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It's Our Turn to Eat
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It's Our Turn to Eat

4.13 of 5 stars 4.13  ·  rating details  ·  810 ratings  ·  78 reviews

"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 Pos

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Kindle Edition, 372 pages
Published (first published February 19th 2009)
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Maina John Githongo goes against his powerful ethnic mafia employers to expose a false procurement meant to loot taxpayers' money severely. He relies on…more John Githongo goes against his powerful ethnic mafia employers to expose a false procurement meant to loot taxpayers' money severely. He relies on his network of informants who provide him with documentary evidence of rife corruption in different government ministries. The members mentioned are close confidants of then president Mwai Kibaki. The president gave his mentioned members cabinet posts. (less)
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Moses Kilolo
Speaking of my own country, there goes a lot I know only in skimpy details. Thanks to this book, I delved into a deeper understanding of stuff I used to see in the news (and let pass disinterestedly) when I was in High School. Grand corruption has happened in Kenya, and still happens. And to my understanding, we need many more guys like Githongo! Let whistles be blown. Let the ordinary citizen see the government, and those politicians for what they are. But, not to sound too pessimistic, I often ...more
ashok
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 peo
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Sorin Hadârcă
A fascinating story of a man that was naïve 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.
Frank Stein
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 se ...more
Andrea
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 mirr ...more
Mike
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 more generally about the Anglo Leasing scandal, or even more 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 recount ...more
Holly Morrow
I loved Michela Wrong's book on Mobutu (In The Footsteps Of Mr Kurtz) and generally like books by journalists; I think because I have a short attention span and get impatient with long descriptive passages that don't drive the narrative or communicate information. But thats another story. This story, narrowly, is about John Githongo, who was brought in by the Kibaki government in Kenya to be the anti-corruption czar, but ended up doing his job a little TOO well. He ultimately fled to London and ...more
Daniel
Sometimes reading a book about a place when you have local bias does not add any marks to the book. Michela does a fantastic job of dissecting the problem of graft in Kenya but with some very broad strokes. Written as an historic account of inequality and injustice, the book does more to report on the general nature of corruption in Kenya than naming any specifics or creating any form of hypotheses or inference. It's sometimes hard to keep up with the unwinding and undulating story however as wh ...more
Jesse
Pretty fascinating, and discouraging, stuff: a Kenyan whistleblower finds out that the new reformist government is doing exactly what the old one did (the title refers to a general sense that each tribe is just waiting its turn at the trough when friendly politicians get into office), and very few people (foreign governments, the World Bank, people in the government) care for more than a few days. And then the whole thing erupts into violence when the government tries to keep its hand in by stea ...more
Wendy
This book is an interesting and a sad reflection on the problems in Africa, dealing in this instance mainly with Kenya. The western world would appear to be more than happy to appease its conscience giving billions of dollars in aid to African countries. Whether these donations actually reach grass roots level is a debatable point. A rather sad indictment of the endemic corruption so prevalent in many governments and so called charitable institutions, not just in Africa.
J'pkorir Rose
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 Githongo...not an easy thing to do but he did it and has possibly inspired change in one way or another.
Rachel
There 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 t
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Vered
Explore the dark belly of development funds, government corruption and what it takes to be a high stakes whistleblower. While this book is focused on Kenya, it’s really a highly illustrative condemnation of a rot that can be found in many other countries. A fascinating book, it reads like a thriller. I highly recommend it.
Kahn
Some stories need telling - it's just a fact of life. To engender change, people must make a stand and the message of that stand must be shared.
It's the way it's always been, and the way it should be.
If that story can be told well, then - hey - that's a bonus...
With It's Our Turn To Eat, Michela Wrong gets it half right.
The story should pretty much write itself - new Kenyan government sweeps in, promises to rid the country of corruption, and over time just changes who is being corrupt.
Only this
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Babak Fakhamzadeh
Very well written, almost like a spy thriller, but not fictional, focussing on the fallback onto corrupt ridden practices in Kenya after the 2002 elections, when the newly elected Kibaki promised the eradication of corruption as a way of life. Shortly after, the former head of Transparency international, John Githongo, was installed as the country's anti-corruption czar, only to escape to London and go into hiding in 2005.

