FATHERS OF NATIONS STUDY GUIDE PDF
The title is relevant and apt for it is satirizes the situation in contemporary Africa.
Fathers d Nations is a honorific title given to a person considered the driving force behind the establishment of a country, state or nation. These are figures in the African context who once helped drive away the colonial regime and helped their countries gain self-rule under their leadership. In the contemporary sense, fathers of nations are basically the heads of states and governments: presidents.
Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the Nation of India is a figure celebrated in numerous nations and by international organizations, a departure from these current title holders. On Joseph Stalin’s seventieth birthday in 1949, he was bestowed with the title “Father of Nations” for his establishment of “people’s democracies” in countries occupied by the USSR after World War II.
In post-colonial Africa, “Father of Nation” was a title used by leaders to refer to their role in the independence movement as a source of legitimacy and to use paternalist symbolism as a source of continued popularity.
The title is satirical. In the text, fifty fathers of nations, herein titled heads of state have met at Banjul —Gambia. The agenda of the summit is not clear. This discussion thereafter has neither head nor tail. Two rival groups emerge; each advancing its ideology. There are those for Path Alpha and another group advancing Way Omega.
The debate seems directionless. Thus, what comes to the fore is that the agenda for Africa is set and dictated by the international financial institutions that continue to impoverish the continent. Though “fathers” are expected to give direction, provide agenda, give proper leadership and guidance to their “children,” who in this context are their respective nations and states.
On the contrary, heads of state in Africa seem to be clueless, visionless and without agenda and this is what ails Africa. Hence, it can be arguably said that the problems bedeviling Africa stem from poor leadership that has presumably enveloped Africa as a continent. Needless to say, this poor leadership is not ready to pass over the baton to a vibrant and visionary leadership. For the longest time ever, after most countries gained self-rule the continent is still stuck in the realms of poverty, ignorance, illiteracy and diseases fifty years after independence.
Fathers of Nations is a spellbinding and thought-provoking, satirical novel tackling contemporary issues set in contemporary Africa. Paul B. Vitta uses sarcasm through humour to enlighten the reader on the social, economic and political wrongs in the African states. The continent is still struggling with the post independent problems namely: poverty, ignorance and disease. Instead of solving the same problems, the states have new entrants which are equally retrogressive to the inhabitants of the African nations (corruption and impunity). The continent is hence depicted as having lost sense of direction and moral correctness.
The plot revolves around the lives of four men from different parts of Africa. These men — Professor Kimani, Comrade Melusi, Engineer Tahir, Pastor Chiamaka, want the African heads of states in a Summit to ratify and adopt the document that could transform the continent’s economic structures. The above stated four men, have initially suffered in different ways under the current political systems in their respective countries. This makes each and every one of them to hold a grudge against the same systems that affected them and hence starts to press for a possible change.
Doctor Abiola Afolabi is abandoned by his American wife (Pamela); Professor Kimani from Kenya has lost his wife (Asiyo Omondi) to a former university colleague now a politician by the name Newborn Walomu, his daughter — Tuni, dies in a fatal accident; pastor Chiamaka is a fierce man who is jailed irregularly also deterred from preaching, finally, Ngobile Melusi a big time politician suffers in the hands of the new head of state, loses his wife (Ziliza) in a massacre, his Ndebele people are ruthlessly suppressed and murdered by the head of state’s direct order. In addition to the four men, Engineer Seif Tahir (a nuclear bomb expert), Mr. Thaddeus Longway, are also dissatisfied by the African leadership, they are assisted by VOA journalist Fiona McKenzie and Nicholas Sentinel who in one accord plan to front their agenda before the heads Summit held in Gambia’s capital of Banjul.
A summit of the heads of the African States is planned to take place in Banjul the capital of Gambia. Fifty heads of states are invited including the Gambian head of state who is supposed to be the chair of the summit but passes it on to another president. The heads of states are assembled and accommodated in the Pinnacle Hotel with their entourage, they look forward to re-adopt the Way Omega ideology which advocates for a common growth strategy of the citizens which will enable the donors to continue supporting the African nations through aids and grants. The ideology is fronted by Minister Zinto who claims that the strategy was well- though out by experts. The majority of the African head of states seems to be aged and have over stayed in power, a good example is president Didier Bangoura who is depicted as senile, Bibo Dibonso who had ruled for forty years (Pg 157), king Jemba – Jemba IV, who was a king for life, president Wasi Wasi who had commited all sorts of atrocities including authoring many coups and so many others.
The Path Alpha a counter ideology emanating from AGDA (Agency for Governance and Development in Africa), which is championed by Mr. Thaddeus Longway, finds its way to the heads of states summit. Mr. Longway mobilises the likes of Professor Kimani, Comrade Melusi, Pastor Chiamaka, Doctor Afolabi and Engineer Tahir to use ‘the trick’ to table the ideology before the summit to counter thc Way Omega.
Path Alpha is a strategy that advocates for mobilizing civic or public discounted into will to change. This strategy is to solve the problems some present heads of state find it difficult to solve. The advocators of Path Alpha champion the strategy because they want to solve the problems and owing to the fact that they have also suffered the ugly state abuse and do not want to suffer any more.
The Summit comes to a close in an unprecedented way by ‘the fathers of nations’ setting up a committee to bring the matter into a conclusion. The committee set is given the name The Method Committee which is chaired by President Bangoura who seems to be terribly confused because of senility. He uses two ways to make a decision on which strategy to be ratified — the Simple Matrix by a toss of a coin and Choice Matrix. Ultimately, either way, the path alpha carries the day, meaning the common citizen wins.
Chapter one (Pg. 1-15)
The Four Strangers with the Same Mission
It is evening, four strangcrs check in at The Seamount hotel in Gambia’s capital” Banjul
None of them knows the other three
First to check in is about 609 Karanja Kimani, a professor in the Institute of Development at the University of Nairobi, Kenya. He’s assigned a room on the fourth floor, east wing.
Ngobile Melusi, about 70, a comrade and a citizen of Zimbabweis second to check in and is allocated a room on the fifth floor of the south wing.
Third to clock in is about 50, Chineke Chiamaka, a pastor at the Church Inside Africa (CIA) in Lagos, Nigeria. Chiamaka is booked on the sixth floor of the west wing.
Last to report is another stranger, about 40, his name is SeifTahir, an Engineer formerly employed by the Ministry of Defense in the Tripoli- Libya. He is assigned a room on the third-floor north wing.
In less than an hour after the booking all the four “strangers,” receives a call from the same caller who declines to divulge details about himself, He only identifies himself as the guide and gives the same set of instructions about opening their briefcases using a similar code: one, one, two, four. The code number fails to open the briefcases in all the four cases.
Meanwhile, Dr. Abiola Afolabi, another guest at the hotel hears someone call him from behind. From the introduction, Dr. Afolabi meets Fiona McKenzie, a reporter with Gambia News, a Gambian who was adopted by Ian and Elspeth McKenzieScottish missionaries. She was brought up in Edingburg, Scotland and is now back to Banjul.
An interview ensues.
Dr. Abiola Afolabi, is disclosed, he schooled at Harvard University in the US and currently teaches at the University of Ibadan. He’s forty-five and is an advisor to the heads of state.
Africa’s heads of state are soon to start a debate at Pinnacle Hotel, a hotel that is two streets from The Seamount Hotel.
The Heads of State are soon to discuss a document titled Way Omega. If adopted, Way Omega is expected to change African politics drastically; there are to be no more military coups, no more rigged elections, no more foul play.
Dr. Abiola Afolabi is the author of Failure of States in which he is so pessimistic about Africa’s state of affairs and yet in Way Omega he’s very optimistic, He was invited by the presidents.
The interview ends prematurely after her boss calls her to the office.
On the other hand, 49 foreign heads of state are in Banjul for the summit. They still look happy.
For Gambians, the presence of so many visiting dignitaries isn’t fun. Here, before dignitaries came, bull dozers were dispatched at night in slum clearance ‘exercises,’ demolished road side kiosks on which whole families depended upon. Roads got rare layers of tarmac at times of maximum traffic. Checkpoints sprouted everywhere. Water taps dried up because all water had to go to the new water foundations built to mesmerize visitors.
Catastrophes can happen even at summits. All heads of state are to be put in one hotel; Pinnacle Hotel so that security is concentrated at the hotel instead of having fifty places to be manned.
A few challenges are noted on how well to take care of the dignitaries in terms of sitting arrangement at the summit and the hotel arrangement.
Chapter Two (Pg.16-20)
At the Seamount Hotel
A mobile phone rings at The Seamount Hotel – west wing and pastor Chineke Chiamaka answers it; it is 9:00 p.m.
The caller wants to find out the progress. Pastor Chiamaka affirms that everything is fine. The caller inquires whether the briefcase is open and further asks what Pastor Chiamaka has seen in the briefcase. Pastor Chiamaka confirms that he sees a letter from Agency for Governance and Development in Africa (AGDA) and a copy of a document dubbed Way Omega. He also says he sees a copy of Path Alpha, the development strategy that AGDA believes is superior to Way Omega and that it hopes to slip in and replace Way Omega.
Pastor Chiamaka also confirms to have seen leaflets, pamphlets and brochures from AGDA. He further confirms to have seen the mobile phone he is using.
The caller/guide is still reluctant to give his real name. The caller is the only one to initiate the conversation between them. The guide tells the pastor that they are on the same mission, so he should not worry. The caller further says he cannot share his name because he feels their mission is still at a very delicate stage.
AGDA asks Pastor Chiamaka to be fully familiar with both documents: Way Omega and Path Alpha. The caller reminds the Pastor that he had seen him at the bar at The Seamount hotel taking pepsi.
Meanwhile, another mobile rings at The Seamount Hotel’s south wing. Comrade Melusi answers. Another phone rings in the east wing. Prof. Kimani takes the call.
Still another phone rings in the northern wing. Engineer Seif Tahir responds.
The time is now 11:00p.m
Fathers of Nations Chapter Three Summary (Pg.21-45)
The story behind Agency for Governance and Development in Africa (AGDA)
The chapter unfolds with a flashback into Prof. Kimani’s life. Prof. Kimani joined the University of Nairobi directly as a senior lecturer straight from the University of Oxford where he studied.
A month after his arrival, Prof. Kimani launched a noisy debate in which he dcmandcd that thc Univcrsiy of Nairobi henceforth strive for bcing rclcvant to the society rather than simply focusing on dclivcring cxccllcncc in work, Six months later, his clarion call prevailed. The University’s official motto became “Relevance to the society.”
After winning this first war, he wedged another one which was even noisier. He wanted the university to be an agent of change not a mere spectator of it.
In the meantime, he married Asiya Omondi. He became a Professor and now felt complete.
A global economic recession hit Africa. Jobs and incomes shrank. To get out of the crisis, Africa had to make changes and donors were the architects of these proposed changes. Donors demanded for change and Africa obliged.
Prof. Kimani had a daughter, Tuni, a name she owes to Tunisia, her country of conception.
Parliament staged an economic coup to improve on their remunerations. When he started teaching, Members of Parliament (MP) earned less. what professors took home as salary. After the coup,
an MP rakes up to a hundred times the income of a professor.
A family discussion is underway between a father, mother and daughter. From the discussion, it’s clear that the state has failed terribly in discharging its mandate and therefore the only way is to be the agent of change oneself.
