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Betrayal in the City Essay

Betray in the city novel over view FRANCIS IMBUGA was born 1947 in Wenyange village in western Kenya. He is a renowned Kenyan playwright, actor and producer.

Betrayal in the City is a political play. The writer examines the problems of independence and freedom in post-colonial states in Africa. The play talks about military regimes that were common on the African continent after independence. Many of such regimes were later overthrown by coup de tats. Francis Imbuga’s major concern is betrayal at two levels, both at a personal and government level. Betrayal in the City shows a decay in morals, greed for power, material possessiveness and selfishness.

Doga and Nina lament as they mourn their dead son, Adika. The old couple wishes to perform a ritual for their dead son. This effort is hampered by express directions from the government brought by Mulili and Jere claiming that ritual should not go on in the interest of peace; but Doga and Nina are adamant. Their only remaining son, Jusper, is imprisoned. This shows us what is happening in Kafira – the corruption, injustice and oppression of the people.

Critics of the government are not tolerated. Jere and Mosese are henceforth put into prison over false charges. They both suffer the pain of the government’s betrayal. Jere painfully says:

“When the madness of an entire nation disturbs a solitary mind, it is not enough to say the man is mad.”

Government officials make use of any opportunity to make money through unfair means. Tumbo for instance declares Jusper the winner of the play writing competition and awards him the winner’s prize money. One third of the six hundred pounds to finance the play writing competition is given to Jusper and his girl friend, Regina; and the remaining two thirds to put records straight emphasizing that everything is being done in strict confidence. Despite all this Jusper vows to revenge someday even if it means going it alone since he knows that a University student is not a very welcome person in Kafira and is looked at as a nuisance to society and a pest.

Government officials first think of what they are going to benefit before deliberating on matters of state. What first preoccupies their mind is how much are they going to gain and that the size of the potato each is going to get should be directly proportional to what their chairman will get.

Being a relative Boss gives Mulili a chance to despise his colleagues in service. Mulili falsely accuses Kabito knowing that Boss will believe what he says since he has been made to be his eyes and ears. He is also favoured by Boss in many ways. The semi-illiterate Mulili sometimes completely misunderstands what is said to him and yet threatens to act basing on the strength of that misunderstanding.

Boss’ trust of those who advise him especially Mulili make him give unbearable directives to silence those presumably against his government including the simple old couple who were innocent. Boss also tries to take advantage of Regina forcefully. Such scandals speak unfavourably of the Head of State. Nicodemo and Tumbo discuss the state of affairs and how people are being killed: “we have no choice. Like caged animals, we move, but only inside the cage. It has become infectious-the desire to eliminate others…” This implies that there are serious consequences of criticizing the government’s plans.

The play within the play, Betrayal in the City, brings about the desired change that everybody has been waiting for. The rehearsal for the play intended to entertain the visiting Head of state becomes a real confrontation arrived at effortlessly by Jusper, Mosese, and Jere; taking everyone by surprise.

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