Saturday, 11 April 2009

Wrong Review for The Independent

My review of 'It's Our Turn to Eat' by Michela Wrong for The Independent is now online here. This is an extract:

"John Githongo was appointed Kenyan anti-corruption czar on a wave of optimism in 2003, as the newly elected NARC Government led by Mwai Kibaki ended 24 years of rule by Daniel arap Moi. Promised unfettered access to the new President, the man responsible for reviving Transparency International in the country confidently set about uncovering the institutional corruption that had characterised Kenya for so long. The signs seemed good. Two new Acts were announced, the first of which would regulate the conduct of public officials and the second set up a new anti-corruption commission. Perhaps most symbolically, Kenya, the home of graft for so many years, became the first country to ratify the UN Convention against Corruption. Two years later, however, and his belief in a fresh start for his country had evaporated as Githongo pieced together a corruption racket that went to the heart of the new regime...

So what lessons to draw for Uganda? Clearly Anglo-Leasing is of a magnitude far greater than Temangalo, the ‘junk’ helicopters, or any of the other recent corruption scandals here. However, with several thousand barrels of oil a day likely to soon be in production, the potential for a large-scale scandal continues to loom large. An Ethics Minister who cares more about graft than miniskirts may be the logical place to begin beefing up Uganda’s fight against corruption, but it is Wrong’s description of the post-election troubles that should most pique the interest of Ugandans. The rigging by a small tribal clique surrounding Kibaki led to an overwhelming outpouring of anger, which expressed itself in ethnically motivated violence within communities that has previously lived peacefully side-by-side. It is, therefore, incumbent on Ugandan political parties to collectively reject the politics of region and tribe, or to run the risk of bloody mayhem come 2011."

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