Thematic concerns in Betrayal in the City - Betrayal

Betrayal is the act of being disloyal or being deceitful towards someone. It’s about going against the trust that someone has on another.

The head of state in Kafira (Boss) has betrayed the people’s trust in him.

He is supposed to protect the country’s sovereignty by creating job opportunities for his subjects, but instead he has facilitated the influx of expatriate personnel into the country.

When the university students protest he deliberately sends in an order for three hundred more expatriate personnel.

Under his rule, sycophancy, cronyism, corruption, nepotism, and persecution of perceived opponents have become the order of the day.

He orders the killing of Kabito.

He is also responsible for the death of Doga and Nina as well as the arrest of Mosese. Askari says ‘…..we calculated that two mature strokes would ease the tension. It worked perfectly.

This is where the research stations come in,’ (pg 19)

Appointments are not based on merit. According to Tumbo, membership of the entertainment committee is based on the appointees’ unflinching loyalty to Boss who buys loyalty by handsomely rewarding individuals.

For instance, Mulili is rewarded with acres of land and grade cattle.

Another incident of betrayal is when Kabito, a fellow member of the entertainment committee is betrayed to Boss by Mulili.

Mulili comes up with fictitious reasons for getting rid of Kabito.

The allegations are outrageous to say the least. He says that Kabito has complained that Boss has robbed him of the milk tender, he has ruined the economy, he hides millions in foreign countries, and that he tried to get Regina by force.

In fact, Mulili should be the “green snake on the grass,’ which he refers to. By having Kabito killed, he betrays both men.

Mulili betrays his colleague, Jere who gets arrested because he opposed the farmer’s brutality towards Doga and Nina, A part from his name-calling and callous nature; he gets Jere into trouble when all he wanted to do was to assist the old couple.

Boss betrays the trust Regina has for him. Regina honours her meeting with Boss since she believes he is the only one who can secure the release of her brother Mosese.

Unfortunately, Boss forcefully tries to get her and she is forced to escape by jumping out of

a ten foot high window.

Mosese thinks that it would be an act of betrayal for Regina to plead for his release. Pleading to Boss for mercy would mean that he is guilty yet he is not. According to Mosese acting is tantamount to betraying their cause.

He further argues that they are out to cause change in Kafira and even silence to him is a weapon.

  • Betrayal in the City by Francis Imbuga

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