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RHETORICS OF VIOLENCE IN NGUGI WA THIONGOS PETALS OF BLOOD AND WIZARD OF THE CROW. BY DAVID ENYIDA ABSTRACT This paper seeks to illuminate rhetorical violence and aesthetics in Ngugi wa Thiongos Petals of Blood and Wizard of the Crow. It applies text-analysis method with the sociological framework, to highlight the authors dexterous handling of socio-political malaises in African landscape within the ambiance of fiction. Introduction There is no that doubt literature imitates society through its mimetic qualities. There can hardly be any literary work without a society it portrays or dramatizes, neither is there any society without literary products. Literature is the lifestyle of a people. It simply recreates the peoples experiences by capturing some fundamental moments in the social actions and inactions, plots and counterplots; as well as the conflicts that arise from interactional relationships as the people of a particular society strive and struggle to assert meaning to their life as Eagleton (1989) notes; The social relations between men, in other words are bound up with the way they produce their material lifetaken together, these and relations of production form what Marx calls the economic structure of society (5). The above text suggests that there is synergy between literature and the social system of nation in that humans live in communities and societies are made up of communities, and communities are peopled with individuals-individuals that have feelings that could be hurt, expectations that need fulfilling, consciousness and world view that are expected to be respected and fulfilled, ideologies, philosophies and principles that guide them even as groups; and life and property that need protection and preservation. They nurse high hopes and so the pursuit and practice of the individual principles and group ideologies pitch and collide with one another and spark off conflict which sometimes assume high dimension and becomes life and property threatening. Man desires to live as free being: a being that is at liberty to choose his own chain. Ability to dictate, make and take decisions in matters that affect him; freedom to pursue his happiness, freedom to determine his general condition that relates to economic, political, racial, and religious matters as well as the preservation of his personal dignity. Through interaction and intercommunication between individuals, man and his society; man creates caste, groups, institutions

and classes. Those that belong to the same advantageous class and position oppress those that are not so well positioned. The quest for political and economic control of the society brings the classes into constant conflicts that spark-up violence. This violence is manifested in their speech and language. In fact violent language is the prelude to the actual acts of violence. There is therefore an intrinsic relationship between violence and crime as it exists between dominant and the dominated classes It is also true that some of these acts of violence especially from the dominant class are so subtly insidious that they cannot be measured in concrete and physical terms but can only be felt psychologically by the sufferer. This is structural violence Johann Galtung (1969:6); but when the oppressed reacts or protests against such violent acts, it assumes physical in terms of homicide: murder, assault, arson, etc. Once more, it is glaring that one outstanding feature that marks literature out is its relevance to human situations. Literary products are capable of affecting human beings at every point in time. It achieves this feat in various ways since it is the dramatization of human experiences, it then means that it is dynamic in relation to the human situation. Its dynamism manifests in various manners as a writer grapples tenaciously and committedly to his calling; that of recreating human experiences. The dynamism of literature reflects the persuasions and points of view of the literary creators. Working Definition of Terms. Rhetoric: This refers to speech that is insincere which is calculated to deceive the addressee. The speaker masks his real intentions with words. He punches the hearer into linguistic tight corner. It is blackmailing. This is therefore violence in language. It precedes the actual acts of physical violence. Often it is dispensed by the dominant party against dominated party. It can also be described as ideological conditioning. VIOLENCE: Here, refers to whatever action and inactions exacted to prevent and hinder a person from achieving his utmost potentials. It encompasses physical violence or attack on the addressee. It is psychological affront on the addressee. Rhetorical violence prevents the lesser party or class from exercising his innate conviction and making informed freewill decision on any issue. This prevents the listener from exercising his inalienable rights of freedom of choice and decision making. Brief Historical Setting of the Novels This study peeps at the early post independent Kenyan society through Ngugi wa Thiongos eagle eyes. Assessing the rhetorical violence perpetuated by the early Kenyan political elite class-the petty bourgeoisie cadre and how the representatives of the masses (the dominated class) react to the brazen and calculated onslaught. Kenya is an east African country which came under British influence in 1888, and was declared a protectorate in 1895. The construction of a railway to Lake Victoria, which connected

