Betrayal In The City paints a picture of an independent African state, which has to bear the brunt of repressive leadership.
The head of the state of Kafira, who is perfectly referred to as “Boss”, gives no room to alternative views.
Those around him perpetrate this, and even believe that Boss’ interests have to be protected, whatever the case and cost.
Mosese wa Tonga envisages a state failed by the politics of bad policy, improper ideology, tribalism and corruption and succumbs to this repression, looks back, in the history, and into the future of Kafira under Boss, and what he sees is emptiness.
Betrayal in the City was written from one of Africa’s foremost dramatist is in the classic cannon. It was thought to heavily reflect the stake of Kenya then (1976) when Kenya’s founding father Jomo Kenyatta reigned but was seen to be more relevant in the Moi era.
It is an incisive examination of the problems of independence and freedom in post-colonial Africa states, where few believe they have a stake in the future.
In the words of one of the characters: “It was better while we waited. Now we have nothing to look forward to. We have killed our past and are busy killing our future”. One does not escape the nostalgia that informs the disillusioned citizens of Kafira; from the peasants in the village to the elite in the city.
What ails Kafira is the spectre of Political realism. This is a socio-political Darwinism in which those in leadership believe that by whatever means they got to their positions, they were born to lead over others.
It is perfect reflection of many African dictatorships where reason is thrown to the dogs as the political wealthy class rules punitively with their close families and distant relatives.
In this Book Francis Imbuga established himself as one of the most important playwrights in Africa.