Meanwhile, Tuni shares what an instructor told her on why women are susceptible and fall easy prey to predators as lack of awareness of where women are, a look of weakness & helplessness and a temptation to stray.
A comparison is drawn between Prof. Kimani and Newborn Walomu, professor’s former junior colleague and now a Member of Parliament. From the comparison, Kimani who is stuck at the university, is doing poorly while Walomu is doing very well after joining politics and having become an MP.
Tuni, the only daughter and child to Prof. Kimani dies in a road accident. Tuni had to use public service vehicle because his father’s car was not in good condition. This infuriated Asiya Omondi.
Prof. Kimani and his spouse Asiya Omondi were inconsolable over their daughter’s death.
In the evening, Asiya drops a bombshell to her husband that she would be leaving.
She says Newborn Walomu, the MP and Professor’s former junior colleague, had asked to marry her. Asiya Omondi feels Tuni would be alive if Prof. Kimani had — she wouldn’t have used the public service vehicle a real car that caused the fatal accident.
She left the following morning to Newborn Walomu’s place.
Prof. Kimani goes for Newborn Walomu and petitions why he had decided to take his wife. A scuffle begins at the MP’s office. The police come in and arrest both.
Prof Kimani is charged with “assaulting a Member of Parliament.” His university demotes him from a full Professor to a senior lecturer, the point he started at when he joined the university. A six months’ jail term follows. He’s a dejected man.
Meanwhile, Prof. Kimani hears a knock at the door.
A white man of about 50 is standing outside, ICs Mr. Tad Longway.
After a lengthy discussion, Mr. Longway asks Prof. Kimani to join AGDA whose mission is to question Africa’s status quo.
He further asks him to follow Path Alpha, a strategy built on the idea that a present, public discontent exprcsscs itself in acts that cancel out instead of adding up.
Path Alpha will correct the anomaly by “mobilizing civic discontent into will to change.” Mr. Longway tells Prof. Kimani if he joins Path Alpha he would go down for orientation at their headquarters in Cape Town and he will also attend the next summit of Africa’s heads of state in Banjul, Gambia.
He’s enlisted as a member of Path Alpha the following day. The loss of his daughter, desertion by his wife, mistreatment by his university and state had tested him hard and long. He had reached the boiling point.
Fathers of Nations Chapter Four (Pg.46-65)
The Voice of America (VOA) Contract
Ms. Fiona McKenzie gets into a taxi, leaves The Seamount Hotel and heads back to her office. She had indicated to her boss that she would be at the office in an hour’s time.
It takes longer to get to the office because of the roadblocks that were basically everywhere.
She is stopped at Arch Number 22. The police wanted a bribe from the taxi driver, an unemployed graduate. So she reaches her workplace/office late.
Ms. McKenzie goes straight to see her boss who informs her that he is pulling her from her assignment at the summit at the Pinnacle Hotel. He explains himself. He seconds her to the VOA. She is now on a two-year loan from the Gambian News to the Voice of America with immediate effect.
In retrospect, there was a time when US policy forbade the Voice of America to broadcast in America. The image was bad for VOA. It had to go. The more reason VOA was employing non-Americans.
Mr. Robert Manley, chief of the bureau, met her at the entrance then led her to the office. Mr. Manley instructed her that because there was a breaking story, she would start her job immediately.
Her new pay is better than what Gambian News was offering and paying.
She is introduced to a staff mate, a new arrival from America, Nicolas Sentinel, a communications Technician.
The breaking story is that a summit of Africa’s heads of state would begin shortly at the Pinnacle Hotel. Sentinel would be handy in her working. She learns that Sentinel has records of many proceedings in Gambia including Ms. McKenzie’s interview with Dr. Afolabi. From the recordings, Sentinel confirms that there is a man talking to a total of four other men.
Ms. McKenzie is taken to her new office and Mr. Manley rushes to a meeting at the Ministry of Foreign affairs.
Meanwhile, Dr. Afolabi tosses in his bed sleeplessly for nearly an hour before he finally dozes off.
Dr. Afolabi’s phone rings. He answers it is Miss Fiona Mckenzie Ms. McKenzie asks Dr. Afolabi if he could nicet her.
He comes out to meet her but does not find her. While he readies to go back to his room, a voicc of a woman, about 30 years cries out for help.
The young woman is in a company of a man. The hotel attendant looks detached and aloof.
The young woman being whisked away is noted to be McKenzie.
She shouts out Dr. Afolabi’s name and this strikes him to rush to her aid.
Dr. Afolabi faces the alleged abductor who says he’s Leo otherwise referred to as Liberian mauler.
A fight between Dr. Afolabi and Leo, the Liberian Mauler erupts. Dr. Afolabi wins the war and whisks McKenzie away to his room.
They go to Dr. Afolabi’s suite where she scraps his face and he helps her change her clothing and freshen up.
In the meantime, a phone rings. The caller is Chineke Chiamaka After the call, his mood darkens.
Fiona McKenzie shares a lot about VOA and the story in Nicolas Sentinel’s machine, silent listener, which has recorded so many things in the last two days.
They spent the night at Dr. Afolabi’s suite.
Fathers of Nations Chapter Five (Pg.66-81)
Dr. Afolabi The Guide
Before Dr. Afolabi was invited to Banjul to serve as an advisor to summit of heads of state, he had previously been guest at the Foundation for Democratic Rule in Washington to give a key note address at the annual conference.
Dr. Afolabi was married to Pamela from Boston, US.
Dr. Afolabi’s invitation to Washington had given the couple a chance to visit Pamela’s father, a widower who lived in Boston.
Dr. Afolabi fondly remembers Pamela’s dad through a watch that could help one check pressure, memory among other things.
Dr. Afolabi while walking about Boston, he bought a razor at five dollars and twentythree cents. Later, he rejoins his wife at her father’s home.
Later, while in a flight out of Washington back to Nigeria, Dr. Afolabi meets Tad Longway. Mr. Longway is the Director of special projects at the Agency for Governance and Development in Africa (AGDA). The two exchange pleasantries and contacts. From their talk, Tad Longway had listened to Dr. Afolabi’s address and liked it and termed it brilliant.
Mr. Longway says Africa in its present state has two new arrivals: corruption and impunity. HC asks Dr. Afolabi if he would be interested in the adventure that is being sponsored by AGDA whose underlying idea is mobilizc discontent with Africa in its present state into a will to change it. Dr. Afolabi consents.
Dr. Afolabi confirms to Mr. Tad Longway that heads of state had invited him to the summit to give them his views on Way Omega.
Mr. Tad Longway introduces and proposes an alternative to Way Omega, and that is Path Alpha which differs from the former like day and night. Whereas Way Omega istop driven and lacks the will for implementation, Path Alpha is bottom-led and has that will; therefore he asks Dr. Afolabi to guide four Path Alpha travelers and adherents whom AGDA is sending as observers to the very summit he’ll be as an advisor.
Mr. Tad Longway hands Path Alpha document to Dr. Afolabi and asks him to remainwith Way Omega so that they could find a way to they could get to the summit.
Meanwhile, Dr, Afolabi and his wife, Pamela, are back in Nigeria.
Their houseboy reports that while the couple were away somebody came to their house uninvited. When questioned, Issa, the houseboy did not give an answer. In fact he says he let the person into their bedroom.
The uninvited man surfaces. Dr. Afolabi and the man converse in Yoruba. Pamela is dismayed at the unfolding. She learns in utter disbelief that her husband and the man in question knew each other very well.
Femi, the uninvited guest and with a scar, is a cousin to Dr. Afolabi. The two grew up together in Kaduna.
Under instructions from the family, Femi had brought a second wife to Dr. Afolabi without his consent because Pamela was not giving bath. Pamela was not happy.
Furious and angry, Pamela runs out only to reappear with a broomstick chasing the young girl (Nimbo) she had found in her matrimonial bed. Femi discloses that the folks back at home are the choreographers of the whole scheme.
Pamela is extremely annoyed with the scheme of having Nimbo as her co-wife. She is worked up! She demands that the two (Femi and Nimbo) must leave her house. Dr.Afolabi comes to their defense arguing that it’s late at night and that if the two have to leave then that should be in the morning. Pamela still insisted that they should leave that night. Her demands fall on deaf ears.
Enraged at her husband’s lackluster in handling the matter, Pamela leaves that very night.
A week later, Pamela calls Dr. Afolabi from her father’s home in Boston. She informs him that she had filed a divorce.
Fathers of Nations Chapter Six (Pg. 82-99)
Comrade Melusi joins ADGA
It’s in Banjul, Gambia, the congregation venue for the summit. The summit kicks off.
Being the first day of the summit, the most important event of the day is the official opening of the summit. Key participants are the 50 heads of state.
Security at the venue is very tight. Comrade Ngobile Melusi waited in a line to be cleared, His turn finally comes. He is found with a needle, one of the many things disallowed into the hall. There is an argument between Comrade Melusi and the security officer but later on, he is cleared and allowed into the hall.
In the meantime, in a flashback, more details about Comrade Ngobile Melusi are divulged.
Comrade Melusi is having lunch with his visitor at Chaminuka restaurant in downtown, Harare. It’s about 1:30 PM; the restaurant is empty except for the two:
Comrade Melusi and his visitor. The Zimbabweans did not eat in hotels anymore unless as now someone else was footing the bill. Their economy had crushed.
Lunch was the visitor’s idea. There was a subject he wanted to discuss, he had told Melusi. His name is Tad Longway, a Director Special Projects at AGDA: Agency for Governance and Development in Africa.
The leader of Zimbabwe and Comrade Melusi had fought Smith side by side for years and that is why he used to call him comrade. Then Zimbabwe got her independence. A new national anthem was sang: in English, Blessed be the land of Zimbabwe,then in Shona, the language of Zimbabwe’s largest ethnic group: Simudzaimureza weZimbabwe. In Ndebele (Melusi’s mother tongue):
Kalibusisweilizwe leZimbabwe, national motto was “unity, freedom and work.”
After all these, the new ruler did not appoint Comrade Melusi a minister after fighting for Zimbabwe together.
The ruler, a Shona, threw Melusi, a Ndebele out of government and he now deemed Melusi an opponent.
The leader of Melusi’s group was sacked. When these news hit southern Zimbabwe where the Ndebele live, anti-government riots erupted. People went on rampage and attacked every government supporter foolish enough to come to their sight.
Retribution against them followed.
There swooped in the area the fifth brigade, better known as GUKURUHUNDI, Shona word for year’s rainstorm that washes chaff off the fields so that soil tilling could start. It washed off the Ndebele insurgents like chaff. All this happened while Melusi was still at work, in a business office down town Bulawayo, the capital of Ndebele.
Comrade Melusi’s wife, Ziliza, was one of those killed in the government’s execution.
The ruler, a Shona, could not trust anybody away from his Shona tribesmen. To him, all Ndebeles, Melusi included had become rivals. The man had changed according to Melusi because he wanted to be life president.
Meanwhile, Comrade Melusi takes the visitor to Muponda restaurant at the northern edge of Harare for he had asked for traditional food.
Melusi initiated an opposition group: The New Independence Party (NIP) and ran for president just to irritate the ruler. The ruler got 99% of the votes while Melusi and all other candidates shared the 1% in the elections.
Elections had been preceded by a drought, thc worst of the time until the ruler declared it a national disaster. Moreover, the international community clamped on Zimbabwe a program called Structural Adjustment Program (SAP) with this they knew the ruler would flop for everything spelt defeat, so his win was through rigging elections.