Nairobi to the coast, heralded the penetration of British influence into the countrys interior. In 1920 it became a British crown colony. The good farmland was stealthily taken up by the white farmers and reserved for their exclusive use with African labour, while reserves on poorer soil were for African peasants. This treatment of the various Kenyan people, the most populous of which were Kikuyus, sparked off increasing resistance that led to the establishment of the Kikuyu Central Association (KCA) in 1924, under the leadership of Kenyatta. Its basic demands were restoration of, or compensations for expropriated land, the expansion of education, and the removal of commercial restrictions on Africans in Kenya. Palmowski (2008: 361). Furthermore, in 1944, a more broadly and all embracing union, Kenya African Union (KAU) was formed when the former (KAU) was banned; a militant guerilla movement began to emerge. It emerged because the people of Kenya were impatient with the moderations and mild dispositions with which KAU approached issues. The militia movement was the notorious Mau Mau. Its rebellion made Kenya so ungovernable that the British could not help but negotiate and discuss independence which came to fruition on 12th December, 1963, Palmowski (41). The arrival of the colonialists ushered in an era of forceful fertile land grabbing and stealing. The Kenyans were immensely dispossessed of the natural land of their birth and were left with inconsequentially barren, semi-arable pieces. For the Kenyan peasant farmer to survive in this imbroglio of land grabbing, he had to lease farmlands from the colonial farmers, who fixed the buying price on the products from such farm. This is veritable case of economic exploitation and violence. When the colonialists stepped aside and the Kenyan elite class assumed control of the political machinery of the land, expectation was high that the awaited uhuru had come and that their political malaise would be addressed. Unfortunately, the Kenyan political class was only a stooge to the colonialists, as it continued to perpetuate the same acts on behalf of their mentors. Blatant corruption and exploitation became the order of the era hence political disillusionment set in. These, no doubt are political and economic violence poured on the helpless heads of the Kenyan masses by their own kits and kin in high political positions. Even though the Kenyan elite class believed they had gained independence, they only deluded themselves as they were only instruments of economic exploitations for their foreign collaborators who siphoned the fortunes of the masses and received stipends in return just as Frantz Fanon observes. In underdeveloped countries, we have seen that no true bourgeoisie exists, there is only a sort of little, greedy caste avid and voracious, the former colonial power hands out to it. This get-rich-quick middle class shows itself incapable of great ideas or inventiveness. (141). This is a true assessment of the African elites as Fanon avidly terms it. These African imitators and economic marauders are only out to forage, deceive, exploit, oppress and steal from

the helpless common masses. Thus the ensuing disappointment, disillusionment and hopelessness thaw and gnaw at the heart of Kenyans: violent acts inflicted upon a people by their own blood kin. Thus blackmail, arm-twisting and broad-daylight rhetorical violence were the order of the day, so that the dominant would remain on its elevated estate. These acts of violence can only attract similar acts of violence, because violence begets violence as Langston Hughes points out. What happens to dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun? maybe it just sags like a heavy load. Or does it explode? Maduka and Eyoh (24). This avers that acts of violence attract violent responses. Pitiably, when the arrow leads of the masses react in this manner, it is termed criminal. A Brief Bio-Data of the Author Ngugi wa Thiongo, the artist through whose eyes the reader views the early post independent Kenyan and modern African socio-political landscapes in Petals of Blood and Wizard of the Crow was born in Limuru, Kikuyu nation of Kenya in 1938. He grew up during the emergency period and witnessed the absurdities, anomalies and negations orchestrated by the colonialists, as well as African politically privileged elites. These historical and socio-political doldrums witnessed during this period enabled him to ardently suggest sociological solution to cure African capitalist maladies. It looks as if he acquired or rather sharpened his sociological/Marxist perceptions during his visit to Soviet Union as Ngara (1987) says. He completed the work after a visit to the Soviet Union where he presumably received inspiration from Soviet Union of writers. Petals of Blood is a milestone in the development of social art in Africa(61). He wrote many plays such as I Will Marry When I Want (1982), The Black Hermit (1968), The Trial of Dedan Kimathi (1976), which he co-authored with Micere Mugo. He has also published many novels such as Weep not Child (1964), The River Between (1965) Devil on the Cross (1982), Petals of Blood (1977) and Wizard of the Crow (2007). Furthermore, his collection of essays includes Homecoming (1972), Writer in Politics (1981), Detained. A Writers Prison Diary (1981), Decolonizing the mind: The Politics of Language in African Literature (1956). The desire to set the Kenyan and African downtrodden masses free from the ravaging violence of exploitation and oppression energizes his writings which earned him imprisonment between 1980 and 1982 where he wrote Devil on the Cross (1982). He is currently residing in USA. This liberation tendency is particularly demonstrated in the Petals of Blood and Wizard of the Crow, the novels selected to study the issues of rhetorical violence.

