Foreword and Chapters Summaries - Fathers of Nations

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Foreword and chapter summaries

Foreword

The novel begins with a foreword that outlines the purpose of the book, ‘Father of Nations.’ This question is what happened at the Gambian heads of state summit that was attended by fifty African heads of state?

The foreword begins with the introduction of a man allegedly caught selling top secret document labelled ‘For 100 Eyes Only’.

Though the heads of state later that day boycotted the closing ceremony for the Summit held in Banjul, the Gambian News claimed the boycott was as a result of a disagreement among the heads of state and not due to the leaked confidential documents.

Also, the narrator reveals that the man selling the confidential documents was caught by guards but he disappeared never to be seen again a fate that seemingly was not surprising for the people of The Gambia.

The narrator also reveals that the Gambians did not speak out when the man disappeared but when it came to the issue of the failed summit, they spoke out loudly. Gambians looked at the summit as a critical success despite any comments by the heads of state or any critic that it was in fact a failure.

NOTE: The various chapter headings have no additional chapter name apart from the characteristic word ‘chapter’ then number. However, for the purpose of easy understanding and knowing what to expect in each chapter this guide has given the various chapters names apart from those given by the author. 

Chapter one Summary

Learn what happened in Chapter 1 of Fathers of Nations.

Introduction

This chapter introduces the six main characters of this novel. These characters include Professor Kimani, Comrade Melusi, Pastor Chiamaka, Engineer Tahir, Dr Afolabi and the reporter Fiona McKenzie. 

The first four those are, Professor Kimani, Comrade Melusi, Pastor Chiamaka and Engineer Tahir are the ones who are introduced first as they check into The Seamount Hotel in Banjul. The four men are strangers and know nothing about each other and they come from different parts of Africa.

All the men have barely settled into their rooms when they receive calls from some person who identifies himself only as ‘the guide’ to all men.

The ‘guide’ first calls professor Kimani, then Comrade Melusi, after Pastor Chiamaka and last Engineer Tahir and to all he delivered the same message about a briefcase.

All four briefcases have the same password.

The scene then transitions to one of Dr Afolabi and Ms. McKenzie where the latter is interviewing the former. However, in the middle of the interview Ms. McKenzie receives a call from her boss which leads her to rudely and abruptly cut the interview with Dr Afolabi short.

Though the exchange between Dr Afolabi and Ms McKenzie begins amicably it ends badly due to Ms McKenzie's rudeness and Dr Afolabi’s short temper (pg. 4-10)

The scene then changes to a detailed description of all the concerns and changes that happened to the city of Banjul and The Pinnacle Hotel due to the anticipated visit by the forty-nine heads of state.

We see that though the visit for the heads of state would be somewhat of a vacation (pg.10) for the Gambians it would be no fun.

Some of the costs that Gambians would bare as a result of the visiting dignitaries include:

  • Demolishment of road side kiosks which may be the only source of income for some families in what is termed as a slum clearance exercise. The author points out rather humorously and somewhat sarcastically that the purpose of the exercise is so that the visiting dignitaries can see that a few streets once had sidewalks.
  • Rare retarmacking of roads which causes traffic to come at a standstill.
  • Increase in bribe and extortion as guard checkpoints sprout everywhere.
  • Extreme shortage of water which is already a limited resource as all the water is routed to the visiting dignitaries. The water is apparently routed to go to new water fountains built to wow the visiting dignitaries.

Further the duty on security and protocol, who was responsible for said duty and how they carried them out is expanded on in this section (pg.10-15).

The visiting dignitaries presented a headache in terms of security and protocol.

Protocols including how they were to be greeted as they arrived, accommodations, the number of delegates who could be accommodated for each dignitary, the seating arrangements and so on.

Chapter Two Summary

Learn what happened in Chapter 2 of Fathers of Nations.

The Night calls

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 has seen a letter from the 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 having seen leaflets, pamphlets, and brochures from AGDA. He also confirms having seen the 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 saw him drinking Pepsi at the Seamount hotel bar. Meanwhile, another mobile phone 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 11:00 p.m.

Chapter Three Summary

Learn what happened in Chapter 3 of Fathers of Nations.

Professor Kimani’s Chapter

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.

Prof. Kimani launched a raucous debate a month after his arrival, demanding that the University of Nairobi strive for relevance to society rather than simply delivering work.

Six months later, his clarion call prevailed.

The university’s official motto became "relevance to society." He wedged another war after winning the first 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.