Opposition leaders refused to unite and fight the common enemy. When they all lost, for half an hour they necdcd to declare that elections were a sham, they had to come together. Joint condemnation of the bungled elections led to disaffection. So Melusi went back to his business.
Inflation eroded incomes. Melusi relocated to a slum in a poor part of Harare. Then came Murambatsvina, Shona word for trash. Bull dozers went from one slum to the next evicting residents by tearing their homes to the ground.
All including Comrade Melusi were expelled without notice. Murambatsvina’s real aim to the ruler was to prevent disease and crime. Instead, disease and crime increased. It is true the main aim was to punish the urban poor for supporting opposition parties.
Tad Longway cleared the hotel bill and reached out to his side pocket for another stack of American dollars and handed it to Comrade Melusi. Thereafter, he handed a document titled Path Alpha to him and told him that it contained the subject matter hewanted them to discuss i.e. mobilizing discontent with Africa in its present state into will to change it.
Tad Longway asks Comrade Melusi if he would join the movement.
Fathers of Nations Chapter Seven Summary (Pg. 100-104)
Before the Summit
Before the summit begins, the host thinks he should break the ice by going from guest to guest to create rapport.
He first goes to the president of Nigeria because of what was discovered later on as the poles of influence: pure power, technology, simple alliances with one or more of the other poles and sheer obstinacy.
He shares light moments with the seventy- year-old, a full general but now retired.
Pastor Chiamaka sits in a back row among the observers following the summit keenly and quietly.
The host president then moves to the president of South Africa then to the president of Kenya for he knew the strategic importance of associating with these two countries after Nigeria.
Prof. Kimani is in the hall watching the president of Kenya at the back of the hall.
From here, he moves to greet the Zimbabwean president. In equal measure Comrade Melusi, now scowling at the man from a seat in a row back hates his president intensely.
Later, guided by the pole of influence that where everybody exercises powers within agreed rules, the simple refusal to abide by those rules exalts one as influential. The leader of Libya is good at this. On this account, the Gambian president (host) goes to greet the president of Libya. Engineer Tahir looks on uninterested. Engineer Tahir studies him from the back of the hall. Once he had been one of the man’s greatest admirers, not any more.
Fathers of Nations Chapter Eight (Pg.105-116)
The arrest of Pastor Chineke Chiamaka
In a flashback, the chapter introduces a reckless driver. The reckless driver is Chineke Chiamaka. Most people hated him for this carclcss and reckless driving except for one person; his brother Obinna an evening student at the University of Lagos. Chineke Chiamaka adores Lagos.
One evening after dropping off his younger brother Obinna, Chineke Chiamaka was to drive to his office at Earth Movers Limited. Unfortunately, by taking the route he chose, he drove into trouble: Holy Camp.
Chiamaka drove against the flowing current of vehicles and rammed into a mean machine; a fire engine, massive and unstoppable. His Mercedes flew off the road and spun in the air several times before landing on the road again.
He escaped without serious injuries. The fire engine was nowhere. Not a single motorist stopped to check on him. That was the norm in Nigeria. Motorists never stopped at an accident scene on Nigerian highways.
Because of the many miracles he had witnessed, he turned to religion-he became a preacher. Chiamaka with time acquired preaching skills. He preached everywhere.
One Sunday he gave a very powerful preaching captioned, “God is watching you.” The sermon was excellent. It was witty and persuasive.
The sermon for the following Sunday was totally opposite: combative. He preached about the government’s failure to deal with the issues bedeviling her nation.
The following morning (Monday) police picked him up and for the next two weeks he shared a rat-infested cell with smelly inmates. At the beginning of the third week, his jailers set him free. However, his luck was limited. The police banned him from preaching.
Two years later, a deep voice called him “Listen to good news about Africa.” Good news for change. Now good news about Africa is hard to find and difficult to hear. So listen carefully. AGDA has just come up with a fresh approach to Africa’s development: Path Alpha.
Pastor Chineke Chiamaka did not hear more. He signed.
Fathers of Nations Chapter Nine (Pg.117-125)
Engineer SeifTahir loses his left eye.
After graduating from Abdelaziz Academy in Tripoli, Libya, Engineer Seif Tahir had left Libya and gone to study weapons development at the University of Paris. Some skeptics scoffed at him.
He returned from overseas (France) on the day the leader of Libya was celebrating his twentieth year in power. The leader’s opponents were not happy with these celebrations. Engineer
Tahir dismissed them as “crackpots left alone and ignored.” He believed the ruler had the right vision for Libya and so was the right person to rule it. He defended the ruler.
Engineer Tahir joined the “Fist for Allah” after his return from the overseas. In a happy coincidence, the leader of Libya adored the “Fist of Allah.” He gave it all the money it asked for.
Al-Qaeda struck on the American soil. The leader of Libya knew America would retaliate and not necessarily with bounds of reason. He scrambled for his bases to shield Libya from America’s revenge. He even dismantled thc “Fist of Allah” itself.
Engineer Tahir would have learnt to live with anything but not with the dismantling of the “Fist of Allah.” This was the beginning of Tahir’s dislike for the leader. The dismantling of the “Fist of Allah” was shirq or sacrilege, an offense so dreadful that it was eternally unforgivable.
Angry beyond words, Engineer Tahir now hated the man he had once liked. No more was the leader of Libya his hero. He had become a villain.
Meanwhile, dismantling of the “Fist of Allah” coincided with the peaking of unrelated crisis: “the accident.”
Engineer Tahir fell in love with Rahma Mahmoud, a female member of the “Fist of Allah” and Engineer Tahir’s junior staff mate at the weapons laboratory. He approached her. She did not say anything. Later, she smiled and after sometime, she said no.
Engineer Tahir misinterpreted the sweet no to a sour no and reacted to it violently.
Unwisely, he vowed to retaliate.
Engineer Tahir slapped Rahma Mahmoud in the name of administering discipline to her for shedding her head veil in public which was in violation of the Libyan culture.
But the truth was he did it to take revenge against someone who he thought had rejected his advances.
Discipline, revenge or whatever it in fact was, Rahma, did not take it lying low. She struck back and hit his left eye and slit it open. That was “the accident.” Engineer Tahir lost his left eye.
Engineer Tahir was hospitalized and discharged after a month. Turned bitter and vengeful, Engineer Tahir to Ms. Mahmoud to court. After proceedings, the made a ruling basing on Hammurabic verdict: an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.
With this ruling, Rahma Mahmoud also lost her left eye through surgery.
Engineer Tahir sank into deep gloom. He refused to shake it off even after friends talking to him. When they (friends) persisted, he left Tripoli and moved east to live alone in Benghazi.
There were two reasons for Engineer Tahir’s gloom. One was object, forcing and lifeless. He got it after losing an eye in what he used to call “the accident.” The other was “the effect”, deep and weakening. This he got when he decided to have an artificial replacement for the eye he had lost.
While at Benghazi, Engineer Tahir ran into a green-eyed stranger at a street-side café.
The two got talking, mostly about the history of Libya; one such story was that Libya was inhibitedby Phoenicians and Greeks.
The other man said he was a Berber. The two had long conversations about Libya.
The visitor introduced himself as Mr. Tad Longway.
Mr. Tad Longway described the mission that had brought him to Benghazi. Engineer Tahir enlisted on the spot.
Fathers of Nations Chapter Ten (Pg.126-140)
The Seamount Observers
The youth (Nick) phones her immediately after lunch Fiona McKenzie goes to see Nicolas Sentinel in his office. She’s told to meet the silent listener.
From the recordings on the silent listener, Nick says that there could be something fishy going on at the summit; a secret agenda by people whose identities are yet to be figured out beyond their names. There is a network of people whom he refers to as nodes. Four nodes (people) are not connected to each other.
There are conversations over cell phones between a man and four others. While the other man knew names of the other four, he insisted they just call him guide, a fake name. it turns out the guide is a hub-node then those other nodes are the four men:
Prof. Kimani, Comrade Mclusij PastorChiamaka and Engineer Tahir. The nodes are at The Seamount Ilotel.
Nick says he uses the Global Positioning System (GPS) as a way of deterrnining location.
The four nodes are not in communication with each other. All the four are communicating to only one person- their guide, the hub-node. He is their leader. He is also within The Seamount Hotel, second floor, central wing. Meanwhile, at The Seamount Hotel’s reception hall guests are flowing in.
McKenzie navigates her way across the hall, dodging guests and then makes some inquiries at the reception desk.
It’s later revealed the person on the second floor, central wing room 2059 is Tad Longway.
Fiona McKenzie has come to check on Dr. Afolabi. In due course, she gathers more details about the hub-node on the central wing, second floor.
Using the telephone booth at the hotel, she calls Tad Longwaye She notices that Tad Longway had dropped an article that looked valuable, The article is in her custody.
She calls and manages to convince him to collect his article. He came over. They met. She hands over the article. She gives him a key card to her office at VOA.
He looks at the key card and returns it back to her. Mr. Tad Longway offers to buy a drink for Fiona McKenzie.
Elsewhere, Dr. Afolabi as he is preparing to go to bed, going through the notes on the presidents’ debate one more time, someone knocks at the door. It is Ms Fiona McKenzie. He usheres her in. They share pleasantries.
Ms Fiona McKenzie informs Dr. Afolabi that she has tracked Mr. Longway and inquires if Dr. Afolabi knows him, after some hesitation he agrees that he knows him.
Mr. Longway and four other people alongside Dr. Afolabi, working from the periphery of the Summit, their guide, want the summit to adopt Path Alpha instead of Way Omega. The two are rival groups.
The greatest challenge is that Path Alpha is not even on the summit’s agenda so Mr.
Longway and his accomplices want Dr. Afolabi to help them get Path Alpha on the summit’s agcnda.
Dr. Afolabi came to advocate for Way Omega and he will. However, in doing so, hewill draw in other alternatives including Path Alpha.
Dr. Afolabi on learning that Nick is the source of all the information about the five people, he’s keen on meeting Nick.
Fathers of Nations Chapter Eleven (Pg.141-149)
Meeting the Guide
Pastor Chiamaka goes through the Pinnacle Hotel’s security clearance formalities without difficulty and enteres the dining room with ease.
According to the program, heads of state should have had a small dinner at the Pinnacle Hotel the day before the real banquet on the last day of their summit. That small dinner at the Pinnacle Hotel dinner was cancelled without explanation. So Chiamaka’s intended plan to meet his president and ask him about Way Omega failed.
Chiamaka’s mobile phone rings, he picks it up. The caller on the other end is in jovial mood. It is the guide calling. The guide informs Pastor Chiamakathat he has scheduled a meeting that is soon to bring together Chiamaka and four other people alongside the guide.
Pastor Chineke Chiamaka is invited to room 2059, central wing of The Seamount Hotel. This is the room where the guide is.
Meanwhile, as Comrade Melusi is in bed flat on his back, day dreaming about his late wife, Ziliza, and reaches for his wallet and pulls out her photograph, his mobile phone rings.He answers. The caller reminds Melusi how he almost failed the security test when the security officers nearly uncovered him.
Comrade Melusi is also invited to the very meeting in an hour’s time without fail.