Interestingly, Githongo went back to Kenya some years later and started r
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Michael
Stonking good story, rather well told by a journalist who specialises in Africa and knows a thing or two about corruption in the developing world. This is the story of John Githongo, the Kenyan whistleblower who alerted the world to massive and rampant corruption at the very top of the Kenyan government in 2006 - in the process secretly tape recording the Kenyan president and various slimy government ministers conspiring to rob their own people of several bazillion dollars in kickbacks, fake def ...more
Moira Kloster
Apparently this book is very hot in East Africa right now. It's the inside story of John Githongo, who was appointed as "anti-corruption czar" in the government of Mwai Kibaki, promising a new and honest regime after the long corruption of Kenya by Moi and his inner circle. But within months, the cycle of corruption had begun again with different players. The book resists any assumptions about individuals or power. It traces patterns of misbehaviour and corruption all the way back into Kenya's e ...more
Mumbi
This book was banned in Kenya and John Githongo was labeled a traitor. Radio stations responded by holding week long competitions, where callers could win a copy of the book every hour, on the hour. Street Hawkers made a killing, selling copies of the book in traffic jams (in full view of the authorities) and on the streets. College students downloaded and distributed e-copies of the book within their social networks. I mean, the ban was a great campaign for the book!
(It is also a sign of progre
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Ed
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
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E DB
Feb 15, 2010 E DB rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone, esp to learn a/b Kenya &/or West. foreign aid policy
Recommended to E by: Bookseller Magazine
Shelves: favorites
To paraphrase a review I read elsewhere, "It's Our Turn To Eat" reads almost like a quick-paced spy novel. However, that shouldn't be counted against it--readability does nothing to diminish the quality of the either of the writing or the research behind the book.

"It's Our Turn To Eat" goes above and beyond the typical biography by combining political and sociological analysis, history, gossip and scandal together with interviews with John Githongo and other key inter/national players to form a
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Rachel
this book was such a good read. michela wrong is an excellent writer, accessible and conversational, which i think is the best way to get stories like this out to the public.

from the beginning i was wrapped up in john githongo's story of whistle-blowing on the kenyan government. i learned a lot about kenya and how its colonial history drew strong ethnic lines that continue to define the country today. the attitudes of us vs them only serve to prevent the country from uniting and moving forward w
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Cory
An interesting insider perspective on political graft in Africa told firsthand through the story of Kenya's anti-graft deputy who became a whistleblower, exposing a huge government scandal. Learning about the mechanism and politics of how corruption takes place was interesting. It was also enlightening to see the massive hype and press surrounding the scandal dissipate over time and having things roughly return back to normal after the spotlight went away. There's also a good account of the poli ...more
Nita Drakatos
Reading it now. Michaela Wrong is a good writer. I like it when she tells anecdotes to get her point across. I lived in Kenya during the Moi era. A real life political suspense about unethical events in East Africa.
Camille Cusumano
I devoured this book on my trip to Nairobi, Kenya last year (2011) at Christmas time. I learned so much about the Kenyans between meeting them in the slums and poor areas of Nairobi, and Wrong's superbly researched and written book about a whistle blower. "It's Our Turn to Eat" unfortunately does not refer to the unified voice Africans (as I had thought) against the outside exploiters, but rather to the exact opposite - to the tribalism (subversively nurtured by our corporate/political strongmen ...more
Rocky
Brilliant

An excellently written analysis of the problem facing kenya- mass corruption and the lack of will to tackle it. Damming as it is entertaining, a brilliant piece.
Katie_marie
I rarely give books a 5-star rating and this is not a work of literary genius but it is fascinating. Having just returned from Kenya it felt like a very poignant discussion of the history behind the tribalism so evident to anyone who has been to Kenyan and spoken to its citizens. The one thing I regret is not reading the book BEFORE visiting the country since it would have made me a much more in-tune with the tensions around me and the reasons for it. It drives some hard questions for the wester ...more
Jonathan
This non-fiction work is focused on Kenya from roughly 2000-2007. Much of the writing consists of the story of John Githongo, who was appointed head of the anti-corruption group setup within the Kenyan government when they were voted in in early 2000s. The story discusses John's role in the government and his path that led him to being a self-exiled whistle blower and government corruptions that went all the way to the president. It also addresses the history of tribalism in the country, and eth ...more
Ian Plenderleith
A grippingly told and comprehensively researched portrait of democracy's slow but relentless struggle to establish itself in eastern Africa.
Lisa Faye
I loved reading about the history of Kenya. Colonialism has done quite the number on this continent. I also really liked the way Wrong writes; it's more like having coffee with a friend who is letting you know what's REALLY happening.

Unfortunately there was a bit in the middle where I just felt like the story was going on with bits that dragged and seemed totally unrelated to what I thought the story was. I generally am not a huge fan of books written by journalists, so this could just be a refl
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Cheryl
What a thought provoking book. Having spent the past two and a half years living off and on in Kenya, this books explains so much of the political system, the corruption and the differences between the different tribes. It also goes into great length to explain the post election violence that occurred here after the last election. With elections coming up in the next six months it does give you food for thought for just what is in store for Kenya when that happens. I found this book to be very e ...more
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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
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More about Michela Wrong...
In the Footsteps of Mr. Kurtz: Living on the Brink of Disaster in Mobutu's Congo I Didn't Do It for You: How the World Betrayed a Small African Nation

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