Kafira stands on the backs of hardworking proletariat and blood thirsty greedy leaders who are ready to turn a cold eye against a friend. Jere believes he has a confidant in Mulili, in fact, the two keep it a secret when Mulili let Mustafa escape (pg14). However, when Jere endorses the hair shaving ceremony, Mulil reports him to boss forgetting the favours Jere had done him. According to Mulili, perhaps, allowing the old couple to carry a simple ceremony was a grave matter compared to letting Mustafa escape. “Mustafa’s case be different. Nobody likely to know he go across the border.” (pg14)

Similarly, Mulili doesn’t hesitate to denounce Boss, “Oh, no, no, is never!” Mulili characteristically denounces his relationship with Boss. Furthermore, he says, “He (Boss) destroys the economic of Kafira……… kill Kabito” Until Boss adamantly pleads for the duo, Jere and Mosese to kill him and spare him Mulili’s betrayal (pg 73).

Boss was given the responsibility to lead the people of Kafira. The people trusted him to bring change and openness in the country, however, Boss betrays the trust the people gave him by becoming a totalitarian leader. In his leadership, there are many homicides whose perpetrators are known to all but, are never detained. Furthermore, he betrays the trust and respect Regina gave him when he attempts to have a way with her. Moreover, Mulili says that Boss has destroyed the economy of Kafira and also, given the word on the street disobeyed the constitution by ruling for too long.

Nicodemo betrayed Mosese by implanting incriminating evidence in Mosese’s car. This prompts Mosese to change his name from Nicodemus to Mosese wa Tonga.

Finally, Mulili betrays his calling as military man by not protecting the people but hounding them into their house and killing them. He kills the couple Nina and Doga. Similarly, Chagaga also betrays his clan and the people of Kafira by killing Adika. In African society, clansmen are supposed to protect their kinsmen no matter what the cost.




Corruption is drawn from greed. Greed is driven by the desire to achieve more in the shortest time possible. In Betrayal in the City, there is a lot of commotion created by the university students on the state of affairs in Kafira.

We begin with the words of Doga on his son’s grave, he says: “When you came into this world to search for your death, you found the money here. Now you are silent, but money is still here. Do not let them tempt you. Follow them to the bitter end.” (pg4) This words give us a deep impression of how corruption is ingrained in kafira society that even the dead are bribed as an appeasement policy. However, Doga is not pleased with such a gesture. He apostrophizes with his son demanding justice from him who is lain.

Secondly, Boss buys Mulili’s loyalty with a piece of farm and grade cattle. This blinds Mulili’s perception of the pain and agony in his society. Jere pleads with him to be reasonable enough and let the old couple do their ceremony in peace but he is adamant.

Furthermore, when Tumbo is given the responsibility to chair the entertainment committee, he selects Jusper as the winner of the play writing winning contest which had been allocated 600 pounds. Tumbo says that, “I give one third to the two of you. The other two thirds will be used to put the records straight.” (Pg49) By keeping the records straight Tumbo meant bribing some people to keep silent about the deal.

Despite his protests for a clean government, Jusper seems pleased with the arrangement. He agrees to follow the exemplary life of Tumbo. He recognizes that as young people, they receive the fruits of independence second hand. This was after Tumbo told him to keep the change of the money he had used to buy the drinks.

In another discussion Kabito says that he had spent the whole night being nice to people only to lose the university tender to Mulili. By being nice we can presume that the guy spent quite a lump sum to get the tender but Mulili had the power advantage as we learn later in the play.

Finally, we learn of Boss’s ill gained wealth from Mulili. According to Mulili, when reporting Kabito, Boss has stashed money in foreign account. When we see Boss’ reaction we are inclined to believe that Mulili was telling the truth and that, such a secret in public could be Boss’ ruin, that’s why he had to be eliminated.

BETRAYAL IN THE CITY, THE THEMES-Ignorance and Inefficiency

Inefficiency and Ignorance

At independence, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta proclaimed that, Kenya was faced by three major problems, Poverty, Disease and Ignorance. Little did he know that, fifty years down the line, the country will be in the words of J.M Kariuki, a country of 10 millionaires and 30 million beggars, with ignorance that transcends the general understanding and diseases beyond his imagining!

Imbuga captures the trepidation of mzee Kenyatta in the book Betrayal in the City. In the play, ignorance is played first class. The common mwanainchi in Kafira, despite the suffering, stuffs all this in their throat and continue moving on. It left for the few ‘who are suffering’ to protest against the ills of the government.

The state of Kafira believes that the majority of university students have little experience to handle the issues of the state. Boss, in his arrogance asks “Do they want to walk before they can crawl?” (pg67) To African leaders, the level of education in Africa is below average and therefore an African young intellectual is ill-prepared to face the harrowing professional world. That is why, there is an influx of foreign expatriates in Kafira. One wonders, why the authorities who blames the education system are doing little to improve the quality of education.

