Mosese - Betrayal in the City Characterization and Role

Mosese is a former university lecturer who is later imprisoned for criticizing the ruling elite.


He easily makes friends with Jere in prison. He also shares his views with Jere .
For example, when Jere tells him that he was a soldier before he came to face to face with reality, Mosese tells him that fire has always been there. (pg 22)

He explains to Jere the reason he had changed his name –an illegal drug was planted on him by a man bearing the same name as him (Nicodemus) leading to his imprisonment.


He was a university lecturer. He is also able to see through the scheme that the authorities have.
They intend to use prisoners to act a play to entertain a visiting Head of state to symbolize national unity and therefore build confidence in the visitor to encourage him to invest more in Kafira.

Together with Jere and Jusper, he intelligently carries out a palace coup.


Initially, he refuses to participate in a play to be performed for the visiting head of state. “I will not bend so low.” (pg 26). ‘I cannot do it. Among my friends, that would be equivalent to kneeling in front of Boss and pleading for mercy.’ (pg 27)

His change of name was influenced by Boss decision to change his.
He changed his name since the man who planted a drug on him to implicate him shared a name with him (Nicodemus) (pg 25)


Even though he is not related to Adika who is just one among his many students, he protests his killing and fights injustice but the reward for his effort was imprisonment.


Together with Jusper and Jere he agrees to take part in a potentially dangerous plot to bring down Boss through a play meant for entertaining the visiting head of state.
The plan may not work hence they may be labelled traitors.


After being sent to prison on trumped up charges, he loses faith in the freedom of Kafira.
When told that the release of six hundred prisoners will depend on his participation in the play to entertain the visiting head of state, it only makes him feel like he is betraying what he believes in.
He feels it would be like kneeling down ‘in front of Boss and pleading for mercy’ for something he has not done. (pg 28)

He does not believe in the Bible teachings that Jere seems to believe in.
For example, he says, ‘That is
why I don’t believe in such crap as the last shall be first, and blessed are the poor for they shall inherit the kingdom of heaven!…..” (pg 28)

When Jere tells him that things will change, he says, ‘……that is why I prefer to wait and see. I will stay here and remain loyal to my principles. (pg 28)


  • Mosese helps highlight the plight of the educated elite in Kafira.
  • Boss’ regime seems to deliberately persecute university lectures like Mosese and university student’s whom he perceives as his most potent critics.
  • Mosese is arrested and imprisoned for protesting the mistreatment of the family of his late student (Adika) during the funeral, weeping in public is made illegal for the academic staff.

  • Through him, the character of Askari is brought out as brutal and inhuman.
  • He helps develop among other themes the themes of selflessness and misuse of power.
  • He also highlights play within a play, satire and suspense among other stylistic devices.

  • Betrayal in the City by Francis Imbuga

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