Africa has been hit by the global economic downturn. 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 change, and Africa obliged. Prof. Kimani had a daughter, Tuni, whose name she owes to Tunisia, her country of conception.

Parliament staged an economic coup to improve their remunerations. Members of Parliament (MP) earned less than professors when he first started teaching.

Following the coup, an MP can earn up to a hundred times the salary 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 about why women are susceptible and fall easy prey to predators: a lack of awareness of where women are, a look of weakness and helplessness, and a temptation to stray.

A comparison is drawn between Prof. Kimani and Newborn Walomu, the 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 of Prof. Kimani, dies in a road accident. Tuni had to use a 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 on her husband: she will be leaving.

She says Newborn Walomu, the MP and the 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 next morning for Newborn Walomu's house. Prof. Kimani visits Newborn Walomu and inquires as to why he chose 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 position he started at when he joined the university.

A six-month 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, identified as 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 manifests itself in acts that cancel out instead of adding up.

Path Alpha will correct the anomaly by "mobilizing civic discontent into a will to change." Mr. Longway tells Prof. Kimani that if he joins Path Alpha, he will 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.

The next day, he enlists as a Path Alpha member.

The loss of his daughter, desertion by his wife, and mistreatment by his university and state had tested him hard and long. He had reached the boiling point.

Chapter Four Summary

Learn what happened in Chapter 4 of Fathers of Nations.

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 are 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 or 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 hired non-Americans. Mr. Robert Manley, chief of the bureau, met her at the entrance and led her to the office.

Mr. Manley instructed her that because there was a breaking story, she would start her job immediately. Her new salary is better than what Gambian News was offering and paying. She meets a new staff member, Nicolas Sentinel, a communications technician from America.

The breaking story is that a summit of Africa’s heads of state will begin shortly at the Pinnacle Hotel.

Sentinel would be handy in her work. She learns that Sentinel has records of many proceedings in Gambia, including Ms. McKenzie’s interview with Dr. Afolabi.

Sentinel confirms that a man is speaking to four other men based on the recordings. 

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.

"Miss Fiona McKenzie," he says. Ms. McKenzie asks Dr. Afolabi if he could please her. He comes out to meet her but does not find her.

While he readies to go back to his room, the voice of a woman, about 30 years old, cries out for help. The young woman is in the company of a man.

The hotel attendant looks detached and aloof. McKenzie is the name of the young woman being whisked away.

She shouts out Dr. Afolabi’s name, and this prompts him to rush to her aid. Dr. Afolabi faces the alleged abductor, who says he’s Leo, otherwise referred to as the Liberian mauler.

A fight breaks out between Dr. Afolabi and Leo, the Liberian Mauler.

Dr. Afolabi wins the war and whisks McKenzie away to his room.

They go to Dr. Afolabi’s suite, where she scrapes 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 of Nicolas Sentinel’s machine, the "silent listener," which has recorded so many things in the last two days.

They spent the night at Dr. Afolabi’s suite.

Chapter Five Summary

Learn what happened in Chapter 5 of Fathers of Nations.

Before Dr. Afolabi was invited to Banjul to serve as an advisor to the summit of heads of state, he had previously been a guest at the Foundation for Democratic Rule in Washington to give a key note address at the annual conference.

Dr. Afolabi married Pamela from Boston, Massachusetts.

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 blood pressure and memory, among other things.

Dr. Afolabi, while walking about Boston, bought a razor for five dollars and twenty-three cents. Later, he rejoins his wife at her father’s house.

Later, while on 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 establish contacts.

From their talk, Tad Longway had listened to Dr. Afolabi’s address, 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 to mobilize 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 is top-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 an advisor at. Mr. Tad Longway hands the Path Alpha document to Dr. Afolabi and asks him to remain with Way Omega so that they can find a way to 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, Isabel, 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 shocked by what is happening.

She learns with utter disbelief that her husband and the man in question knew each other very well. Femi, the uninvited guest 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 baths. 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) leave her house. Dr. Afolabi comes to their defense, arguing that it’s late at night and that if the two have to leave, 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 handling of 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 has filed for divorce.

Chapter Six Summary

Learn what happened in Chapter 6 of Fathers of Nations.

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 has been waiting in line to be cleared, and his turn has finally arrived.

He is found with a needle, one of the many things disallowed in 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 the Chaminuka restaurant in downtown Harare.

It’s about 1:30 p.m.; the restaurant is empty except for 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 been crushed. Lunch was the visitor’s idea.

He told Melusi that he had a topic he wanted to discuss.