Ngugi is always faithful to his calling: that of enlightening the masses by revealing the intricacies of intrigues inherent in human actions. He exposes plots against the masses and proposes unity as a counter measure aimed at clutching or stemming the influx of foul air of victimization, oppression, exploitation and other vices. In Wizard of the Crow, he pulls back the veil and offers the reader a panoramic view of the state of modern African societies. Aburiria here is synonymous with any modern African nation. This is demonstrated in the characters that crisscross the novels are characteristics of modern African dictatorship especially those ruled by military juntas. He seems to be arguing that peace and progress in such society polluted by dictatorial violence can never be achieved on platter of inaction; but by collective, purposeful and planned revolution by the masses because. Our lives are a battle field on which is fought a continuous war between the forces that pledged to confirm our humanity and those determined to dismantle it; and those who wish to pull it downit is a war without spectator Ngugi (55). Socio-cultural societies like the ones Ngugi depicts in Wizard of the Crow and Petals of Blood supercharged with violence from the dominant class will only attract reactions from the dominated class as the ensuing resistance and determined protest from the victimized masses show. Thus Ngugis literature especially Petals of blood and Wizard of the Crow are simply his effort to rehumanize the dehumanized in the social setting. Theoretical Framework (Sociology of Literature) It is important to state here that this study employed Sociology of Literature in studying the issues of rhetorical violence in Ngugi Wa Thiongos Petals of Blood and Wizard of the crow. This is necessary because violence is a social phenomenon and so it requires sociology to unlock its innate synergic properties in relation to the novels. Sociology studies the process and patterns of individual and group interaction: the forms of organization of social groups, the relationships among them and group influences on individual behaviour. Although sociology includes the study of all form of social interactions and relationships. It focuses on understanding of groups or other collective factors in human behaviours, Hogan (336). This shows that it is the actions or behaviours of humans that create social settings and social laws and these social actions and laws in turn affect the way people act. People or individuals most often do affirm to the prevailing social condition of the day while others do modify their social setting. When they affirm solidarity with a social setting they struggle to maintain the status quo of that particular society but when they seek to modify the existing pattern of behaviour they succeed by creating change. These conflicts between the individuals and groups in society set up competition between those that hold power and desire to cling unto power and those that seek power. This defines why Marx views all historical societies as characterized by basic contradictions which prevent them

from surviving forever in their existing forms. Those contradictions as noted by Harallambos and Holborne (1987), involve the exploitation of one social group by another in feudal society, lords exploits (sic) their serfs, in capitalists society,

employers exploit their employees. This creates a fundamental conflict of interest between social groups since one gains at the expense of another. This conflict of interest must ultimately be resolved since a social system containing such contradiction cannot survive unchanged (11-12). This further shows that class status in social settings changes. The dominated class may metamorphose into dominant class and the previously dominant class would agitate or struggle to gain power of dominance. This scenario triumphs in Ngugis Wizard of the crow because no condition is permanent. This struggle for supremacy and control of powers, and resistance for survival gives rise to what is termed sociological perspectives: the functionalist and conflict perspectives. Functionalist perspective views society as an organized entity whose every organ contributes to the overall development of the whole. The existence of systemic social arrangements and some interactional social situations, which seem to favour some groups more than others, is never questioned. Bagundo states that social inequalities in terms of access to and ability to use and control resources in the society are accepted as given and unproblematic. Functionalism views society as cohesive and orderly, which should not be tainted by disruption; and so there are some who hold to this view and affirm to its existence and would never allow anything or anyone to change it.. CONFLICT PERSPECTIVE The failure of functionalism to provide satisfactory answers to the societal malaise of inequitable distribution of resources or exploitative relationship prevalent in the society gave rise to the conflict perspective. The conflict perspective represents largely a series of contentions that often contradict the view of the functionalists about social realities. This regards society at every point as being affected by the processes and agents of change. There is the existence of dissident and conflict at every point in the social system. It stresses the role of power in bringing about order in the society. The constant collision of functionalism and conflict agents is based on the idea of dialectic, which represents a struggle of binary opposites and a conflict of contradictions. Conflict then becomes the source of change and prime mover of the dialectical process. The basic aspect of the

dialectical process is located in the concept of binary opposition. The struggle or conflict between two binary opposites escalates in intensity, heading to a collision, which in turn paves the way for the emergence of a new set of forces at a level of development. These further sets the dialectical process on course again, as the contradictions between the new set of forces and interests conflict in a fresh movement towards change. Sociology of Literature Members of the society interact with one another, at the individual and group or corporate levels. The patterns of behaviour are the sum of the activities of one member on another in a group or one group on another. This, the sociology of literature seeks to understand, and dramatize the formation and transformation of groups and the relationship of groups, and group members with another. Sociology of Literature therefore is the understanding, recreation, and dramatization of the social dynamics and experiences in art or literary form. This is because where there are groups there are tendencies for participations, cohesion and conflict. The interaction between Wanja and Kimeria, Abdulla and Kimeria, Munira and Chui and Mzigo: members of opposite social classes in Petals of Blood, and the Ruler and his cabinet members, and Kamithi and Nyawira, and the members of the Movement for the Voice of the People in Wizard of the Crow attest to this constant struggle in the societies of Ilmorog and Aburiria. In the ensuing struggle, the gladiators employ all available weapons at their disposal: while the dominant ruling class employs violent laws, police brutality, intimidation, rhetorical violence and dehumanizational acts against the dissident class, the agitating class-the masses employ demonstration, murder, robbery, arson, clandestine subterfuge activities in their resistance of the violent onslaught from the oppressors.At least these are shown to a large extent in Ngugis Petals of Blood and Wizard of the Crow. Literature Review. Petals of Blood Many critics see Ngugis Petals of Blood in different perspective depending on their angle of vision or literary leaning. However, for the immediacy of study, one or two would be chosen. Lewis Nkosi observes; Ngugis novel has four important characters, whose lives interlock as they attempt to find a place for themselves in the new Kenyan society, and in order to live they either have to sell themselves to the new power brokers in the land or fight; and the novel is about how each tries to find a solution to the dilemma (72). The highlight of the text above is that there is competition for power. The struggle that ensues in Kenyan society is all encompassing as there is no spectator but participants in one way or another. Therefore it becomes pertinent for participation in the fighting to live, to create meaning or live perpetually as slaves in the hands of the new power brokers by maintaining social inaction.

