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The Politics of Betrayal: Diary of a Kenyan Legislator [Paperback]

Joe Khamisi

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Book Description

21 Feb 2011
In this provocative treatise, author Joe Khamisi catalogues the events that took place during one of Kenya's most important periods in history. This period began in 2002, when Daniel Arap Moi stepped down after twenty-four years as president of Kenya. Khamisi reviews events up to the time when the country exploded in post-election violence in 2007 and the subsequent formation of the Grand Coalition Government between President Mwai Kibaki and Raila Amolo Odinga the following year. Khamisi explores the leadership betrayals that he believes are responsible for the political, social, and economic rot that are pervasive in Kenya. He recounts how he helped a presidential poll loser in the 2007 elections, Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka, capture the coveted role of vice president. He also presents an in-depth analysis of Senator Barack Obama's visit to Kenya in 2006, as well as his own personal experiences with Barack's late father, who he describes as a person who "chain-smoked contentedly, drank copiously, and partied spiritedly." The Politics of Betrayal is critical reading for anyone who is interested in the transformation of Kenya from a one-party dictatorship to a pluralistic nation.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gripping account of Kenya's political wars 15 Mar 2012
By John Gibbs - Published on
The hopes of ordinary Kenyans have been betrayed by their political leaders, according to Joe Khamisi in this book. Although many of the events since independence are discussed, the book concentrates on the period between 2001 and 2008, and particularly on president Kibaki's first term of government when the author was a member of parliament and an active political campaigner.

Certain names have been omitted from the book for legal reasons, but there are plenty of powerful people who are named and described in a less-than-flattering light. President Moi's rule (1978-2002) is described as one during which extra-judicial arrests, disappearances and killings took place throughout the country, with critics being tortured in torture chambers in the basement of Nyayo House. More than $2 billion of Kenyan funds is alleged to have been stolen by Moi and his associates.

President Kibaki's reign started on a hopeful note, but things quickly went downhill from there, according to the author. The loose coalition of parties that had formed a coalition to oust the previous ruling party quickly fell to bickering. The anti-corruption platform on which the government had been elected was abandoned, and the culture of impunity for the wealthy and powerful continued unabated.

As the 2007 elections approached, the author was a power broker in the opposition ODM party. Disagreements between Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka led to a split in the party, and the author describes how he supported Kalonzo and brokered a secret agreement between Kalonzo and Kibaki that would result in Kalonzo becoming vice-president when Kibaki was re-elected. However, the author now regrets supporting Kalonzo, who is broadly criticised.

The author is a journalist by profession, and he writes in an engrossing manner. It is hard for an outsider to judge the reliability of what the author asserts, but on the whole the book provides very interesting background material for understanding the Kenyan political situation over the past decade and the very difficult nature of Kenyan politics given the high levels of ambition but low levels of principles embraced by those seeking power.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great 28 May 2011
By mulofa - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book not only describes the politics in Kenya but it is also a great piece of Kenyan history. It is also easy reading material.
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