Book Review: Betrayal In The City by Francis Imbuga
TITLE: Betrayal In The City
AUTHOR: Francis D. Imbuga
ORIGINAL LANGUAGE: English
EDITION: 2, REPRINT: 1976, 1977
PUBLISHER: East African Educational Ltd
YEAR OF PUBLICATION: 1976
LENGTH: 75 Pages
REVIEWER: Onana Victor
AUTHOR’S OTHER PUBLICATIONS:-
Game Of Silence
Man Of Kafira etc.
This strong play, to me is the bitter pill that Africa has to swallow to heal the wound of misrule.
Betrayal In The City by Francis Imbuga is one play that artistically links both our past and present political lives through a silent but loud juxtaposition.
Politics and political betrayal takes the central theme. Political dawn is birthed in Africa and independence is realized. Colonial powers are giving way to native leadership. Africa in the hands of African leaders.
At the onset, Doga and Nina, old parents to bother Adika and Jusper are about to engage in final cultural ritual at Adika’s graveyard. Their son, Adika is long murdered and buried.
Jusper, Adika’s, brother is nowhere to be seen, Doga and Nina are wrapped up in utter worries about him. Their only surviving son evidently nowhere to be found. They also remember efforts to interfere with his grave by unknown people.
Almost immediately, Jere and Mulili, both soldiers, arrive loaded with the orders from the government of the day headed by Boss to stop the ritual from happening. Somehow, It’s here that we get to know that truly Jusper in the jail .
This ceremony issue attracts sharp conflict between the two soldiers, Jere and Mulili. Mulili, Bosse’s nephew, is determined to have the government order enforced whereas Jere develops instant sympathy for the old couple and allows them proceed with the ceremony. In the process of this sharp disagreement, Jere loses his temper and points a pistol to Mulili. In response, Mulili says , ” you will pay for this.”
It emerged that at one point, Mulili unprocedurally and secretly once released Mustafa, a prisoner, from prison.
As things unfold, we are treated to information on the death of one Chagaga having been killed by Jusper as a cold revenge for the murder of Adika (Jusper’s brother) and that explains why Jusper is in the cells.
Immediately, just as Mulili told Jere, he is jailed for going against the ‘government order’. Kafira government uses detention to silence dissenting voices . One of the detainees, Mosese is a lecturer, for “mourning in public “. Mosese’s sister, Regina tries to get her brother released from the jail. Tumbo is to assist her. As at now Jusper is out of cells and had joined Regina at her house when Tumbo enters.
In Tumbo’s opinion, students are just but wasting their time in questioning the government about the expatriates and that more of them will be employed. Tumbo sends Jusper for beer as Regina and Tumbo are remain in the house.
Tumbo is told by Regina not to take Jusper, her “cousin” seriously. She tells him that Jusper can write plays. Jusper emerges winner in the”competition” to write a play to be used to entertain the visiting head of state.
Two third of the reward money is offered to both Jusper and Regina. The ever silent Mosese, however, changes tact and embraces active participation in the fight against the government. He is thus enlisted to act before a visiting head of state. During the play within a play, the coup occurs and one Mulili the rubberstamp of corruption in Kafira is killed. Boss, the leader of Kafira is left, perhaps to learn his lessons.
A step to eradication of poor leadership. A caution to the like of Mulili and Boss.