Looters and Grabbers

Looters and GrabbersKenya as a country doesn’t exactly have a good reputation when it comes to matters involving corruption, theft and impunity. As much as we would like to point a finger at the politicians and police – for occasionally taking a bribe to let you off a petty crime, we as the citizens are a funny lot, really and our involvement in corruption runs from asking the class monitor to erase our names from the noisemakers list back in primary school to pirating an e-book.

One, Joe Khamisi, authored a book with the title, “Kenya: Looters and Grabbers: 54 Years of Corruption and Plunder by the Elite, 1963-2017“. The book talks about most, if not all, corruption scandals and scams that have plagued Kenya since independence. To quote Gabriel Dolan, “The former legislator has presented us with the history of Kenya since independence as one continuous looting spree”.

I haven’t yet read the book but I bet Mr Joe Khamisi did not anticipate the kind of “looting” that would follow his book launch. First, a little backgrounder, the book in question has been a rare one to find, at least the hard copy. Contrary to word doing rounds on social media, the book hasn’t actually been banned locally, at least not officially, but bookstores have refused to stock the book in fear of legal action:

Due to this, the author turned to selling a soft copy of the book via Amazon. Naturally, this would be a foolproof method but trust Kenyans to live up to the title of the book, as Oliver Mathenge put it. A PDF version of Joe Khamisi’s book has been doing rounds in Kenyan social media space, including WhatsApp and Telegram. The interesting part is that, despite a few Kenyans condemning this act of piracy, a majority of them are scrambling to get the free PDF:

At this stage, I think Joe should come up with a sequel to this book, detailing how Kenyans stole his book about looting and stealing. I bet we’ll steal this one too.


  1. Well, Kenyans took the opportunity cuz the book isn’t protected… Like any other seller of PDF material would do. I saw the book and TBH it’s straightforward, no password or what. Joe should have put the necessary mechanisms in place to protect his book after an individual purchases it. He could have used Adobe content server or Amazon kindle publishing.. etc.

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