The Bribe Has Spoken


Wainaina criticizes the government for failing to crack down

The most popular song in Kenya last year was Nchi ya Kitu Kidogo (Country of Bribes), a sing-along tune about the ubiquity of corruption in everyday life. If you're trying to succeed in school, if you're sick in the hospital or if you lose your identity card, goes the lyric, to get anything done in Kenya you have to pay a bribe. Kenyans have adopted the song as an anti-officialdom anthem, and they flock to appearances by its 28-year-old writer and singer, Eric Wainaina. "We like it because it's the truth," says Judy Elahuya, a housekeeper. "For everything you must bribe....

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