Oko Emilia on her part argues that the accumulation of capital and maximum exploitation of the means to expand capital is the main motive of the treacherous characters like Kimaria and the good characters, the downtrodden Abdulla, Wanja, Karega, Nyakunya (232) she views Petals of Blood as the struggle between the economic exploiters and the exploited. Eustace Palmer (1979) asserts: Of all the African novels, it probably presents the most comprehensive analysis so far of the evils perpetrated in the independent African society by black imperialists, (153). The main question in Petals of Blood is not that of racism but those of elite Kenyans against their kits and kin, in their drive to maintain maximum hold on their exploitative actions. Udumukwu (2006) posits that: Petals of Blood is a detective novel because the action moves in a circle, which begins somewhere very close to the denouement. (171) The assessment above reflects the true nature of the novel as a typical detective novel presents its reader with mystery of crime which needs solving and the mystery demystified. It always asks who, how, when and why the crime is committed. It is necessary that the mystery is revealed and culprits punished; to maintain the much needed balance and sanity in the society. Detective stories are games of the mind like the game of chess between the culprit and the detective. Hence Ngugis Petals of Blood simply put, is the embodiment and in totality, of the statement of the suspects of murder and arson. These suspects are Munira, Wanja, Abdulla and Karega, whose statements to the police open a vista of what transpired in Ilmorog within the immediate past twelve years. It also reveals the violent acts which the trio of Kimeria, Chui and Mzigo dispensed on the masses. These acts are later revisited with physical acts of violence from the lower and downtrodden class which the law terms crime of murder and arson. It is these issues of violence: especially rhetorical violence that this study aims to investigate. Wizard of the Crow Ngugi wa Thiongos Wizard of the Crow is a relatively new novel on the literary horizon, it is yet to attract much critical appraisals, therefore it is necessary to make do with the reviews that appear on the blurbs and posted to website. James Gibson comments, Ngugi has perfected in Wizard of the Crow an act of radical simplicity of sharply defined conflict that, periodically, reductive than ostensibly move nuanced account of African profound by historical and political analyst, at once an epic burlesque of sick, lumbering state and praise song of the manifold forms of resilience, the phantasmagoric saga of Aburiria is a clear view of

Africa as we are likely to get for some time (The Complete Review 2,3). The main thrust of the comment above is that Ngugi clearly delineates two worlds in the Wizard of the Crow: the worlds of the oppressors and that of the oppressed. The relationship between them is characterized by brute violence and crime vis a vis oppression and resistance. Furthermore, in reviewing Wizard of the Crow, Tom Adier of the Scotsman observes. This is restless, epic, and allusive, Ngugi wa Thiongo gives himself scope to tackle big theme, to explore the nature of political oppression and of corruption. His book attempts to explode as assumption about the essence of reality. It blurs and frequently juxtaposes vision of everyday consciousness and visionary truththis is a book about choosing sides. A book, above all, about the individual responses to moral dilemma Accordingly, the reviewer above touches on almost the totality of the novel, Wizard of the Crow. He demonstrates that Ngugi tackles political oppression in the book. He also notes the issue of corruption as the hallmark of the novel: corruption, dictatorship, and perpetuation of self on the throne as well as coup d dat as some of the indexes that are peculiar to African political landscape. Moreover, he also sees the novel as a call for all to make moral choice: to choose which side one should pitch ones tent; on the oppressors or the side of the resistants. Finally, Akani (2010) accedes: Ngugis idea of the African intellectual as the valid hope for a properly planned resistance to the socio-political order is highlighted in his work. And if there must be any positive change in the society, this properly planned resistance to the socio-political order that is led by non-conformist intellectual is needed. For the sufferings of the poor masses to be alleviated, for the yearnings and aspirations of the helpless and impoverished masses to be met, the intellectuals socio-political activism is required. Critical in the text above is that non-conformist intellectuals who stand firm, and who would always call the social realities by their true names; who are ready to lock horns against the oppressors on behalf of the oppressed are sin quo non if decisive blow would be delivered to the forces of oppression and the oppressed rescued from the shackles of dehumanization and intimidation. Ngugi wa Thiongo knows that a supercharged political arena like he painted in Ilmorog and Aburiria of the two novels, can never be complete without rhetorical violence because wherever there is oppression and dehumanization there must be rhetorical violence. A Brief Summary of the Conflict in Novels Petals of Blood. Kimeria, Chui and Mzigo three prominent Kenyan politicians, industrialists and educationists are burnt down in Wanjas hotel in the New Ilmorog province, and Munira, a primary school teacher; Abdulla a bar and petty store operator; Karega, a trade union leader; and Wanja, a prostitute all united by a common fate in Ilmorog; are arrested for the alleged


