Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Book Review: Mandate of the People, By Margaret Ogola

I am keeping up with my 2014 resolution to read more books, especially from the 'orphaned' African literature.
I started off January with Margaret Ogola's 'Mandate of the People'. Simply put, its an easy to read novel for high schoolers. Without the many grammatical errors I have noted, I would recommend it for a set book: it reminded me so much of my high school literature classes when reading 'A Man of the People'.

Other than that, Ogola well presents the full picture of the Kenyan political scene, particularly how the electorate is duped and fails to understand the necessity of the leaders they elect every year. She clearly paints a picture of Kenyan politicians, corrupt, selfish and possessing a lot of purchasing power-of course power to get themselves richer and as their electorates die of lack of basic needs. I read poverty, lack of civic education and despair that drives them to undertake anything that comes their way as the only way to get themselves better. I see the people of Migodi in Ogola's novel as closed in a box, a cycle poverty of knowledge, that is power. Who will liberate them?
I tend to believe that Leo Adam Agade will be the liberating  leader, the saviour for the Migodians, and maybe the rest of the Kenyans presented in this novel. But Ogola does better by showing how powerful it can be if young people and women are inspired for change. We see change not only in Migodi North, but also in Migodi South when a woman parliamentarian gets elected.

Hypothetical it might be, I am waiting for this future Kenya; I will not just sit and wait, I will look for the next 'Agade' to liberate the Kenyan electorate of the knowledge poverty. It's the mandate of the people to liberate themselves.

Next: House of Doom, by Wahome Mutahi

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