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 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.
In his latest work, “Crisis..? What Crisis?” Gado focuses on the events that shaped Kenya in the pivotal years leading up to – and after – the disastrous 2007 election. A wide range of topics are covered such as the country’s grand coalition government and its new constitution, the international Criminal Court and its tough-taking retiring Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo, corruption in all its forms. Obama-mania, the antics of Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe, and the growing Chinese presence in Africa.
When Michela Wrong’s Kenyan John Githongo appeared unexpectedly one morning on her London flat doorstep, it was clear that something had gone very wrong in a country regarded until then as one of Africa’s success stories.
Two years earlier, John had been appointed Kenya’s anti-corruption czar, signalling the new government’s determination to put an end to sleaze. But now John was on the run, having discovered that the new government was looting public funds, just like its predecessor.
Probing the cultural and historical factors at the heart of the continent’s crisis, It’s Our Turn To Eat is an incisive exploration of the corruption endemic in African society, as well as the story of how one brave man came to make a lonely decision with huge ramifications.