murder of the three men. The statements of these suspects draw back the veil of time (twelve years) and reveal the politics of land grabbing hence acts of political, cultural, psychological, economic, religious, social and rhetorical violence are meted out on the lesser class. The masses reaction is responding criminal fire for violent fire; this is because violence resides within the domain of the dominant class while crime is a calculated protest against violence from above. The major conflict in Wizard of the Crow is that the government represented by the ruler, ministers Machokali, Silver Sikioku, Tajirika, etc launches the building of Marching to Heaven a gigantic white elephant project which is neither people oriented nor has any visible economic viability to the populace. Why should a government embark on such project while all around is rot and decay, rusticity, hunger and anger? The project is only for aggrandizement of the few selected well placed individuals. On the other hand, the Movement for the Voice of the People led by Nyiawira tactically and technically protests and resists the take up of the project. This action from the masses movement does not go down well with the elite class. The superior class while engaging in sycophancy and intra class power-play vent its anger on the lesser class by pouring down actions of economic, political, social psychological, domestic using the police to harass and met out physical and rhetorical violence on hapless head of the masses. The gladiators always deploy rhetorical violence in an over-heated sociological setting like in early post-independent Kenya and dictatorial Africa. It is there necessary to note Achebes appraisals and deductions here: I say, there is too much fighting in Kangan, too much killing but fighting will Not begin unless there is first a thrusting of fingers into eyes. Anybody who wants to outlaw fighting must first outlaw the provocation of fingers thrust into eyes. (1987: 228). It the members of the ruling dominant class that first thrust the fingers of provocation into the eyes of masses, this prompts the masses to retaliate the actions. Rhetorical Violence in Petals of Blood and Wizard of The Crow The beginning of every reasonable argument and discourse must of necessity start with defining and simplifying` the words and terms that embody the argument. Rhetoric generally is understood as speech or writing that are not completely honest or sincere; but intended to influence people. It further embraces the skill of using language in speech or writing in a special way to influence or entertain people. Abrams (2005:227). The issue here anchors on the use of language to achieve emotional effects. The success which such discourse achieves is measured by the action or inaction it produces on the target audience or addressee. To this end, language is believed to possess tremendous power to move the


audience into action, to render it inaction to behave or act in a specific direction. The question here is, does the product or result of every rhetorical intercourse benefit the audience or the addressee? In this situation the answer is philosophical Yes and No depending on the intentions of the speaker. It also demonstrates that the speaker masks his real intention by the elaborate use of words in language which influence impulsive actions on the hearer or addressee: urging him to identify or sympathize with the speaker and to induce him to carry out the speakers intentions. It is mostly selfish, which makes rhetoric discourse propagandistic in nature. Rhetoric, for the purpose of this analysis can best be described as ideological conditioning because the realms of the basic meaning and fact or intention of the speaker are obscured and suppressed by words which give the impression that the subject of such discussion is to the benefit of the addressee. The addressee then becomes rhetorical object which can be manipulated with words and subjected or condemned to perform the will and desire of the speaker. He becomes a tool: a dispensable tool, a cannon fodder. Rhetoric employs persuasions, subtlety, insinuations with psychological coercion. It boxes the subject to linguistic tight corner. Wherever the society is sharply polarized and segregated into classes, there is bound to be contradictions as the more prominent class strives to hold onto its privileged position against the efforts of the lower or less prominent class. The imminent contradictions produce conflicts which work towards change of class status. Here the dominant class employs rhetoric violence, the insincere use of language mostly with violent undertones as warning to the dominated class or to coerce them to forget their agitations. This can also be seen in inter class relationship as well as in interpersonal power play or internecine schism in the intra class setting. Petals of Blood and Wizard of the Crow are awash with rhetorical situations as the classes struggle to out maneuvre each other in the power game. It is noteworthy that in most cases, rhetoric precedes the actual act of violence. These are preludes to the violence and also the speech of regrets or reactions of the aftermath of violence. Therefore these dialogues harbour a lot of hidden meanings: the intended acts of violence. For instance, the dialogue between fat stomach and the people of Ilmorog, is loaded with hidden threat and menace to the Ilmorog audience. The people of Ilmorog were to ready themselves to go to Gatundu to sing and have tea. He explained that all the people from central province were going and drinking teaof new cultural movement; let he who had ears hear. He explained how their hard won property and accumulation of sweat was threatened by another tribe, (POB 85). Who is the main beneficiary to this tea party: the down trodden people of Ilmorog or MP Nderi wa Riera? Why must a whole ethnic nation pay 12 shillings and 50 cents as gate fee to a tea party? Why must an attendance to a party be compulsory as the invitation is backed up by threat,