In another instance, the level of inefficiency is exposed to the society in the way Nicodemo, Kabito, Tumbo and Mulili handle the issue of entertainment for the visiting head of state. It is incredulous to suggest that student and pupils should line along airport road to welcome the visitor (pg 55). On the other hand, Tumbo does not inspect the play, this gives the actors and playwright the freedom to manipulate the play, in so doing, they (actors-Mosese and Jere) orchestrate the palace coup. Mosese says it was due to Tumbo’s inefficiency that they were successful (pg 74).

The palace guards also show the highest level of incompetency, instead of giving the prisoners read actors guns without cartridges, they meekly obey the Boss and throw the loaded guns to the ground giving Jusper enough firepower to kill Mulili. Had they paid keen attention to detail they would have saved Boss’ draconian regime.

In other matters, Mulili is oblivious of the feelings of those around him. He is guided by greed that he does not feel the suffering of Nina and Doga. Despite their appeals, he goes ahead to ban their hair shaving ceremony, although we can deduce that Jere helped them carry the final ritual for their son. However, the couple pays with their dear life.

Finaly, Boss blinds himself from the affairs of the nation he purports to rule. In his isolation, he believes that he is doing better with his regime. We can tell that he believes that the people have bought the lies that Mosese was detained by an illegal drug from the conversation Jere and Mosese have. Furthermore, we come to learn that he is privy of all that happens in Kafira because he knows well that, Mosese was detained because of what he said at Adika’s funeral.


Human Suffering

Kafira is a totalitarian government, therefore the conditions of the majority are expected to be deplorable and demeaning.

First and foremost, the people have no freedom of association, Doga and Nina are given the notice to not go further with the hair shaving ceremony. This the government says is in the interest of peace. However, the government forgets that it is its responsibility to ensure peace and security for its people.

Secondly, in Kafira, the people have no right to protest against demeaning government policies. When the university students protest against the influx of foreign experts to the country, one of their own is killed. Boss is unmoved by the conditions within his country because he believes that the people of Kafira have no way of influencing the government.

The influx of expatriates in Kafira has created unemployment among the common mwanainchi especially those with qualification to work within the government. The irony is that, the government seeks foreign experts yet it employs illiterate people like Mulili and gives jobs to the wrong people like Tumbo.

When justice is denied people suffer most. Nina and Doga have to contend with the fact that they son was killed and no justice has been done. Mosese on the other hand suffers under the pain of betrayal when he is falsely accused of being in possession of an illegal substance. He is locked in for a crime he never committed whilst criminals roam the streets. Jere also get the same punishment for standing for what he believed was the truth.

Tumbo on the other hand suffers under the pretence of being loyal to the Boss when he feels that the governance of Kafira has failed in improving the standards of life of the people. His fear makes him a slave to the draconian leadership of Boss.

Regina too suffers the injustice of a brutal government. According to Moses, they beat up Regina until she was forced to give false evidence against her brother.

In the prison there is a lot of talk about the suffering outside of the walls of incarceration. According to Jere and Mosese it was better to be incarcerated than be a free man because it attracted a lot of suffering brought in by the strict arm of the law.

Jere observes the Askari, in administering his duties, is in more suffering than they who are behind bars.

In conclusion, the society of Kafira suffers most in fear of the authority who have taken the advantage to administer ruthless leadership immersed in corruption and untold homicides that instill more fear

Poor Governance, the outlook of Francis Imbuga In Betrayal in the City

THEMES: Poor Governance

The play Betrayal in the city talks about the failed leadership of Boss. It highlights the major problems faced by people in countries where the leaders are least concerned by the problems of the masses. The book exposes the present day democracy in Africa that reeks of Coups like in Burkina Faso and failed resolution of conflicts like in Kenya where a little matter like teachers’ pay throws the country’s education system in limbo.

To begin with, in Kafira, there is no justice for the weak. The family of Nina and Doga lose a son over a shooting in town during university demonstration. The shooter is known to all, but instead of him being brought to justice, he is only laid off from his work. When Jusper claims to have killed Chagaga the law of the jungle rules and he is almost killed by an angry mob.

Boss implants his cronies in the position of influence. Firstly, Boss appoints Mulili as a political advisor. Mulili is further given a piece of land where he practices farming. Secondly, there is Tumbo, Tumbo is little concerned with the affairs of his office. Due to his negligence, Tumbo manages to make it easier for the coup plotters to overturn the government. Mosese says; “but we thank you; it was largely due to your inefficiency that we have achieved this.” (pg74)

Besides Tumbo and Mulili, there is a bunch of miscreants like Nicodemo and Kabito. On the entertainment committee, the two are well engrossed with how they candle swindle the money through meeting regularly. Among the major failure in Africa, and I have watched this in various government offices in Kenya, the interest of the employees is to increase chances of getting per Diem among other allowances.

Workers in many government strive towards creating a constant flow of leakage within the pretense of working. Kabito says, “….it will be necessary for us to meet every day until the visitor arrives…………… meet after the visit for the purpose of review.”(pg53) This clearly outlines their intentions to pocket a lot of money for a tiny job. In many occasions, in Kenya tenders have been cancelled in order to allow the tender committee to eat more “potato”

The prevalence of murders orchestrated by those in government point out to a lack of judicial good will to resolve such homicides. Investigations as seen may be compromised given that the police are involved in the extra-judicial killings as was seen in Adika’s case. Furthermore, Boss who issues orders is rarely seen in the public and therefore Mulili’s word if final.

The lack of free media in Kafira is also an indication of bad governance. The government has compromised the independence of the media that, it cannot go against the dictates of those in power. Jusper says that all they wanted was Adika’s photo in the newspaper and that they were willing to pay for it but no media house would dare do such a despicable thing.

We also come across Tumbo’s trepidation, despite his opposition to what is going on in the government, he keeps mum and lets tyranny rule.

Some of the poor policies that have been passed by the present regime includes the changing of names which ironically was agenda one on the development committee. It beats logic how shuch can be considered as key parameter to development when there are very pressing issues that even forces the university to protest. It seems that Kafira, just like KENYA has fine universities but, contrary to what is expected, the authorities neglect local intellectuals for foreign expetriates. (pg68)

In his address to the AU when he visited Africa this year (2015), USA president Barack Obama proclaimed that leadership requires honouring the demands of the constitution. He condemned leaders like Boss who stick to power even when in old age. We understand this from Mulili’s accusation of Kabito. We also get to know that Boss uses his power to win sexual favours from unsuspecting women as he had tired with Regina. Furthermore we learn of his foreign accounts, a very common vice committed by those in power.

The picture in Betrayal in the city is filled with sordid images of poor governance and a lack of leadership. While the nation burns those in power are making schemes to benefit themselves. Worst of all in Kabito with the highest greed, when after the news of the demise of Kabito his friend, he asks tumbo whether the day shall be counter. What A hell of a person!!!!




Homicide is the unlawful killing of one person by another, in other words, murder. In many countries, murder carries a capital punishment. Homicide can take various forms ranging from, orchestrated road accident, and planned arson among others. Homicides include murder and manslaughter. Murder can be either of first degree or second degree. First degree includes an efficient planning before actually committing the murder. While second degree falls in the context of such murder like crime of passion where a lover kills the other. Manslaughter on the other hand is illegal killing that is just as well murder. Manslaughter means that the perpetrator did not really intend to kill the victim but ended up killing them.

Meanwhile, in the play Betrayal in the City the there are several cases of unexplained death that live the reader with unanswered questions. To begin with, it is evident that the killer of Adika really intended kill him. “…only four bullets were fired that day. Adika had four bullet wounds in his chest. (pg4)” This means that the killer new who Adika was and was intended to make sure that he died. Furthermore, Doga says, “… the sub chief’s brother was dismissed from his job.” This points to the fact that the suspected killer could have been the brother to the sub chief.

In addition, Doga proffers that “it is clear that the man at whose hands my son died lives among us (pg1)” On the other hand, Jusper claims to have killed a man and dragged the body into the river. When the body is found, it is that of Chagaga, the sub chief’s brother. This points to the fact that Chagaga could be the murderer who killed Adika. Meanwhile in his (Chagaga’s) quest to clean his mess, he was found by Jusper who killed him.

In another homicide, the parents of Jusper, Nina and Doga are found dead in their house. It is hard to place the killer but later in the play, Mulili tells Boss, “You remembers that old couple… (pg60)” We can easily tell he had a hand in the murder of the old couple.

Another person who is killed is kabito. We already know it was premeditated homicide from the discussion Mulili had with Boss (pg60). Mulili contradicts himself while explaining what had happened to Kabito. “I also ask that, then people say his breath smelled full of spirits. The hard stuff. When Nicodemo confirms whether it was the breath, Mulili denounces it replying it was the body.

Finally, Jusper kills Mulili in cold blood. He says he did it for Kafira. The death of Mulili marks the end of the play and like in E. B. Dongala’s short story, The man, we shall never know who the man behind the killing of Adika, Nina and Doga was. For the killer was killed before he could confess. Do you agree?



In African continent, nepotism is not exactly a vice but the order of the day. Those in leadership have made it an order of the day to award cronies and close relatives with job appointments with little regard to professionalism and national interest.

Mulili fondly refers to Boss as his cousin he is unashamed to brandish the closeness he shares with boss. He rubs it in to people that Boss is related to him. In fact Mulili thinks that he is untouchable given how close he is to Boss.

On the other hand, Boss awards Mulili with a piece of land where Mulili carries farming activities. Despite the fact that Mulili has retired from the military, Boss is unashamed of making him the right hand man, that is, the advisor to Boss’s administration. Mulili is literally omnipresent in every committee and everything that takes place in Kafira.

Mulili’s education notwithstanding, he relishes unmatched opportunities in government. He has no constructive knowledge in the affairs of running the government but, he ends up being among the top people in Kafira’s administration

When confronted with his educational achievements by Kabito, Mulili plants verbal evidence against Kabito. Kabito ends up dead but nothing can be done against him. This shows the privileges Boss’ confidants enjoy.

Nepotism hinders progress in the African society given that, as illustrated in the play. Most tenders go towards the cronies and the relations of those in power. Mulili wins the milk tender after it had already been awarded to Kabito.

In further examples, planting close relatives within the committees hinders proactive decision making since majority fear losing their positions and being thrown into the dungeon as what happened to Jere who had opposed Boss’s directive.