Comrade Melusi returns to the wife’s photograph. In an apostrophe, he promises his late wife (photograph) that he will see to it that the person who killed her shall die to underscore this promise, he rises on his feet, stands at attention, executes a wobbly salute and intones an oath. The following day, he swears he will have revenge.
In the meantime, as Prof. Kimani is brushing his teeth , readyino for bed, the mirror before him shows he was loose everywhere; his belly hungs over his belt like a half empty sack. Loose. He tries to suck it in. it stays put. His face had wrinkles like a dry prune. Loose. The folds of his skin ran on the left and right of his nose down to the left and right sides of the mouth. Loose. He tried to smile them away. They refuse to leave. The flesh under his chin hungs and shakes. Loose. Was getting old a process of wholesale loosening?
His mobile phone interrupts his analysis. Prof Kimani is invited in an hour’s time alongside others to room 2059, central wing of The Seamount Hotel.
Elsewhere, Engineer Tahir is all set to turn in. his phone rings while he is still engrossed in thoughts about his eye. The caller had left a note for Engineer Tahir about an hour ago. HC gets the note. The caller reminds him that they will meet in an hour’s time, room 2059, central wing.
The material day is here. Dr. Afolabi arrives early. Mr. Tad Longway had requested to come early to broach the meeting with him before if began.
Other participants of the meeting arrive. When all have taken their seats, Mr. Longway rises since he knows them all and they didn’t know each other. He leads them through introduction.
Mr. Longway turnsto serious business. He tells the four that ostensibly that at the summit as observers were there for four reasons. Dr. Afolabi then takes over to describe how the mission is to be executed. Dr. Afolabi introduces himself and tells them that he is the one previously known as guide. The four could not believe their eyes and ears.
Dr. Afolabi explains that he had been invited to the summit as an advisor for Way Omega, while the four havr come as advocates of Path Alpha, a rival group. Such being the case, he feels he can not openly work with them without appearing to undermine his official role. He also discloses that he studied closely both PathAlpha and Way Omega closely and feels duty-bound to balancehis views on each of the documents in the advice he will give to the summit.
He seeks for their forgiveness under the prevailing circumstances. They agree with him.
Dr. Afolabi shares that nations don’t host summits just for the sake of amusing foreign visitors and Gambia is no exception.
They do so out of self-interest and their presidents themselves usually accept the honor of serving as summit chair, but this time round Gambia’s president declines the honor because he expects the summit to turn bitter and the chair to end up pleasing some heads of state and displeasing others. Since he reckons he can serve his country’s interest best if he pleases all and displeases none.
Dr. Afolabi indicates that it’s important to take care of this unique situation because the new chair has up his sleeves, a play he calls The Trick which is good for them.
This play opens the door for Path Alpha.
Dr. Afolabi proposes that they go and think about the whole thing so that the following day in the summit during the speaker’s microphone session, they raise the issue at hand.
Fathers of Nations Chapter Twelve (Pg. 150-167)
The national anthem for Gambia, our homeland strikes The Gambian president stands up and marches to the speaker’s microphone and seated before him are 49 fellow heads of state. He digs out from a breast pocket a prepared speech. He then reads it. In his short speech he avers that the task of the summit is to adopt a common growth strategy for their people: Way Omega. Then he officially opens the meeting.
H.E Miniko Menkiti, president of an important country is the chair after the Gambian president declined. Flanking the chair on his left and right are two other summiteers: Mr. Tiku Zinto on his right, a Minister of Development Planning in an Island country.
Dr. Afolabi, here as an advisor is to the help the summit along if asked to is sitting on the chair’s left.
The chair calls Mr. Tiku Zinto as the first speaker. He underscores the need for change and is in support of Way Omega.
Dr. Afolabi is the next speaker. In his seven minutes, he makes two requests. One, to share the seven minutes with the five friends and two he presents another document he would say something about if he were given 15 minutes.
The chair accepts the two requests despite protests from Mr. Tiku Zinto.
The document titled Path Alpha is distributed. Dr. Afolabi as he had requested shares his seven minutes with friends who want to greet the summit: Tad Longway, Chineke Chiamaka, Prof. Kimani, Engineer Tahir and Comrade Melusi.
Comrade Melusi during his time to greet the summit, does not speak, he marches to where the ruler of Zimbabwe is he wants to avenge his wife Ziliza.
Pandemonium reigns in every corner of the summit hall. Only after great effort does the chair manage to restore order.
Dr. Afolabi then concludes by saying he had read both documents: Way Omega and Path Alpha very carefully and his opinion is that Way Omega is big on ideas and Path Alpha small (on ideas), on the other hand he says Way Omega is weak on the implementation of those ideas while Path Alpha is strong.
The debate by the heads of state gets off at a sluggish start. The heads of state then take a break and come back after an hour. Some of the presidents who make their contributions are Didier Bangoura, Simba Ibarosa, King Jemba Jemba IV, Bibo Dibonso and Wasi Wasi Wesiga. The latter is able to spot brewing trouble and introduces a new idea: The Trick. He proposes two measures to relieve tension: adjournment of the session and two to ask a small group among the presidents i.e Simba Ibarosa, Yamlaza Gamlozi and Didier Bangoura to form a committee and see how best the summit can proceed from that point.
The meeting is adjourned.
Fathers of Nations Chapter Thirteen (Pg. 168-172)
The Choice Matrix
Dr. Afolabi visits Fiona Mckenzie. He follows the directions he had been given by her.
He is warmly welcomed. It’s evening. A few minutes later, there’s a knock at the door.
Nicolas Sentinel comes in.
Dr. Afolabi and Mr. Nicolas Sentinel meet face to face for the first time. Dr. Afolabi has been looking forward to this great opportunity. He thanks Nick for having given him the tip of
The Trick that enabled him managc to put Path Alpha on the summit’s agenda.
Dr. Afolabi says that African prcsidcnts condemn trouble nnakcrs but ironically some of them are troublc makers. If the heads of state would have had prior knowledge of The Trick, they would have plotted mischief against it.
Nick reveals that his silent listener has told him that a method for choosing between Way Omega and Path Alpha had been found and that The Method Committee has named it The Choice Matrix.
Dr. Afolabi has organized for observer status for Ms. Fiona McKenzie at the summit the following day and he says he can do the same for Nick. Nick accepts and says he could ask his boss Bob (Mr. Robert Manley) to tag along.
They both leave, Nick first then followed by Dr. Afolabi.
Fathers of Nations Chapter Fourteen
(PA 73-185) The Homestretch
The summit reconvenes. The mood is expectant, yet jittery, hope and fear hang in the air in equal measure.
Heads of state hope The Method Committee that had been formed the previous evening has done its work and found a method they will use to choose between Way
Omega and Path Alpha. They fear their pick of committee leader might have killed this prospect even before it was born.
President Bangoura, the chair of the committee, has surprisingly told the heads of state that he had not read and will never read the documents.
There is a change in the sitting arrangement: Minister Zinto has moved to a place farther from the summit chair to create space for President Bangoura, the chair of The Method Committee.
The other two remain at the places they had sat before. Among the observers at the back row are three new presences:
Mr. Robert Manley, the chief of the local VOA bureau, Ms. Fiona McKenzie and Mr.Nicolas Sentinel.
Mr. Longway, Prof. Kimani and Pastor Chiamaka except Comrade Melusi are present. Comrade Melusi is not around because he was arrested the previous evening. The chair of the summit calls the
meeting to order and gets straight to the main business. He asks the chair of The Method Committee to present to the summit the findings on the wayforward on choosing between Way Omega and Path Alpha.
President Bangoura, the chair of The Method committee, makes his presentation.
The method they had settled on as a committee was a table with four cells. They called it The Choice Matrix. He further gives more details and explaines on how the method works.
Minister Zinto questions the method and terms it a total nonsense. Dr. Afolabi also petitions the method. He says The Choice Matrix sounds complicated. Trouble looms. Sensing trouble, the chair quickly moves in to avert trouble before it erupts.
He asks members to break for 15 minutes for a breather.
When the summit resumes, the breather seems to have done its expected job. It had rejuvenated the old man (chair) with second round youth.
President Bangoura picks up from where he had left. HC calls the chair of the summit, Minister Zinto and Dr. Afolabi in front to where he is standing and tosses a coin.
From the two tosses, it is decided and declared that Path Alpha was the choice.
To cap the meeting, Pinnacle Hotel informs the summit that ithas organized a closing ceremony on the mezzanine floor.
The summit is then declared officially closed. President Dibonso challenges the decision that Path Alpha has won. He also challenges the method used: The Choice Matrix.
An argument between him and the chair begins. President Dibonso pulls out a pocket size pistol, the other heads of state scramble to hide under their desks.
The summit chair presses a panic button hidden under his desk. Commandos armed with machine guns burst into the summit hall. They cock their guns. President Dibonso disables his little gun, hides it away and then slipps through an emergency exit.
All other heads of state rush to the exits swearing not to return for the summit’s closing ceremony.
The commandos then escort the chair out of the summit hall. Mr. Manley and Nick
leave for their places of work; so are Dr. Afolabi and Ms. McKenzie.
Mr. Longway and his three other men (Prof. Kimani, Pastor Chiamaka and Engineer Tahir) are last to leave. As they are leave, they hug and cheer. Against all odds, their Path Alpha had carried the day.
Father of Nations THEMES/ISSUES/THEMATIC CONCERNS
A theme is an idea that recurs in or pervades a work of art or literature. A theme could also be a subject of discourse discussion, meditation, composition or topic.
Moreover, a theme can also be scen as a central idea in a piece of writing or other works of art. Further, in contemporary literary studies, a theme is can also be scen as a central topic, subject or tnessage within a narrative or work of art. In addition, most common understanding of theme is an idea or point that is central to a story.
Along with plot, character, style and setting, theme is considered one of the key components a work of art. The following are some of the explored themes in the novel.
Poor leadership is one of the main themes in the novel
African leaders are portrayed as people who cannot give a sense of direction to their counties. Instead they are shown as flawed human beings who cannot rise to the challenges of their times. They are people experimenting with various ideological positions originating from different places. They were to discuss Way Omega but found nowhere; Path Alpha finds its way on the agenda and is passed as a way forward.
The book goes ahead to portray how dysfunctional most African countries are. The leadership in the African content is poor, insincere and out of touch with the happenings on the ground. The so called presidents at the summit have very little to share, the confusion is too much and the agenda not clear, no wonder the sumnlit ends in disarray.
Unfortunately, in their hopclcssncss thc citizens continue to entertain a leadership that is blind to their plight.
The Fathers of Nations are mccting at Banjul, Gambia just to fulfill their calendar needs, Their meeting is jumbled up and predetermined by a few of them who hold the meeting hostage.
Mistrust among thc prcsidcnts (Fathers of Nations) is rife. Fight breaks out after a disagrccment in thc summit
The chair of the summit seems to be quite subjective. He does not give room to dissenting voices from summiteers such as Mnister T. Zinto.
In the eyes of Asiyo, Professor Kimani’s wife, poor leadership has translated to poor roads which in the long run have aggravated accidents. His only daughter dies through an accident. Consequently, desperation sets in leading to a divorce.
The leader of Comrade Melusi’s group is sacked because of coming from the Ndebele tribe while the country’s leader comes from the populous Shona. In Zimbabwe, all those from the Southern side (Ndebele) whom the leader construes and perceives to be against the government are whipped out.
