Thematic concerns in Betrayal in the City - Misuse / Abuse of Power

The ruling elite in Kafira is perpetuating cronyism, nepotism .

corruption and intimidation of opponents in order to cling to power.

Mulili yields a lot of influence due to the fact that he is Boss’ cousin.

Kabito refers to him as an army-drop out and a second rate farmer.

Ordinary people cannot carry out their normal ceremonies without government interference. Doga and Nina, two innocent and bereaved citizens cannot carry out a simple ceremony for their dead son.

The government sends two soldiers, Jere and Mulili to bar them from doing so. They are even murdered as a result.

Individuals are forced to take law into their hands since justice favours those connected to those in power.

Jusper kills Chagaga in order to avenge the killing if his brother Adika.

Chagaga happens to be the sub-chief’s brother. Mulili says “All small murders get arrested.”

Like Jusper faces the full brunt of the law while big murderers like Mulili get away scot free due to political patronage.

The fact that Boss relies on the likes of Mulili, Tumbo, Kabito and Nicodemo to render good and sustainable opinion and advice to the government tells the extent of the rot in this system.

Mulili is barely coherent and there are lots of inconsistencies in his utterances.

He is a liar and a cheat, a fraud who any right thinking leader should distance himself from.

Tumbo, Kabito and Nicodemo only think about their daily allowances and are determined to meet as long as it takes in order to reap as much.

Tumbo’s remark at the end of the play puts what ails the state in plain terms, “I am truly sorry, but I am not entirely to blame, I was trained, but given the wrong job….”

(pg 74) This remark points an accusing finger at the appointing authority.

The likes of Mulili should not be in government.

Mulili uses his relationship with Boss to secure tenders and amass wealth.

He manages to reverse the termination of his tender by soliciting assistance from boss.

Nicodemo says that Mulili bullied his way into securing the university tender (pg 51) Appointments to government positions are based on one’s closeness to Boss.

Tumbo tells members of the entertainment committee, “I trust gentlemen that you know why you sit on this committee.

You were nominated for one

reason: Your unflinching support for our government “(pg 52-53) it is evident that Mulili, Tumbo, Kabito and Nicodemo are Boss’ sycophants.

Mulili’s unflinching support for Boss is rewarded with farm land and grade cattle.

Tumbo is mandated to organize a play writing competition but instead declares Jusper the winner of proposed play writing competition one third would go to Jusper and Regina and the other two thirds will be used to put the records straight.

  • Betrayal in the City by Francis Imbuga

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