Thematic concerns in Betrayal in the City - Fear / Suspicion

Fear is the unpleasant feeling caused by the possibility of danger or evil.

Actions or inaction by several characters on the play are motivated by fear.

The people of Kafira live in great fear.

They lack freedom of expression.

They cannot understand why the likes of Jusper, Adika, and Moses talk too much and put themselves in unnecessary trouble.

Beggars feel that the protestors are wasting time.

Regina warns Jusper against talking too much. She does not want him to end up dead like Adika or in prison like Mosese.

Jusper’s red academic gown is a source of constant fear for Regina.

Tumbo too gets scared of the students’ red gowns and he calls them the red guards.

Askari warns Jere and Mosese that silence is all they need to stay out of trouble.

Suspicion is created when prisoners either remain silent or talk too much.

No publisher is willing to publish Jusper’s play since his plays has exposed the truth too much.

They can only be published if he can hide or cover the truth.

Jusper says that nobody wants things put in black and white. You need a little grey and blue here and there. (pg 47)

Tumbo confesses that Jusper has a point when he says that you can’t clothe truth in lies, but adds that they know better than to shout about it.

They know the truth but can’t dare shout about it.

Tumbo is fearful of boss. He does not wish to disappoint.

He says that Boss is in a foul mood. He wants the play to go on as scheduled. He also wouldn’t want Boss to know that the writer of the play to be acted is Jusper.

Boss’ advisers hate him but they do not want to talk beyond whispers.

Tumbo says that until people like Mulili are out, it is dangerous to do things differently from what is expected in Kafira.

Regina fears going to see Boss to plead for Mosese’s release because she is afraid of him. She fears that something will go wrong if he see her.

Regina fears for Jusper’s safety. She pleads with him to stop clashing with the authorities.

She tells him, “Jusper, no good will come out of this struggle.

Like you I only have two close friends left in this world.

You and my brother, but my brother is inside.

If anything should go wrong, we’ll be wiped out.” (pg 34)

Mulili is threatened by Jusper and Mosese at the end of the play to a

point of denying having any close relationship with Boss.

He is fearful that he might he killed but sure enough he is shot dead.

Earlier he had intended to sneak out purportedly to go for a call of nature.

The head if state is shocked by the turn of events and fears that all evils will be exposed by the prisoners.

He begs to be killed. He would rather face death than the consequences of his deeds.

When Nicodemo suggests that Kabito should report the issue of losing his tender, Kabito remarks that reporting Mulili to Boss is tantamount to digging one’s own grave.

When Kabito questions Mulili’s presence on the committee, Tumbo says that Kabito should know better than that and in any case, the question was not in the agenda.

Tumbo and Nicodemo know that Mulili is responsible for Kabito’s death but they cannot dare say anything.

“Like caged animals, we move, but only inside the cage.” (pg 62)

  • Betrayal in the City by Francis Imbuga

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