let he who has ears hear? It is obvious here that there are a lot of things that meet the casual eyes of the Ilmorog citizenry. In a nutshell, the whole issue is to exploit the people and also to administer oaths that will keep them docile and yielding to further exploitation: this is the act of suppression to enhance massive and total exploitation without resistance. This is an amalgamation of both political and economic exploitation. When these are merged the ensuing exploitation is farreaching and complete. In Wizard of the Crow, there is a sociological and psychological broad daylight robbery in this announcement. The whole country, the Minister for foreign Affairs was saying the entire Aburirian populace, had decided unanimously to erect a building such as had never been attempted in history except once by the children of Israel, and even they had failed miserably to complete the House of Babel. Aburiria would now do what the Israelites could not do: raise a building to the very gates of Heaven so that the Ruler could call on God daily to say good morning or good evening or simply how was your day today God? The Ruler will be the daily recipient of Gods advice, resulting in a rapid growth of Aburiria to heights never before dreamt by humans. The entire project, heaven-scrape or simply Marching to Heaven, WOC (16). There is something seriously wrong with this whole plan or project in the first place. The Aburirian populace is not aware nor accedes to the project because they were not consulted. Ordinarily, a project of this magnitude ought to have had the blessings of 2/3 of the populace either through mass opinion poll or through the representatives in the parliament. But this is only the pigment of the imagination of a selected few identified as the rulers birthday committee. The main purpose of this project is merely sycophancy so as to perpetuate themselves in office and also to maximize corruption and personal profit at the detriment of the general masses. They know too well that the country is in the throes of penury and so would attract borrowing from the World Bank which they will never be able to pay back. This money once borrowed or released would end up in the personal pockets of the leaders of Aburiria. This can also be said of the formation of Kamwene Cultural Organization (KCO) with the purported aim of bringing about development to this wasteland. KCO Holding Ltd where MP Nderi wa Riera is the Chairman, General Secretary and Treasurer. POB (187). He tries to hoodwink the people into submitting to the mass tea party by paying 12 shillings 50cents which ends up in his pocket. This subjects the people to double taxation, the one by the tax gatherers and the other by the agents of the tea party of Gatundu. This is an act of violence on a people that are neglected and abandoned to their fate by their own kits and kin in high governmental positions. Ruoro stood up to answer back: where was Gatundu? Why would anybody want Ilmorog people to go and drink tea? How come that people from out there were threatened by other tribes? Had they piled enough property as to excite envy from other tribes? Here, people were threatened by lack of water; lack of roads, lack of


hospital... POB (85). This reply throws open a lot of hidden challenges and threats in response to the threat posed by fat stomach let him who has ears hear the threat in this is that if you refuse to adhere to this demand, you will suffer. Ruoros reply is a response that they in Ilmorog need not fear suffer any more than what they are suffering already to the point of extermination by drought, lack of water, roads, hospitals: social amenities of life which were taken for granted in the big cities even though they in Ilomorog paid their taxes. It seems like Ruoro is arguing that he who is down fears no further falls. These are threats and menaces, harbingers of various forms of violence. This project enjoys massive grassroots support. The mission has seen for itself the queues cropping all over the city. And what are the queues and this assembly telling the Global Bank and the world? It is all quite simple. The Aburirian masses are ready to forgo clothes, houses; education, medicine, and even food in order to meet any and every condition the Bank may impose on the funds it releases for Marching to Heaven. Upward ever, downward never. That is our new slogan. We will not rest until we get to heavens gate. We swear by the children of the children of the children of the children of our children to the end of the world-yes, we swear even by the generations that may be born after the end of the world-that we shall pay every cent of the principle (Sic) along with interest on interests ad infinitum WOC (248). In order words Minister Machokali implies that Aburirians need the loan badly. This project, they know too well that it does not possess economic viability but is to only finance the pockets of the leaders. Moreover when advertisement carries too many beautiful words, there is bound to be ambiguity. His whole address amounts to mortgaging and enslaving the nation of Aburiria interminably. This is violence. How do the masses see the project? The masses see the project as Cheap Arsehole, His Holy Arsehole (18). They also believe MARCHING TO HEAVEN IS A PILE OF SHIT (250). This is aptly depicted by this slogan, Marching to Heaven is Marching to Hell. Your strings of Loans are Chains of Slavery. Your loans are the cause of begging. We beggars Beg the end of begging. Marching to Heaven is led by Dangerous Snakes WOC (74). There is no doubt that a statement like this is loaded with threat of resistance. The masses through the Movement for the Voice of the People is able to pick holes in the ministers address and so passes a vote of no confidence on the project and the resolution of resistance with their own threat to abort the ambition at every point: the resolution to remove the pile of shit and instruments of enslavement from their economic horizon, just as the Ilmorog people denounce the mass tea party because it will not save them from starvation and rusticity.