Pastor Chineke Chiamaka is arrested and put in police custody for preaching about the government’s failure to deal with the issues bedeviling the nation. When he’s later on released, he’s banned from preaching.
The heads of state pick President Bangoura who had said he would not look at two documents as chairman of a committee that is to look at the document and provide direction.
The novel also paints a devastating picture of people on a knife’s edge of daily survival International imperialistic networks of control have captured and imprisoned the continent. African countries are sucked into meaningless loans with International financial institutions.
These development loans have unrealistic demands. As a result, the continent continues to sink into the abyss of poverty. It’s in Africa where learned people are impoverished and made beggars. This is a society that does not value knowledge but cherishes ignorance. Prof. Kimanijoins the University of Nairobi directly as a senior lecturer from the University of Oxford. At that time, a lecturer earns more than a Member of Parliament. Later, parliament stages a coup and the results are that an MP wakes up to a hundred times the income ofa professor.
Comrade Melusi notes that in Zimbabwe, it was not easy for people to eat in a hotel.
He further notes that for those who eat in hotel have visitors/foreigners to foot the bills. At Chaminuka Restaurant, Tad Longway clears the bill for himself and that of Comrade Melusi.
The international community clamps on Zimbabwe a program called Structural Adjustment Program (SAP) since the country is undergoing very difficult economic times.
African leadership is poor of innovative and creative ideas that would spur economic growth among the Africa states.
Vitta also shares that corruption is endemic in Africa. The vice has disastrous effects on the continent’s economies. It also affects the cohesion of communities and social contracts, which are vital pillars for building nations.
Wars and organized criminal networks distract the dcvclopmcnt of some countries.
The networks control all the political and economic opportunities. Corruption is a pandemic in African countries.
Bribery is the order of the day in Banjul, Gambia. Ms. Fiona McKenzie is stopped at Arch Number 22. The police demand a bribe from her driver, an unemployed graduate.
Mr. Tad Longway in his submission to Dr. Afolabi says that Africa in its present state has two new arrivals: corruption and impunity. This affirms that corruption is a vice that is rampant in Africa, almost the oxygen of the African countries.
In the elections held in Zimbabwe, Comrade Melusi and all other candidates together garner 1% of the total votes cast while the ruler gets 99% after all the challenges that precede the elections thereby negatively painting the ruler and his government his government as unpopular. Additionally it points to some unorthodox means that must have been used to get 99% of the votes cast: rigging.
Mr. Tad Longway apart from clearing bills for their meals he also gives Comrade Melusi a stack of American dollars and thereafter gives him a document titled Path Alpha. This ‘ ‘gift” could be construed as a means to wield influence on his decision.
Tad Longway offers to buy a drink for Ms. Fiona McKenzie, a journalist with Voice of America (VOA). This is the first time they are meeting at The Seamount Hotel. The offer is meant to influence what Fiona will report about Path Alpha which is being propagated by Mr. Tad Longway.
Path Alpha is not on the summit’s agenda. Mr. Tad Longway and his accomplices through Dr. Afolabi wants it on the agenda of the summit. The means through which the proposal of Path Alpha will find itself on the agenda, must be fraudulent and full of coercion.
Dr. Afolabi thanks Nick Sentinel for having given him the tip of The Trick that enabled him put Path Alpha on the summit agenda. The Trick in its exploration must be the coercion means that smells corruption.
The method used to reach the decision of settling for Path Alpha or Way Omega is a method that is not very clear. The method attracts so many questions and petitions.
It also sounds to be set to have predetermined results. This gives credit to the feeling that there must have been schemes and machinations to reach this predetermined outcome.
To some extent, Dr. Afolabi betrays the heads of state. He had been invited to provide a piece of advice on Way Omega Strategy. Little are the heads of state aware that he is at the center of the rival group (Path Alpha). He influences the introduction of Path Alpha on the agenda and also determines the outcome of the method committee.
The leader of Libya betrays Engineer Tahir. When Engineer Scif Tahir came back from Paris, France, the leader of Libya was his ‘darling’ especially after coming up with the ‘Fist of Allah’ and supported it fully. After sometime, the leader does away with this outfit and this sets him against Engineer SeifTahir.
The intellectuals/professionals and freedom fighters have been betrayed by the leadership of the continent. All the four men across Africa ; Prof Kimani, Comrade Melusi, Pastor Chiamaka and Engineer Tahir after doing a lot for their mother countries; Kenya, Zimbabwe, Nigeria and Libya respectively were and are still neglected. They are languishing in poverty and untold suffering; they have been left on their own.
The image readers also get of African leaders is that of a coalition of confused and manipulated people. They have suppressed the voices of the civilians who are mere spectators as leaders destroy their source of livelihood.
The book is a bold portrayal of post — colonial African countries. It is a continent where the most learned are impoverished because society doesn’t value knowledge. Instead, it cherishes ignorance and politicians.
African leaders, the so called the fathers ofnations have betrayed the ordinary people. They are in the offices with the mandate of taking care of the populace but tragically, this is not the case.
The ruler in Zimbabwe betrays comrade Melusi whom they fought the white man with, When Zimbabwe gains her independence, the ruler docs not remember to appoint Comrade Ngobile Melusi a
minister, instead he only focuses on his Shona people and any dissenting voice silenced.
Newborn Walomu betrays Prof. Kimani his former colleague at the university after he marries Asiyo, Prof. Kimani’s wife.
Asiyo betrays Prof. Kimani her husband. The predicament the husband gets himself in is not his making. Professors at the University of Nairobi earn peanuts compared to the Member of Parliament. Secondly, its isn’t the making for their car to be grounded to necessitate their only daughter to travel using public means and get involved in a grisly road accident. Rather it’s the economic status of the good Professor that brings about this challenge.
Yoruba culture betrays Dr. Afolabi. There could have been a better engagement between the family and Dr. Afolabi before Nimbo was dropped at Dr. Afolabi’s place as a second wife for this brings about divorce between Dr. Afolabi and Pamela, his wife.
Pamela betrays Dr. Afolabi. She does not listen to him; instead, he hurriedly opts out of marriage and goes back to Boston only to call after a week to tell him she had filed for a divorce.
Plight of Women
‘Fathers of Nations’ is basically a story of four men from different parts of Africa who despite going through different misfortunes try to influence the new document: Path Alpha. The big question is where are women?
The book is entitled Fathers of Nations. The title points to the masculinity and the role of these men folk in the predicament bedeviling the African continent. Are not there Mothers of Nations? It speaks to the patriarchal nature of the African continent.
Thus, it is challenge to the patriarchal status of Africa and pointing to the question the place of women society and the possibility of them being the alternative choice
The novel is dominated by male characters ranging from the four men front the different parts of Africa; Prof. Kimani (East) Comrade Melusi (South) Pastor Chiamaka (West ) and Engineer Tahir (North) to Dr. Afolabi, the advisor to Africa’s heads of state summit and Path Alpha enthusiast, to the VOA personnel Mr. Robert Manley and Mr. Nick sentinel.
Only one woman Ms. Fiona Mckenzie, stands out. Other women play a very minimal and peripheral role in the development of the story. Tuni dies in a road accident, her mother Asiya divorces Prof. Kimani on the account that professor’s vehicle’s condition made their daughter use a public service vehicle making their only daughter be exposed to accident. Pamela comes back to Nigeria with her husband from America to meet a woman in her bedroom. This angers her and results in her filing for divorce.
Forty — nine heads of state arrive at Banjul, Gambia for the heads of state summit.
None of this heads of state is a woman. They look happy having left their problems back at home, No wonder the title of the text is Fathers of Nations and not parents/mothers of nations. Probably this does speak to the patriarchal society Africa is and the role women played in founding these states.
Ziliza, Comrade Melusi’s wife is killed in cold blood by men believed to be the Zimbabwe’s ruler’s operatives. Though dead, her photo and memory about her psyches Comrade Melusi to avenge against the brutal ruler. Though dead, her spirit lives on, ignites and reminds Comrade Melusi, the nature of the current leadership: poor.
Rahma Mahamoud is another woman in the text. Ms. Mahmoud is a junior to Engineer Tahir. Engineer Tahir falls in love with her and proposes to her. She says no to the proposal. This response angers him. He slaps her because of an unclear reason and circumstances. She retaliates throwing a piece of glass on his eye, she’s taken to court and the court reaches a decision of her also losing an eye through surgery. They both lose an eye. This episode speaks to some cultural practices that are outdated. Were it not for the outdated culture, Engineer Tahir would not have slapped Ms. Rahma Mahmoud which led to this spiral effect of both losing an eye. It is high time some of these cultural practices are relooked at.
Neocolonialism / lmperialism
Africa is portrayed as a continent with leaders (fathers) who are confused and easily manipulated by people experimenting with various ideological positions. Probably, they need support from outside to make head and tail of their discussions, deliberations and plans they have for the continent.
With African states gaining independence, Africans were optinlistic. They believed he (whiteman) was the impediment to their self— rule and independence. They thought all the wrongs done by the colonial masters were to bc madc right by the black fathers of nations. On thc contrary, thc situation is thc same; if anything worse than when the colonial master was around.
In Kenya, through thc eyes of Prof. Kimani, the Members of Parliament, who determine their salaries, carn ten times more than professors at universities, something unprecedented. Prot Kimani intimates that when he was joining the University of Nairobi as a senior lecturer, professors earned more than members of parliament. Currently, Members of Parliament earn tenfold what Professor Kimani earns. He has the financial and economic muscle. He has three wives and is now taking Asiya (Prof. Kimani’s wife) as a fourth wife. The current crop of African leadership is now doing things worse than what the colonial masters did.
Comrade Melusi says Zimbabwe has greatly changed. He helped the current leader get out Smith (Whiteman) from Zimbabwe to gain her independence. Immediately, after the independence, the leader changed drastically. The Ndebele (among them Comrade Melusi) who helped him during the struggle have become his enemies. He fired the leader of the Ndebele nor did he appoint Melusi a minister after having helped him. Instead, it’s the Shona (the ruler’s tribe) that is given plumb jobs. Ziliza, Comrade Melusi’s wife is killed in the attack orchestrated by the government operatives.
Voice of America (VOA) at some point as the US policy forbade hiring non —Americans. The Image was bad for VOA. Mr. Robert Manley, chief of the VOA bureau, employs Ms. Fiona McKenzie to help them get as much as possible from the summit. Though, she’s on the ground collecting information, Mr. Nick Sentinel, a communication Technician has a silent listener which records conversations around The Seamount Hotel. He’s more informed about the ongoings at the hotel. He can tell the plans and even design ways to counter those maneuvers. Mr. Robert Manley
and Nick Sentinel are in — charge and can trap in all conversations so long as they are over a mobile phone.
Mr. Tad Longway, the guide is an agent of colonialism. Through him the alternative agenda of Path Alpha is a gospel that spreads across Africa from East (Kenya) to West (Nigeria), from south (Zimbabwe) to North (Libya) and finds its way on the summits agenda. Through Dr. Afolabi, Path Alpha a strategy developed and designed elsewhere by non-fathers of nations technically finds its way on the agenda and finally is adopted amidst questions.
Nick Sentinel also uses the Global Positioning System (GPS) in determining locations of all the four crusaders of Path Alpha. Beyond this, he’s able to tell the on-goings at Pinnacle Hotel where the fathers of nations are. Being attached to VOA, this speaks volumes about the security of Africa as a continent. VOA is in control of the airwaves in Africa.
