Thematic concerns in Betrayal in the City - Hypocrisy

Hypocrisy refers to pretense that one has qualities, beliefs or feelings that they do not really have. Prisoners are taking part in the play to entertain the visiting head of state to show national unity.

The government is trying to show the impression that prisoners are actively involved in nation building.

This may have not been the case earlier since Nicodemo says they are now being treated as if they do not belong to this world.

The main reason for Boss’ decision to have the prisoners take part in the play is to portray the country in positive light to ensure foreign investment. A successful visit will make it possible for the role of the negotiators to be heard.

Mulili pretends to be shocked by the news that Kabito is dead.

He informs Tumbo and Nicodemo that Kabito has been involved in a fatal accident during the one hour break.

He pretends to be saddened by the news.

He claims that the accident was caused by the victim driving under the influence of alcohol.

He further claims that Boss was in tears when he heard of Kabito’s death and that he had declared that a road be named after Kabito. (pg 63)

By criticizing the excesses of Boss, Tumbo is being hypocritical since he is a beneficiary of Boss and his government.

Tumbo seems to be making an attempt to distance himself from Boss when he says, ’Things will change; Boss is not at all bad at heart.

His main problem is that he gets scared off too easily.”

(pg 44) As a result of his loyalty he is made the chairman of the committee mandated to organize for the entertainment of a visiting head of state. He also owns apartments courtesy of Boss.

Tumbo pretends to be doing Regina a favour by introducing her to Boss yet he knows his (Boss) ridiculous weakness for women.

When she gets into trouble and jumps out of a ten-foot high window, he belatedly says he will apologize to her.

He pretends to be sorry for Regina while all along he had known what Boss was up to.

Tumbo claims to be a socialist at heart and says he could have written the play for the entertainment of the visiting Head of State himself but decides to extend this opportunity to someone else.

“Tumbo, you have not done badly, why don’t you lead the pack of them… them light, eat and let

eat.” (pg 44)

Boss claims to understand truth and justice, while in fact, he least does.

He alleges that the rioting students and the dissenting lecturers have no idea what truth and justice are all about.

This hypocrisy is self-serving in the sense that he intends to suppress their freedom of expression to create an opportunity to gain from foreign governments.

Mulili misreports Kabito to Boss for allegedly maligning Boss’ reputation yet his real intention is to have Kabito punished for opposing him during the meeting.

When Boss gives him the go –ahead to eliminate Kabito which he does, he later acts shocked and saddened by his death.

Askari pretends to be doing Jere a favour by putting him on rehabilitation after only two days and tells him that the government was giving his future some consideration even though he was contributing to the national headache.

  • Betrayal in the City by Francis Imbuga

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