The encounter between Wanja and Kimeria on Blue Hill en route the Big City is loaded with threatening languages. Kimeria in his desire to satisfy his sexual urge on Wanja threatens her, which makes the sexual adventure a case of rape. Is that all you can and do? When I have offered you everything? Listen to me, then. You will not leave this place until I say so. I could lift that telephone and have you all arrested and charged with the offence of trespassing in Blue Hills. You could be remanded in custody for over six months. All we need, for the sake of a semblance of justice, is to keep on making you appear in court for mention. We are law-abiding citizens. No woman ever treated me the way you did. Running and hiding from me. I shall not let you go until you have lain legs spread, on that bed. Think about it, the choice is yours to make, and freedom is mine to withhold or to give POB (155). There is no other way to classify this statement other than what it is. It is a threat that leaves the addressee with no choice at all than to succumb to the demand of the speaker. The speaker holds all the aces of violence which leaves the addressee out and dry. This is a prelude to the actual sexual violence: a violation of the right and body of the addressee. Verbal threat is always common phenomenon in a society-where various forms of violence abound: such as in Aburiria where the acts of violence stares one with goony and stony eyes at every corner one turns to. Ngugi dramatizes these even among the law enforcement agents especially police force, who are supposed to be friendly and courteous. But if an outfit charged with the responsibilities of protecting all, turns hostile there is big trouble. Noteworthy in this regard is the encounter between PC Askari Arigaigai and John Kaniuru, the designer of the Marching to Heaven impression has raised his hand for recognition in response to the ministers address. Instead of the police constable who is standing nearby to assist the spectator only he turns tiger because the society is a violent one. What is your name? Kanuiru, John Kaniuru, the man said and I am the teacher the speaker is referring to. Turn your pockets inside out, the police officer ordered him. After he had made sure that Kanuiru was not carrying a weapon, the police officer, pointing at his own gun, asked him. Do you see this? If you continue disrupting the meeting, as sure as my name is Askari Arigaigai Gathere and my boss Inspector Wonderful Tumbo, I will relieve you of that nose. The man Kaniuru sat back. WOC (16). The essence and the underlying tones are those of intimidation which is the beginning of violence. Police in every civil and normal society is meant to be friendly, and people oriented because without the people there is no police. If the police turns hostile to the masses it supposes to protect, it means it has lost its focus and bearing, as Lynch (1986) advises, Remember, no police force anywhere functions in a vacuum. The justification for the police is the existence of the people it supposed to protect. It inevitably works


against itself vis a vis for its downfall if it turns hostile to the public. No police force ever succeeds in crime detection and work of policing without the society. (20) The observations above go a long way to underscore the expected right attitude from the members of the police force. A police force that turns on the people hostilely has lost its sense of mission. A society governed by dictatorship and violence intensified can only produce a police force that has lost its sense of direction such as in Aburiria. Police under Minister Silver Sikiokuu cannot differentiate between arrest and invitation, detention and releasing of a suspect on bail, and between a suspect and an accused person or prisoner. The main political gladiators use every available opportunity to attempt to bring down the other in their power game. Machokali accuses Sikiokuu. Almighty Esteemed Father, it would have been much better if Sikiokuu had arrested Nyawira first and forced her to give up namesHe arrested the wife of the chairman of Marching to Heaven in vain hope that she would reveal where Nyawira is hidingshe hasnt really been arrested, just in custody Sikiokuu backtracked WOC (241, 242) The soul that commits the offence should be made to answer for the offence. But in Aburiria vicarious liability is practiced even though they know it to be wrong. Why should Vinjinia be arrested and detained for an offence she did not commit? While arrest and detention are necessary in police operations, it has to be the person suspected to have broken the low. Machokalis prayers on the ruler above shows deep traces of rhetoric especially in the title of the Ruler Almighty Esteemed Father is meant to move the ruler into action against Sikiokuu. On the other hand the motive surrounding Minister Sikiokuus arrest and detention of Vinginia, the wife of Tajirika, the friend to Machokali is an aim to get at Machokali, to weave up the political web of intrigues at him. It is all part of the power game. His statement above is to mask the real motive and it seems Machokali understands the intrigue and endeavours to swing the pendulum in his favour against Sikiokuu which he achieves. Their statements harbour more meanings than met the casual glance. The police force is not spared of this diplomatic discourse that harbours different meaning. The police constables that arrested Munira in Petals of Blood for instance: Are you Mr. Munira?...Yesyou are wanted at the New Ilmorog Police Stationabout? Murder, of course-murder in Ilmorogit is nothing much, Mr. Munira just routine questioning, POB (2). This makes the suspect feel inactive or less wary of the situation. But this almost always is the opposite of the police behaviour as soon as he arrives at the station with the suspect. Such is the