Change is inevitable. Change in fathers of nations has been realized at two levels: physical and ideological.
Physically, the four men drawn from the four corners of the African continent have undergone evolution and tremendous change. Prof. Kimani after undergoing the humiliations in the hands of Newborn Walomu and the government operatives, he is a totally different man.
Comrade Melusi’s experience in the hands of the ruler of his country leaves him a bitter man. Engineer Tahir is also a depressed man courtesy of his endeavours with Ms. Rahma Mahmoud and the lack of support towards “Fist of Allah.” Meanwhile, Pastor Chiamaka is transformed after being involved in an accident to a very powerful pastor.
Ideologically, the wind of change has swept across Africa. Although the fathers of nations have scheduled to deliberate on Way Omega while at the summit, Path Alpha surprisingly finds its way on the agenda of the summit and again against all odds is the strategy that goes through and is adopted.
In the new strategy, Prof. Kimani, Pastor Chiamaka, Comrade Melusi and Engineer Tahir are hopeful that most of the challenges they are facing as a continent will be a thing of the past.
Suffering, Oppression and Death
Suffering is at different levels: psychological, physically and emotional.
Most of the sulTerings in the novel are psychological and emotional.
Many characters have undergone harrowing experiences that have brought untold suffering to them.
Prof. Kimani loses his daughter in a road accident. He also loses his wife Asiya to his former colleague at the university turn a Member of Parliament. This loss of wife brings about a fight between him and Newborn Walomu. The fight earns an arrest and charges of assault pressed on him. He’s jailed for six months and a demotion follows thereafter. All these accumulate to a dejected man which brings a lot of psychological and emotional suffering. He is a disturbed man. When Tad Longway comes along and proposes Path Alpha, he readily accepts for he finds solace in the whole thing.
After being rejected by Ms. Rahma Mahmoud, Engineer Tahir avenges by slapping her, something she does not take lying low. She retaliates and throws something at him which gets to his eye and slits it. In revenge, Engineer Tahir goes to court to seek justice and the court rules based on the Arabic law which calls for gorging out her eye in return. Because of the psychological suffering he undergoes, Tahir leaves Tripoli for Benghazi.
Comrade Ngobile Melusi undergoes psychological trauma too. After helping the ruler, he’s left to languish in poverty he is not appointed a minister. When the Ndebele leader misses out on appointment, the southern part of the country inhabited by the Ndebele demonstrate and riot. Property and lives are lost. Ziliza, Mclusi’s wife dies in the exchange. When his economic status changes and he’s forced to go and stay in the slums which are later on flattened “to create way for roads.” All these eat on the nerves of Comrade Ngobile Melusi.
Pastor Chineke Chiannaka after his controversial sermon is arrested. He’s later on releascd and given conditions among them not to preach, something very difficult to live by.
The African leaders (fathers of nations) are oppressors. They expose the common citizen to untold suffering. The four men are good narrativcs of this assertion. After falling out with the fathers of nations, Prof. Kimani, Pastor Chiamaka, Comrade the heavy and long arm of the Melusi and Engineer Tahir government meets them and does not give them room to express themselves. They have to be organized by an outside force to seek alternative way from the status quo by advocating for Path Alpha, a new strategy and discourse as opposed to Way Omega.
Apart from the physical death of Tuni , Ziliza and many others, there’s also death of vision. The fathers of nations have no vision for the continent and direction for their countries. The discussion at the summit is jerky and disorganized. There’s also death of vision of our founding fathers of nations.
The vision was to fight ignorance, disease and poverty. Several years after independence, the continent is still wallowing in miasma of confusion and stagnation.
Tribalism and Nepotism
Tribalism and nepotism is rife in African leadership and politics. With the colonial masters walking away with racism, fathers of nations of the new independent Africa walked in with tribalism and nepotism.
Despite Comrade Ngobile Melusi assisting the ruler in his home country, Zimbabwe, fight the common enemy, the white man, the ruler forgets him at the time of distributing the national cake. He only considers his Shona tribesmen for the appointment to plumb positions in his government.
He does not appoint Comrade Melusi a minister and when he denies the leader of Melusi’s tribe (Ndebele) an appointment, demonstrations erupt in thc south whcrc the Ndcbelcs stay. Ziliza, comrade Melusi’s wife is killed in the course of this brutal attack.
Dr. Afolabi’s marriage breaks because Femi — his cousin has been sent to bring another woman, a Yoruba like themselves to get married to Dr. Afolabi. To the Yoruba’s, their son Dr. Afolabi would secure his family by following the wishes of his family. This annoys Pamela who after insisting the girl should leave finally divorces Dr. Afolabi.
Disillusionment is loss of hope.
Africans have lost hope in their leadership. The ‘fathers of nations’ as they are referred to meet at Banjul, Gambia. They plan to discuss and deliberate on a strategy, Way Omega. While at the summit, another strategy, which had not been looked into, Path Alpha is plotted and after deliberations and later a toss of coin, Path Alpha is adopted.
The African leadership is painted as a visionless, directionless leadership: a leadership full of cqnfusion. Furthermore, summit degenerates into a fighting match.
In accepting to join the Path Alpha which is advocated for by the four men representing the four corners of Africa, it’s evident Africans have lost hope in the status quo. The experiences they have undergone do not give them the latitude to speak well of thc systems that be.
Though a Profcssor, Prof. Kimani is a disillusioned tnan. He has lost a wife to a former junior collcaguc at the University (Newborn Walomu) currently a Member of Parliament. He lost his only daughter (Tuni) through accident, something that would have been avoided.
After the fight with Newborn Walomu, he’s arrested and thereafter demoted to being a senior lecturer position he began at when he joined the University of Nairobi. He’s a man ready to take up Path Alpha strategy to at least breath a sigh of relief from the normal order of the day.
Comrade Ngobile Melusi is a shell of himself. He was in the forefront alongside the current leader in driving the white men out of the country. When his country gains self-independence, his hopes are ironically crashed by the very people he has helped get into power. He is not appointed a minister in the new dispensation. His tribe, the Ndebele, becomes a target community for harassment; first its leader is not considered in the new formed cabinet/government.
Further, when the Ndebele people demonstrate in what they viewed as seclusion, the government sends police officers to whip the demonstrators. Unfortunately, in the brutal attacks, Comrade Melusi loses his wife Ziliza. His business goes under necessitating his relocation to slums which again are brought down by bulldozers sent by the government in the guise of creating room for infrastructure. Indeed, he has lost hope in anything done by the current regime and so when the new idea of Path Alpha comes up, he readily joins the outfit and takes up with a lot of gusto hoping against hope that this new strategy will breathe a new lease of life in his empty and hopeless spirit.
Engineer Seif Tahir after completing his studies overseas and coming back home is quite optimistic. He is in cahoots with the Libyan leader and fully supports “Fist of Allah,” a group supported and funded by the ruler. Suddenly, the ruler abandons “Fist of Allah.” In his quest to propose to Rahma Mahmoud, his junior at the weapons laboratory, he loses his eye so does Rahma Mahmoud.
Engineer Tahir feels dejected and to cover and run away from this despair, he leaves Tripoli for Benghazi where he leads a lonely life. With this desperation in site, he falls prey of the new strategy, Path Alpha and readily accepts it for in it he sees some hope and solace.
Pastor Chiamaka epitomizes despair and loss of hope. He was a reckless driver. He gets involved in an accident that miraculously turns around his life to become a pastor. In his second sermon, he attacks the powers that be. He is arrested and only releasedand banned from preaching. Something he feels is not right. With these challenges, Pastor Chiamaka desperately accepts to join Path Alpha. In this new strategy, lies hope for the church and the Africans as a whole.
The four men from the different parts of Africa arc a microcosm of a bigger picture of Africans; that Africans have lost hope and hence clinging to any stroke that can give them any hope.
FATHERS OF NATIONS CHARACTER AND CHARACTERISATION
Characterization is the description of a character ‘s physical traits (how the character looks like) point of view, personalities, private thoughts and actions.
In Fathers of Nations by Paul B. Vitta, various characters have been used to develop the plot, other characters, themes and styles.
Dr. Abiola Afolabi
He’s a graduate of Harvard University in the USA currently teaching in the university of Ibadan, Nigeria and author of Failure of Nations as revealed by Fiona McKenzie, the journalist. He had earlier presented himself as the guide to the four men. His role in the summit was to be the advisor to the head of state.
When asked why he came to the summit , he proudly says he never came to the summit…he was invited by the president. (Pg 9)
After a comprehensive introduction by Ms McKenzie, Dr Abiola averted his eyes to enjoy the fame he had created. (Pg 6)
He gives orders to Prof, Kimani to an extent of expecting a protest from him. HC even demands that Kimani obeys him; obey professor… obey (Pg 3). He also gives the same orders and demands to be obeyed when he calls Pastor Chiamaka…..don’t argue obey. (Pg 18)
Afolabi is such a self preserved person. When asked who he is he just says he is a guide, he never wants to reveal his identity (pg 4). He even gets angered when Pastor Chiamaka insists on who he is (Pg 17).
When he meets Pamela’s father (Pg 67) he swears he would never disclose the scene to his wife Pamela (Pg 70). Afolabi is very much aware of the fact that his family are organizing for him to have another wife since his wife hasn’t given birth. He never discloses it to his wife, Pamela. (Pg 80)
At his first meeting with Prof. Kimani he successfully convinces him to join Path Alpha. To convince him he repeatedly refers to Prof Kimani’s history — something he is proud of. …from your history again …
Hot tempered/ temperamental/ short tempered
He gets furious at Ms McKenzie (Pg 9) when she informs him that her boss wants her in his office at the middle of the interview; he gets annoyed to a point when asked if he is ok he almost shouts.
When Prof. Kimani picks his call but delays to respond, the person who conceals his identity and is referred to as the guide (later learnt to be Dr.Abiola ) gets irritated very fast. (Pg 2) Tired of so many questions from Pastor Chiamaka (Pg 17) he shouts at pastor ordering him to shut his mouth.
He has two documents; Way Omega and Path Alpha. He understands what each proposes. In the summit he is given the role of ensuring that Way Omega carries the day…but he sees Path Alpha as the only solution in Africa. He devises a way of introducing Path Alpha in the summit — a rival ideology to Way Omega. He says ‘While Way Omega gives you a bird in the bush…Path Alpha presses the same bird into your hands (Pg 154). He uses the proverb…a bird at hand is worth two in the bush.
When he calls Prof. Kimani, Kimani calls him a ‘cocky educated Nigerian (Pg 4) simply because of the way he pronounces every stressed syllable and his impeccable grammar (Pg 3)
He looks down upon Fiona McKenzie (Pg 9) He thinks that Fiona is just a journalist who doesn’t know much about books. This is when Ms McKenzie terms him pessimist in his book ‘Failure of Nations’what do you know about books any way? (Pg9)
Bragging about his superiority and how special he is he also says that he never came to the meeting; instead, he was invited. Firm He orders the man carrying McKenzie carelessly by her waist to put her down. When the man asks him whether he is a man enough to repeat what he has said he says ‘Yes… yes, I told you to put her down.
Pastor Chineke Chiamaka
He was a pastor of the Church Inside Africa in Lagos, Nigeria. He was banned from preaching after attacking the government that it is supposed to take action not advice itself.
