Saturday, July 14, 2012

The False Truth: The Tenure Elongation Novel

The False Truth: The Tenure Elongation Novel

The False Truth: The Tenure Elongation Novel

London Publishers, Austin & Macauley, announced the release of THE FALSE TRUTH last Wednesday, September 28. It describes the novel as "a compelling and atmospheric story... one that will engross the reader with the turn of every page."

"With uprising sweeping away African dictators, this revelation of the complicated motives and actions that perpetuate the sit-tight syndrome in a continent, plagued by bad leadership, couldn't have been at a better time," it said.

My apologies at this point! Please pardon the liberty I have taken of an African proverb, which says 'he who harvests honey does not wipe his hands on the tree back', to write this piece. False Truth is my eighth novel, but trust that this presentation is without any hype.

The novel, set in East Africa (where presidents like Museveni and Mugabe are reluctant to leave office), highlights the political psychology of African politicians, most of who personalise their positions and the commonwealth.

It features my continuing character Peter Abel - an ace investigative reporter who temporarily abandons journalism to support an African president, but ends up on the death list of a powerful cabal in government.

Dr. Mo Ibrahim
Written in support of efforts to improve leadership qualities in Africa, the novel is rightly dedicated to Dr. Mo Ibrahim of the MO IBRAHIM FOUNDATION. He gave his consent to this.

Dr. Mo Ibrahim set up the Mo Ibrahim Foundation to encourage better governance in Africa, as well as creating the Mo Ibrahim Index, to evaluate nations' performance. In 2007 he initiated the Mo Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership, which awards a $5 million initial payment, and a $200,000 annual payment for life to African heads of state who deliver security, health, education and economic development to their constituents and democratically transfer power to their successors.

The prize is awarded to a democratically elected former African Executive Head of State or Government who has served their term in office within the limits set by the country's constitution and has left office in the last three years.

The first winner of the Prize was Joaquim Chissano, former President of Mozambique in 2007, followed by Festus Mogae, former President of Botswana in 2008. In addition, Nelson Mandela was made an Honorary Laureate in 2007. But in as worrisome testimony of the poor leadership in Africa, in 2009 and 2010, the Prize Committee informed the Board of the Foundation that it had not selected a winner.

As I have explained repeatedly, this novel was written in 2006. Perhaps the difference between the story and the popular Third Term story is that here the President is not your typical African president.

I found no use of repeating the profile of the typical African leader. For a breath of fresh air, I went for a successful African leader; a beacon of hope. "Mubonde is one of Africa's most successful democracies. A toast of the West, it is considered the beacon of the rest of the continent still plagued by poor leadership. The economy is booming, local employment is healthy, crime rate has plummeted, the Mubondian currency is on par with the Euro, and international corporations are competing for stake in the boom. The sense of national pride is more spirited than at any other time in Mubonde's history. Credit for the new, prosperous Mubonde is given to the country's popular president, Robert Suweri, a selfless and visionary leader".

In spite of this success, he was a President who wanted to leave at the end of his tenure. But, as they say in Pidgin English, "who side?" His close aides and relations wanted him to stay on, to the shock of Peter Abel. The Synopsis
Peter Abel, an acclaimed investigative reporter for The Zodiac Newspaper, a prestigious newspaper, is so taken with President Suweri that he gives up exposing corruption in high places and leaves his country to become press secretary to him. Even the most profound arguments against the move from Abel's long-time editor, Chief Benson, fail to dissuade him.

He is soon to know that despite its success story, Mubonde is not immune to the sit-tight syndrome of governance. Trouble begins for Abel when a protestor accuses the president of trying to subvert the constitution and accuses Abel of selling out. When the protestor, after being beaten and jailed, turns up dead, Abel's investigative-reporter instincts take over: he feels compelled to look into the man's death. But he can't find the body, and when he is ordered to concoct a press release about the prisoner dying accidentally while in custody, he knows something is very wrong.

Abel's journalistic instincts are piqued when he discovers that the pressure group intent on extending the president's term is not a grassroots movement gaining momentum among Mubondians, but a group with a plot orchestrated and funded by a powerful cabal with global connections. It wishes to seize control of the Mubondian government and literally enslave Suweri to do its bidding. They include some members of his kitchen cabinet, some security men, national chairman of the ruling party, a former CIA agent, lobbyists in the US and Europe, and some US Congressmen.

The cabal resorts to all manner of violence to pump fear into Suweri to make him dependent on them - bomb attacks on his convoy, assassination of top politicians, false security reports, and false media reports.

Seeing Abel as a threat, the cabal cuts his direct contact with the president so that the only report Suweri gets is through them. Then, one after another, the cabal begins to kill Abel's collaborators, including a lady who doesn't want to see the president brought down by unscrupulous and dishonest aides.

Isolated, shadowed everywhere he goes, and his office and homes bugged, Abel does not have to be told he is on the death list. He fakes his own death as a cover for a desperate trip to Washington, D.C., where, he believes some answers lie buried. He will survive only if he can prove his case. He finds support from a Georgetown University professor, who speaks out against the prevalence of "sit tight" African leaders.

When Abel learns that the president is travelling to the New York City to address the United Nations General Assembly, he goes there. With some craftiness and good fortune, he manages to enter the room of one of the security aide's room and locate his notebook computer.

As Abel retrieves vital information on the plans of the cabal from the laptop, one of the officer's guards catches him in the room. They fight viciously, and in an act of self-defense, Abel kills the guard. He is then forced even deeper into hiding. When Abel confirms that the president will be killed during his visit to the US, Abel calls in the FBI, who later arrests him for the murder in the hotel.

Abel escapes from the custody of the FBI, and with continued support from Professor Bitallo's associates, he arranges to crash an elegant party at the Mobundian Embassy in Washington D.C., where he is convinced the cabal plans to assassinate President Suweri. He spots a security aide placing a suspicious substance in the president's drink "for reneging on a tacit approval to remain in office." The aide chooses the US of all places to cover his tracks and to punish the US for disappointing him.

Abel immediately intercedes-a startling sight for many people who up to that point believed he was dead. Once the president's safety is secured, Abel writes an expos� for his paper.

EPILOGUE: President Suweri returns to Mubonde with Abel. He immediately broadcasts a speech emphasizing the need for true democracy throughout Africa and the ways in which Mubonde will be in the vanguard. Six months later, the nation's political parties endorse their respective presidential candidates. The candidate representing Suweri's party offers Abel a ministerial position, but he decides to return to the newsroom. Dangerous as life can be undercover, Peter Abel fears that without it, his heart will stop beating and his blood freeze. The adrenalin rush keeps him feeling alive.

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