case in Muniras situation who exclaimed but you said it is only routine questioning. All these are prelude to hostility and violence. If ever there is a place where the power of rhetoric is forcefully brought to bear, it is in the interrogation of Tajirika in Wizard of the Crow. For instance Tajirika has been in custody for many days before ASP Elijah Njoya is asked to interrogate him yet he pretends he does not know Tajirika was in detention for that long. Why am I in police custody Tajirika demanded, in custody? Njoya asked in a puzzled tone. I am sorry but there must be a misunderstanding, he added in English I learned of your being here only last night. So I presumed you must have arrived yesterday, WOC (314). The implication in the above text is that if Tajirika was detained only the previous night it does not amount to detention in police custody. All the promises of looking into Tajirikas complaints of rough handling and ill-treatment are only fluke aimed at dousing up hostility so as to elicit the suspects trust and co-operation. Njoyas seeming kindness is also the part of the rhetorical game. Please dont blame your wife. Maybe she did not know where or how to start (314). This is actually the truth because Njoya is in the know of all that transpired in the case of Tajirika. Moreover they dont want Tajirika to bear grudges against his wife so that their escapades with her in the police custody would not be revealed. This will work against their plan if Tajirika knows. Therefore, the seeming truth here is loaded with different kind of selfish meaning. The whole scenario in the interrogation of Tajirika is to make Tajirika believe he is guilty of wrong doing in the matter of queuing mania and treason to overthrow the government of the dictator of Aburira. The whole cell is a torture chamber: lighting system, furnishing, atmosphere and the general attitude of the policemen inundate fear and eerie effect on the suspect; such also is Tajirikas second interrogator Peter Kahiga. Who told you to get up? Who are you? Tajirika asked in terror, stopping dead in his tracts. I am Superintendent Kahiga, Peter Kahigaand I want you to know that I am hardly as understanding as Njoya: I am not easily swayed by tears. I am as hard as a rock. If you fool around, your feet will soon be hanging from the roof. WOC (328). The intention of the preamble is to instill fear in the heart of the suspect which will induce him into submission. A threat like this if not followed immediately with action will make the addressee feel reluctant or take the threat for granted, the reason Kahiga immediately backs up the threat with torturing Tajirika. Tajirika had not expected the slap that landed fully on his face with full force. Moreover, he is pinned down while Kahiga pricks Tajirikas nails with needle. With the fear that is now enveloping Tajirika, it is easier to insinuate about treasonsyou had better confess the details of the plan to overthrow the legitimate government of the Ruler (333).


Tajirika later wakes up in a bed of soft mattress with clean bedspread. He aches all over only for Njoya to reappear and feign ignorance of the torture session and also pretends to pass a secret caution to Tajirika which is only intimidation aimed at, securing the prime suspects straight co-operation. Superintendent Kahiga? Oh! dear, he is the one they sent to you? May I let you in on a secret? That officer? He is crazy, he has killed many in the course of his interrogations. And you know what? The matter ends there. Tajirika, I want to help you and get him off your back (335). This seeming help and advice are meant to coerce the suspect further into submission and co-operation. Tajirika is caught in the web of power play. He is the pawn on the chess board, which must be dispensed so that the player wins the game. Sikiokuu employs manipulations and coercion in his aim to rope in his arch political enemy. Hence all these verbal threats and overtures are aimed at entangling Minister Machokali in the web of treason. Tajirka is just the canon fodder that will bring about that victory to Sikiokuu. Hence his co-operation is very important the reason surrounding their employing every available instrument of violence both verbal, physical and psychological. Tajirikas questions to Sikiokuu is crucial. why? What have I done wrong? Keeping bad company. Showing poor judgment in your choiceof employees and even friends in government. And what is more being unable to control the company your wife keeps. (WOC 346). The weight of the text above is on Tajirika showing poor judgment in his choice of friends in government the bad friend here is Minister Machokali! This is where the whole problem that surrounds Tajirika flows from. And finally Minister Sikiokuu comes up with this matter-of-fact summary which Tajirika must accede to if he hopes to be free. Lets now summarize and agree on what you have told me willingly, without any coercion from anybody whatsoever. And when you go to write down your confession before Njoya and Kahiga, you will not deviate from the summary.This is what you have told me at different times and occasions you heard Machokali, express his longing for the highest political office in the land(WOC 399). This is only a pseudo investigation heightened by premeditated evidence and position. This is therefore no investigation but only an effort to manufacture evidence from none existent facts in the hope to catch the rival minister. This is no doubt a voicing of violence. This is exactly the role


of rhetorics. It further shows that in a heightened atmosphere charged with violence like these, everything is possible and every available weapon is employed to advantage. The foregoing shows extensively that rhetorics is a cunning weapon in the arsenal of gladiators in any society that is overcharged with violence, distrust, power hungry, competition, scheming and jostling for the control of the scarce resources. CONCLUSION This paper establishes the theoretical basis for the study, upholding the relevance of commitment within the context of Marxism and socialist realities to the study of African Literature. It focused on violent language as it is obtainable within socio-cultural milieu where the society is polarized into classes: oppressor and the oppressed. Ngugi wa Thiongos masterful deployment of fictional dexterity harnesses the language of violence and selfishness in the postcolonial/post independent Kenya and dictatorial Africa. Ngugi wa Thiongos novels are certainly obvious windows through which the reader can unobstructively view the linguistic violence in the present day African societies.


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ENYIDA, David is a student of English Studies (Theory of Literature: Fiction ) at School of Postgraduate Studies, University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria.