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.


One thought on “BETRAYAL IN THE CITY, THE THEMES-Ignorance and Inefficiency

  1. your work is very fine but i kindly request you to discuss this question :”depending entirely on money is a very strange way to live. validate this statement according to francis Imbuga’s betrayal in the city

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