit accosts her over breakfast in a Boston hotel. Winston Peabody represents the African state of North Darrar, embroiled in a border arbitration case with its giant neighbour. He needs help with the hearings in The Hague, Paula needs to forget the past. She flies to the state's capital determined to lose herself in work, but soon discovers that even jobs taken with the purest intentions can involve moral compromise. Taking testimony in scorching refugee camps, delving into the colonial past, she becomes increasingly uneasy about her role. Budding friendships with a scarred former rebel and an idealistic young doctor whittle away at her pose of sardonic indifference, until Paula finds herself taking a step no decent lawyer should ever contemplate. Michela Wrong has been writing about Africa for two decades. In this taut legal thriller, rich with the Horn of Africa's colours and aromas, she probes the motives underlying Western engagement with the continent, questioning the value of universal justice and exploring how history itself is forged. Above all her first novel is the story of a young woman's anguished quest for redemption.
Scarred by decades of conflict and occupation, the craggy African nation of Eritrea has weathered the world's longest-running guerrilla war. The dogged determination that secured victory against Ethiopia, its giant neighbor, is woven into the national psyche, the product of cynical foreign interventions. Fascist Italy wanted Eritrea as the springboard for a new, racially pure Roman empire; Britain sold off its industry for scrap; the United States needed a base for its state-of-the-art spy station; and the Soviet Union used it as a pawn in a proxy war. In I Didn't Do It for You, Michela Wrong reveals the breathtaking abuses this tiny nation has suffered and, with a sharp eye for detail and a taste for the incongruous, tells the story of colonialism itself and how international power politics can play havoc with a country's destiny.
Author: Stephen Ellis
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Release Date: 2012-04-01
Genre: Business & Economics
Africa is playing a more important role in world affairs than ever before. Yet the most common images of Africa in the American mind are ones of poverty, starvation, and violent conflict. But while these problems are real, that does not mean that Africa is a lost cause. Instead, as Stephen Ellis explains in Season of Rains, we need to rethink Africa’s place in time if we are to understand it in all its complexity—it is a region where growth and prosperity coexist with failed states. This engaging, accessible book by one of the world’s foremost researchers on Africa captures the broad spectrum of political, economic, and social foundations that make Africa what it is today. Ellis is careful not to position himself in the futile debate between Afro-optimists and Afro-pessimists. The forty-nine diverse nations that make up sub-Saharan Africa are neither doomed to fail nor destined to succeed. As he assesses the challenges of African sovereignties, Ellis is not under the illusion that governments will suddenly become more benevolent and less corrupt. Yet, he sees great dynamism in recent technological and economic developments. The proliferation of mobile phones alone has helped to overcome previous gaps in infrastructure, African retail markets are becoming integrated, and banking is expanding. Businesses from China and emerging powers from the West are investing more than ever before in the still land-rich region, and globalization is offering possibilities of enormous economic change for the growing population of one billion Africans, actively engaged in charting the future of their continent. This highly readable survey of the continent today offers an indispensable guide to how money, power, and development are shaping Africa’s future.
Author: Charles Hornsby
Release Date: 2013-04-30
Kenya's independence has always been circumscribed by its failure to transcend its colonial past; its governments have failed to achieve adequate living conditions for most of its citizens; and its politics have been fraught with controversy. The author demonstrates how independent Kenya's politics have been dominated by a struggle to deliver security, impartiality, efficiency and growth, but how the legacies of the past have continued to undermine their achievement, making the long-term future of Kenya far from certain.
Author: Paul Collier
Publisher: Harper Collins
Release Date: 2009-10-06
Genre: Political Science
“Collier has made a substantial contribution to current discussions. His evidence-based approach is a worthwhile corrective to the assumptions about democracy that too often tend to dominate when Western policy makers talk about the bottom billion.” —The New York Times Book Review “Before President Obama makes a move he would do well to read Professor Paul Collier’s Wars, Guns, and Votes. . . Unlike many academics Collier comes up with very concrete proposals and some ingenious solutions.” — The Times (London) In Wars, Guns, and Votes, esteemed author Paul Collier offers a groundbreaking, radical look at the world’s most violent, corrupt societies, how they got that way, and what can be done to break the cycle. George Soros calls Paul Collier “one of the most original minds in the world today,” and Wars, Guns, and Votes, like Collier’s previous award-winning book The Bottom Billion, is essential reading for anyone interested in current events, war, poverty, economics, or international business.
Author: Serge Michel
Publisher: Nation Books
Release Date: 2010-08-24
Genre: Political Science
Describes the growing economic relationship between China and developing African nations, claiming that the nation's lack of colonial past and political preconditions provides China a unique opportunity to help Africa direct its own fate.
Author: Billy Kahora
Publisher: African Books Collective
Release Date: 2008
In April 1992, David Sadera Munyaker, a newly employed clerk at the Central Bank of Kenya started noticing irregularities in the export compensation claims he had been processing. Munyaker's subsequent actions balted the systematic looting of taxpayer's money at the Central Bank and helped save the Kenyan economy from collapic and perhaps ushered a new Kenyan day by exposing what will always remain a dark period in this country's history. For his efforts all David Sadera Munyaker ever received to date was a continuing per them and a dark blue suit from Transparency International, a couple of nights at the Lenan Mount, a Nairobi hotel and a glass award.
Only a few years after Britain defeated fascism came the Mau Mau uprising in Kenya - a mass armed rebellion by the Kikuyu people, demanding the return of their land and freedom. The draconian response of Britain's colonial government was to detain nearly the entire Kikuyu population of 1.5 million and to portray them as sub-human savages. Detainees in their thousands - possibly a hundred thousand or more - died from exhaustion, disease, starvation and systemic physical brutality. For decades these events remained untold. Caroline Elkins conducted years of research to piece together this story, unearthing reams of documents and interviewing several hundred Kikuyu survivors. Britain's Gulag reveals, for the first time, the full savagery of the Mau Mau war and the ruthless determination with which Britain sought to control its empire.
Known as "the Leopard," the president of Zaire for thirty-two years, Mobutu Sese Seko, showed all the cunning of his namesake -- seducing Western powers, buying up the opposition, and dominating his people with a devastating combination of brutality and charm. While the population was pauperized, he plundered the country's copper and diamond resources, downing pink champagne in his jungle palace like some modern-day reincarnation of Joseph Conrad's crazed station manager. Michela Wrong, a correspondent who witnessed Mobutu's last days, traces the rise and fall of the idealistic young journalist who became the stereotype of an African despot. Engrossing, highly readable, and as funny as it is tragic, In the Footsteps of Mr. Kurtz assesses the acts of the villains and the heroes in this fascinating story of the Democratic Republic of Congo.