Book Review: Crackdown by Njuguna Mutonya

A Short Review

Crackdown is a memoir by Njuguna Mutonya which tells of his imprisonment and torture during the Moi Regime in Kenya. This is a reminder of our History as Kenyans and the struggles that our heroes went through to ensure that we have the freedom that we enjoy today. Although not set in the colonial times, it was set in an equally turbulent time in the country.

Crackdown is a fairly small book and an easy read. It begins with Njuguna explaining about the arrests of University graduates and especially former students. Most of the people arrested are people known to him. Njuguna had just started his life after University and his career was going well before he was suddenly arrested. The arrest is conducted in a bizarre fashion. The police search his office and then his home. They find a copy of  The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli which is treated as evidence that Njuguna has plans to overthrow the government. He is quickly whisked away to the Nyayo House torture chambers.


Njuguna undergoes unimaginable torture during the imprisonment. At one point he is actually locked up naked in a dark room that has water up to his knees. He is forced to spend days and nights in this dark, cold place where he can’t even sit or lie down.
He survives the ordeal through sheer determination.

Crackdown is a one of those books that remind you of a past unsuccessfully buried. Most people don’t like talking about the dark years in Kenya. However, it is books like this that make us look back and hence appreciate what we now have as a country.

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