He really wants to know who the secret guide is. When told to shut up by the caller he still insists (Pg 17)
He critiques the government boldly without fear in front of his congregation. The congregants never respond because of the consequences but this never deters him from speaking his mind.
According to her the government is supposed to take action not advise itself. It is for the same reason Pastor Chiamaka is arrested and banned from preaching. (Pgl 14,115)
His sermons are persuasive. (Pg 110). …his sermon that Sunday was witty and persuasive. (Pg 114)
Short tempered /Emotional /High tempered
When the guide tells him that he had seen him at the bar Pastor Chiamaka gets annoyed. He tells him candidly that he had begun getting into his nerves. (Pg 19) .do you know what, Mr whoever you-are? You are beginning to get into my nerves…. . when asked the kind of business he had in the bar…he felt a lump of anger rise up in his throat (Pg 19). This shows that he is bitter about the question the guide asked.
When the guide lowers his temper after the two have had an argument, Chiamaka uses the opportunity to ask him once more on who he is. “…Look! You and I are supposed to be walking together, we arc on the same illusions.’ Pastor Chiamaka responds…then why won’t you tell me your real name? ‘(Pg 1 8)
When asked to identify the items in the briefcase he has received at the Seamount Hotel’s west wing, he correctly identifies them and is able to identify the phone he is using!
Professor Karanja Kimani
He is a professor at the Institute of Development Studies within the University of Nairobi, Kenya. He’s also the ex-husband of Asiya Omondi as well as father to Tuni.
He is a professor, He studied at the University of Oxford. He is a Senior Lecturer in the University of Nairobi.
He loved his wife Asiya Omondi . When Asiya wants them to separate so that she gets married to Newborn Walomu, Prof. Kimani never agrees to it.
He tries his best to convince Asiya but it falls on Asiya’s deaf ears.
He loves his daughter Tuni. He’s really traumatized when she passes on; even after the burial he morns Tuni earnestly.
He abuses Newborn Walomu as a fat baboon…a greedy fat baboon. This is when he goes to ask him why he stole his wife.
Short tempered/Hot tempered
Angry he is after Walomu steals his wife; he decides to go and attack him.
Comrade Ngobile Melusi
He’s a comrade and citizen of Zimbabwe. He’s also a politician and husband to Ziliza who lost her life to tribal clashes.
When he discovers that he is diabetic, he reads pamphlets about it with an interest similar to that which first time car owners read manuals (Pg 83). He wants to know more about diabetes hence how to manage it…this attitude pays off; he is now an authority on diabetes. (Pg 83)
He insisted that he must get in with his needle and indeed he succeeds. He never succumbs to the officer’s demands…so sir I will let you in with your medicine after all please proceed. (Pg 85)
He observes that they were the only customers yet it was 1:30 pm noting that the economy had crashed.
He loved his wife Ziliza dearly. When narrating how he to lost her, he cries.
…Comrade Melusi starts to glisten with the beginning of tears. (Pg 90)
He lies on his bed daydreaming about Ziliza. He reaches out for his wallet then pulls out her photograph…just to bring out the memories. The caller tells Melusi to come urgently to a meeting in an hour yet Comrade Melusi returns to his wife’s photo. This shows how Comrade Melusi loved his wife.
Engineer Seif Tahir
He’s engineer, a further employee of the ministry of defense in Libya. He joins ‘Fist of Allah’ right after returning from overseas. It’s later dismantled.
He feels humiliated when Rahmah Mahmoud says no to his advances. (pg 121)
He retaliates on his advances being rejected by Rahmah Mahmoud. He slaps her claiming that she shed her veil in public; a violation of the Libyan culture,
He deeply regrets that Rahmah lost her eye„.as per the court verdict the I l am muramic verdict — an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth (Pg 122) he loses peace, The author says he becomes much restless now than he has never been. (Pg 122)
He has formerly been a junior colleague of Profe Kimani at the University of Nairobi.
He is an MP… a rich MP with four cars. He ‘stole’ Prof. Kimani ‘s wife, Asiya.
When he leaves teaching, he swims in money and amasses a lot of wealth that attracts Kimani’s wife to him. (Pg 30)
Walomu has three wives and Asiya will be fourth yet he has many other women he engages in sexual activity with; those he calls ‘killed but not eaten’ (Pg 36)
He adds by saying a real bull dies with his grass on his mouth. (Pg 37)
She’s a reporter for Gambian News who’s later taken on loan by Voice Of America (VOA). She was adopted by Ian and Elspeth McKenzie; the Scottish missionaries who were in Banjul,
She jokingly tells Dr. Abiola to go take a photo because hc is young against his forty five years . ‘Go have your picture taken right now Dr Afolabi, You won’t always look this good. I am joking, go.’ (Pg6)
She thanks Dr. Afolabi for agrccing to havc an interview with her. ‘First Ict thank you for agreeing to sit for this interview.’
When her boss calls her she tells Dr Afolabi: The silly boss wants me.’ (Pg 10)
McKenzie was spiking words with bile left in her mouth by an earlier exchange (Pg 134)… She could no longer hide her anger’. (Pg 135)
Previously wife to Prof, Kimani and mother to Tuni, she divorces Prof. Kimani because of his financial status; she’s now wife to Newborn Walomu.
She choses to get married to Newborn Walomu at sixty years because he has money and four cars. He leaves Prof. Kimani because he is poor; having only one car which again is faulty. (Pg 33)
Even when Prof. Kimani says that money doesn’t guarantee happiness, she says ‘never having had it, how would you know that it doesn’t?’
When Seif Tahir slaps her she become emotional and strikes Seifin his left eye and slits it open. (Pg 122)
She slits Seif’s eye after a slight provocation from Seife President Didier Banguora
After analyzing what the first two speakers had said he came up with his support for Path Alpha. He says candidly that there is no need of adopting Way Omega because it was once adopted.
President Simba Ibarosa
He has never taken floor to make friends or amends…he is free in expressing his feelings and opinions.
President Wasiwasi Wesiga
He anticipated many coups and nipped them in the bud before they got off the ground.
At the sumnlit he reminds the chair of thc ‘trick ‘ when he realizes that the tnccting is getting out of hand, (Pgl 65)
It is his first meeting with Dr. Afolabi but he knows that he is the man serving as an adviser of the heads of state in the summit (Pg73)
He is also aware of what Way Omega and Path Alpha he tells Dr. Afolabi that Way Omega and Path Alpha differs like day and night in that Way Omega is top-driven and lacks will of implementation. Path Alpha is bottom led and it has will.
When Dr.Afolabi is adamant to accept to be the guide to for Path Alpha travelers, Tad Longway informs him that there is no problem since he’s the advisor to the summit. He tells him to look at what Way Omega is recommending for adoption and what Path Alpha is proposing as an alternative. He tells him that he is open minded. (Pg 74)
STYLES AND STYLISTIC DEVICES
This is the most dominant style in the text, It is a direct conversation between two or more characters or a conversation between two different groups of people or a conversation between an individual and a certain group of people in thetext. It has mainly been used to activate and dramatize several conflicts in the text.
- There is dialogue between the guide (Mr.Abiola) and the four strangers who check in at the Seamount Hotel at Banjul. (Professor Kimani, Pastor Chiamaka, Comrade Melusi and Tahir) as he gives them the directives from AGDA (Pgs, 2,16, 19).
- There is use of dialogue between the journalist Ms. Mckenzie and (the guide) Dr.Afolabi whereby Fiona calls Dr. Afolabi for the interview. (Pg4 -7)
- Dialogue happens between Tuni and her dad, Professor Kimani; in it he tells her about MPs.(Pg 23).
- Asiya and her husband Prof. Kimani dialogue as she tells him of her resolution to marry Newborn Walomu. (Pg 33)
- There’s dialogue between the MP Walomu and Prof. Kimani when Kimani confronts him about marrying his wife Asiya Omondi. (Pg 37)
- Tad Longway and Prof. Kimani engage in dialogue as Tad tries to convince Prof to join AGDA. (Pg 39)
- Dialogue happens among Leo, Fiona and Dr. Afolabi. In thisdialogue, Dr. Afolabi rescues Fiona then takes her to his room at the Seamount Hotel. (Pg 59).
- A dialogue ensues between Tad Longway and Dr. Afolabi about his address at the Foundation for the Democratic Rule when Longway had come to talk to him about acting as a guide to Path Alpha. (Pg 73)
- There is a dialogue involving Issa, Pamela and Dr. Afolabi about his new wife from the village who had been brought by his cousin Femi to help Dr. Afolabi in bearing children since his wife doesn’t want to have children. (Pg 75).
- j) Comrade Melusi and Tad Longway engage in a dialogue where Melusi tells Longway how he fought for freedom in Zimbabwe. Longway has come to convince Melusi to join AGDA. (Pg 99)
- k) There’s a dialogue between Tad and Chiamaka over the phone about joining AGDA. (Pg 116)
- l) Tad and SeifTahir dialogue about the latter’s joining AGDA as they talk more about the history of Libya ( Pg 124).
- m) Fiona and Longway through a phone call at the booth of the Seamount Hotel. ( Pg 134) and on (Pg 137) over a drink at the Seamount Hotel .
- n) Dr. Afolabi and Fiona dialogue in the latter’s room at the Seamount Hotel —Afolabi confirms that he is the guide. (Pgl 39)
- o) There’s dialogue between Dr. Afolabi and the other presidents at the Summit.(Pg154). In this dialogue where he invites his counter parts to talk about Path Alpha, Bangoura dialogues with the congregants at the summit as he lead them in making a choice between Path Alpha and Way Omega. (Chapter 140).
These are questions asked to make a point or create a dramatic effect. They do not require answers since they are used to persuade or to pause.
- Pg 5 One minute, five minutes-where is the difference?
- Pg 10 All looked happy and why not?
- Pg 63 Why do people like to say lies?
- Pg75 Lees now drop this gibberish for a while, okay?
- Pg78. .and who told you she hates children?
- Pg87… what freedom and what work?
- Pg103.. .had the man not taken it there?
- Pgl 04.. .and signing his own death warrant in the bargain?
- Pgl 17. .. ‘had he not closed down all foreign military? Then had he not nationalised all foreign business in the country?
- Pg120…’who has not at one time or another misinterpreted a kind word from a friend?
- Pg150…was it not invented by the cleverest twenty of the world’s best and brightest, each a Nobel prize winner?
- Pg173…how could he answer a question he has not heard and he was determined not to hear?
- Pg182…has the trick not saved the day? had it not eliminated the need for the consensus he could not achieve?
This is a way of making the .audience laugh. Mainly used to break monotony or cheer up the audience… examples
- …make that the church inside Africa,’ Mr. Longway added and everyone laughed.’ Pg 147
- …We would still be here next year, admiring our hands if we were to do so’ again the summit hall rocked with laughter. Pg 178
- …dear minister ,you going to make same protestation, with as much vigour when your way omega get win.’ pg 178
- It entails differences in two or more entities. It has been used to bring out the difference in people based on their physical appearance or situations in the text. A proper example is on pgl 01 , thc Nigcrian president, looked more majestic in thosc sky blue robes that he was wearing than his counterpart Gambian in his rolls of white cotton. Chiamaka’s observations.
- …When Way Omega offers you a bird in the bush Path Alpha presses that bird into your hands. Pg 154 ‘
- These are the exact sounds produced by something.
- The author also embraces the use of Ideophones such as Ha (Pg 33)
- Bleep bleep! …the sound of the machine at the store where Afolabi met his father in law. Pg 68)
- Aaaah. (Pg 87)
- Uh-uh (Pg 130)
- Oh la la 170)
This is the use of symbols to represent ideas or qualities.
- Tuni symbolises her place of conception.
- Path Alpha symbolises the change and hope for the Africancountry.
- Way Omega symbolises the old regime which needed to be fought and changed
- The men at the summit symbolise the fathers of the nations.
- The silent listener symbolises the fastest growing technology of 21C.
- AGDA is used to symbolise the think tank of the people pushing for Path Alpha.(Pg 41)
- Number 22 symbolises the day undisputed president of Gambia fell from power. (Pg 46)
This entails giving human abilities to non-human. Examples include:
- …dying old Toyota.( Pg 29)
- …you couldn’t tell what happiness was if it fell on your lap and cried out its name. Pg 33′
- …Ms McKenzie meet your office. ( Pg 56)
- Little fellow is used by comrade Melusi to refer to the needle. (Pg 83)
- Sunrise threw the heavens wide open over Banjul. (Pg82)
- He consulted a wall clock, It told him 1:30. (Pg 86)
- Meet silent listener, it was sitting silently at the far end of his office. (Pg 126)
- Mother Africa, it’s only few minutes aftcr sunset, but you’re so dark already! (Pg 168)
This is the indirect comparison of two things which is used to create a mental picture.
- Tunis eyes have been compared to the wings of an imported butterfly. (Pg 24)
- ‘…his voicc ( Tad’s voice) was a lion’s roar. Pg 38
- …the youth was a jargon spewing buffon…Pg 52.
- …she had imagined it as an ugly monster. Pg 126
- …His voicc was all syrub and honcy ( Abiola Afolabüs voice) Pg 142
- …A bird’s sip and a lion’s sip. Pg 169
This is the direct comparison of two different things by use of like and ‘as.. .as’ mainly used to describe something. The author has used a lot of similes in the text such as:
- …he had a bushy moustache which in a moment of speech wriggled like a moth fighting to free its wings then fly away’ this has been used to describe comrade Melusi’s moustache. (Pgl) this has been used to
- …he looked like a failed sumo wrestler…’ describe pastor Chineke Chiamaka.
- …cute as a button and sharp as a needle…these are Abiola’s thoughts about Fiona’s. Pg5 ‘
- …her eyes were wide and white like a pair of moons. Pgs
- .sluggish and groggy like a satiated python with a ‘ describes Newborn Walomu. Pg35
- …the youth craned his head up sticking it like a rooster readying to crow’ describing how Nick looked at Ms Mckenzie. Pg 51.
- …lingered on like the boom of a big drum’ used to describe the voice of Mr. Tad Longway. Pg 75..
- …his voice tore through the restaurants wall to wall silence like thunder’ describing the voice of the visitor (Mr.Longway) Pg 89.
- …stopping or swerving out of his way like water pausing or parting to let a Moses on wheels cross the red sea’ which describes how Chineke Chiamaka drives. Pgl 07
- Pg 119… ‘her big eyes were shining like light bulbs’ referring to Rahmah’s eyes
- Pg 144..’his belly hang over like a half-empty sack’
- His face had wrinkled like a dry prune’ these describes professor Kimani.
- Pg161…’ it was as smooth as smooth as a baby’s face’ refering to minister Nzito.
This is the use of irony to cause contempt.
- Do you know what I am going to do? I am going to ask the guards I bribed to arrest me on nny way back. (Pg 48)
- Yes just as rain comes, water washes off the spots of a leopard. Prof. Kimani to his daughter Tuni. (Pg 25)
- I just told you why: old is gold. Anyway stealing is not that uncommon, you know…thcre are a lot of spouse stealers there, wouldn’t you say? (Pg 57) Newborn to Prof. Kimani. …let me call the media,pastor Chiamaka said sarcastically..'(Pg142)
- I have a confession, I wish to make. I want to confess that I have not read them and to declare that I will never read them… President Bangoura to the members of the summit. (Pg 159)
- Mr. chairman the resolutions, once adopted, do not have to be adopted again just because some sharp secretary somewhere has had echoes… Way Omega. ( Pgl 59)
Use of borrowed language
It is used to maintain the authenticity of the words or phrases that might lose meaning if translated. Use of Swahili words
- ‘msitu mpya nyani wale wale.'( Pg25)
- Kazi kubwa pesa ndogo. (Pg 35)
- Na hivyo ndivyo ilivyo. (Pg 36)
- There is use of shona language by Comrade Mwelusi ‘Simudzai mureza weZimbabwe’ (Pg 87), murambatsvina. (Pg 97)
- Use of Ndebele — kalibusiwe izwe lezimbawe. (Pg 87)
- Use of Arabic language sabah kher. (Pgl 19)
- The use of French language by president Bangoura …’Merci monsieur le president’ (Pg 156)
- Qu’est ce qui se passe?( Pg 178).
This is a state of affairs that appears dclibcratcly contrary to what one expects.
- It is used by the author to causc a character to act out of ignorance of some truth of which thc audicncc arc awarc of.
- Its ironical for Asiya to connpare her husband who has worked hard all his life to people like Newborn. (Pg26)
- It is ironical for thc MPS like Newborn who havc littlc education to earn better salaries compared to professors likc Kimani whohas even studied abroad in order to leave a better life. (Pg30)
- It is also ironical for Newborn to propose marriage to Asiya while she is still married to Prof. Kimani and also since he already has three wives. Further, Asiya is even way older than him. (Pg 33)
- There is irony is in the fact that Prof. Kimani is handed a six months’ jail term yet he is the one who has lost everything. (Pg 36)
- It is ironical for the presidents to tell the police not to take bribes yet they (presidents) take even bigger amounts. (Pg41)
- Irony is plays out in the fact that Dr. Afolabi thinks that ifs safe to communicate through the phones he has given the four strangers at the Seamount Hotel than to use the hotel phone yet the silent listener is able to hack their conversations.(Pg 55)
- It is also is Ironical for the pastor to read political documents in the pulpit to his congregation. (Pg 114)
- Its ironical for Tahir to take Rahmah to court for losing his eye yet he is the one who started the fight which cost him his left eye. (Pg 122)
- Is ironical for minister Zinto to thank the excellencies for being attentive yet we know they were not. (Pg 152)
- The presidents condemn trouble makers but some are themselves trouble makers by being unruly. (Pg 171)
- It is ironical for president Bangoura to be chosen to lead in the decision making about Way Omega or Path Alpha yet he has not read either of the documents and has sworn not to read them.
Story within a story
- This is where a character within the story becomes the narrator of a second story. It’s mainly used to reveal the truth in the inner Story.
- The story of the donors ganging up on Africa told by Prof. Kimani to his only daughter Tuni is a good example. (Pg 22).
- Another example is the story of Dr. Afolabi and his wife arriving home to find that Femi had brought a second wife to Afolabi so that he could have children of his own since Pamela did not want to have children with him… (told by Afolabi).
- There’s also a story told by comrade Melusi to Longway about the Gukurahundi who led to the loss of his wife Ziliza. ( Pg 91) Comrade Melusi tells a story to the visitor (Tad Longway) about how he fought side by side with his leader to defeat smith and attain independence in Zimbabwe. (Pg 87).
- The story of Seif Tahir on how he fell in love with Rahmah, how he experienced rejection and how that brought about vengeance thus leading him to losing an eye is told through this style. (Pg119)
This is a way of creating very detailed and clear mental image to the audience about an event, a character or a situation in the text. It is a style used to appeal to the senses of the audience and therefore makes the audience to feel as if they are exactly at the spot where the author is describing.
- She was wearing a scarlet blouse, a black skirt and red heels…(Fiona) Pg4.
- ..she had her mother’s eyes, wings of an imported butterfly, pure black in the middle, pure white at the margins …( Tunis eyes) Pg24.
- Asiya’s behaviour when she wanted to leave Prof. Kimani for Newborn since Prof had become poor has clearly been described in (Pg32)…if he did as much appear about to touch her she jumped back and shrank away.
- …when he was near enough he swung a fist. He missed…he (Pg 37) the fight between Mr. Newborn and swung another Prof. Kimani has clearly been descried here.
- Her legs started kicking wildly, scissoring the air in frantic strokes…Fiona’s struggles to free herself from the man who wanted to take her by force creates a mental picture. (Pg 58, 59).
- The events leading to the accident of Pastor Chiamaka and the accident altogether have been described on Pg 107 and 108.
- He could begin his sermon now. ‘God is watching you 110) the way pastor Chiamaka would begin his preaching.
- Big teeth, white and big gums, purple…Rahmalfs face as she smile…her left cheek was capable of a dimpole (Pg 120).
- You will find me standing near the phone both I am wearing white shoes and a red dress with a white polka dots…Fiona describes her dressing code to Tad Longway (Pg 130).
- A product of the strange practice that allows even the ugly kings to marry beautiful women. , . gorgeous physique, gorgeous smile. …the appearance of king Jemba Jemba. (pg 163)
This is a window to an earlier occurrence that provides critical information to the main story. It is a situation where the author uses a scene set in a time earlier than the main story to link up with the events taking place in the main story.
- It is used here to help us understand better the present day elements and learn more about the characters. Also used to reveal the emotional struggles of the characters in the text,a flashback also reveals the insights of the character’s actions.
- There is the use of flashback in chapter two about the life of Professor Kimani; his education journey, how he married Asiya, how he lost his only daughter Tuni to a road accident and how his marriage fell apart. Through it we also how he fought with an MP landing him behind bars. This clearly tells us why he is where he is now seeking justice and fighting for a change.
- There is the use of flashback in the conversation between comrade Melusi and Tad Longway where comrade Melusi talks about him and their leader fighting smith in search of independenceand through this wc realise the origin of his name ‘comrade’
- We also get to learn through flashback how comrade Melusi lost his wife Ziliza through Gukurahundi which erupted due to the anti – government unrest in southern Zillibabwe. (Pg 90-92).
- There is the use of flashback in chapter 8 which tells us clearly how Pastor Chineke Chiamaka started preaching back then, how he developed his preaching career and how he lost it and landing behind bars; …he preached everywhere: indoors in the strict privacy of a house or in the limited publicity of a church.. ‘ Pg 109’
- The flashback takes us way back to when he had a church of his own with a welcoming bulleting in a church entrance ‘God is Watching You’ and how he would make his sermons witty and
- persuasive upto until he mentions the undoing of the government his pulpit which changed his life for the worst by landing him in prison. (Pg 115).
- The education ability of Engineer Seif Tahir has been brought out in the text through a flashback. He had come from overseas when the leader was celebrating his 20th year in power and how he sided with him and even joined ‘The Fist of Allah’ until the Al Qaeda struck and changed his view.
- Flashback is also used by the author to tell us how Engineer Tahir lost his eye when he was served revenge by one Rahmah Mahmoud with whom he had fallen in love yet she did not respond to his expectation leading to endless vengeance between them and finally costing both of them their eyes. (Pg122)
- Through flashback we learn that Dr. Afolabi and his wife Pamela do not have children of their own. This is clearly brought out in chapter 5 where we learn how Femi Dr. Afolabüs cousin was sent to bring a second wife to Dr. Afolabi since he and Pamela did not have children. This ends his marriage with Pamela.