His name is Tad Longway, a director of special projects at AGDA, the Agency for Governance and Development in Africa.

The leader of Zimbabwe and Comrade Melusi had fought side by side with Smith for years, which is why he used to call him comrade.

Then Zimbabwe got her independence. A new national anthem was sung: 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, the national motto was "unity, freedom, and work."

Despite this, the new ruler did not appoint Comrade Melusi as a minister after they fought 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 stories hit southern Zimbabwe, where the Ndebele live, anti-government riots erupted.

People went on a rampage and attacked any government supporter who crossed their path. Retribution against them followed.

The fifth brigade, better known as GUKURUHUNDI, the Shona word for the year's rainstorm that washes chaff off the fields so that soil tilling can begin, swooped into the area.

It washed off the Ndebele insurgents like chaff. All this happened while Melusi was still at work, in a business office down town in 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 anyone away from his Shona tribesmen.

To him, all Ndebeles, Melusi included, had become rivals.

According to Melusi, the man had changed because he wanted to be president for life.

Meanwhile, Comrade Melusi takes the visitor to the Muponda restaurant at the northern edge of Harare because 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 other 1% in the elections.

Elections had been preceded by a drought, the worst of which the ruler declared a national disaster.

Moreover, the international community clamped down on Zimbabwe with a program called the Structural Adjustment Program (SAP).

With this, they knew the ruler would flop because everything spelled 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 had to declare that the 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, the Shona word for trash.

Bulldozers 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 as ruler was to prevent disease and crime. Instead, disease and crime increased.

It is true that the main aim was to punish the urban poor for supporting opposition parties.

Tad Longway cleared the hotel bill and reached into his side pocket for another stack of American dollars, which he handed to Comrade Melusi.

Thereafter, he handed a document titled "Path Alpha" to him and told him that it contained the subject matter he wanted them to discuss, i.e., mobilizing discontent with Africa in its present state into a will to change it.

Tad Longway asks Comrade Melusi if he would join the movement.

Chapter Seven  Summary

Learn what happened in Chapter 7 of Fathers of Nations.

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 later discovered 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 the back row among the observers, following the summit keenly and quietly.

The host president then moves on to the president of South Africa and 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 the back row, hates his president intensely. Following the pole of influence, simply refusing to follow those rules elevates 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 uninterested. Engineer Tahir studies him from the back of the hall.

Once he had been one of the man’s greatest admirers, but not any more.

Chapter Eight Summary

Learn what happened in Chapter 8 of Fathers of Nations.

In a flashback, the chapter introduces a reckless driver.

The reckless driver is Chineke Chiamaka.

Except for his brother, Obinna, an evening student at the University of Lagos, most people despised him for his reckless driving and carelessness.

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 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 with no serious injuries. The fire engine was nowhere to be seen. 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 and became a preacher.

Chiamaka has, with time, acquired preaching skills. He preached everywhere.

One Sunday he gave a very powerful sermon 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 the future.

Now, good news about Africa is hard to come by and even more 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. 

Chapter Nine Summary

Learn what happened in Chapter 9 of Fathers of Nations.

After graduating from Abdelaziz Academy in Tripoli, Libya, Engineer Seif Tahir left Libya and went 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 was the right person to rule it. He defended the ruler.

Engineer Tahir joined the "Fist for Allah" after his return from 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 American soil. The Libyan leader knew America would retaliate, and not always rationally. He scrambled for his bases to shield Libya from America’s revenge.

He even dismantled the "Fist of Allah" itself. Engineer Tahir would have learned to live with anything but 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 forever unforgivable.

Angry beyond words, Engineer Tahir now hated the man he had once liked. Libya's leader was no longer his hero.

He had become a villain. Meanwhile, the dismantling of the "Fist of Allah" coincided with the peaking of an 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 some time, she said no.

Engineer Tahir misinterpreted the "yes" as a "no" and reacted violently to it. 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 a violation of Libyan culture.

But the truth was, he did it to take revenge against someone who he thought had rejected his advances.

Rahma did not take discipline, vengeance, or whatever it was for granted. She struck back and hit his left eye, slitting 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 took Ms. Mahmoud to court.

After the proceedings, the court made a ruling based on the Hammurabi 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 talked to him. He left Tripoli and moved east to live alone in Benghazi after they (friends) persisted.

There were two reasons for Engineer Tahir’s gloom. One was a forced and lifeless object.He got it after losing an eye in what he used to call "the accident."

The other was "the effect," deep and weakening. This is what he got when he decided to have an artificial replacement for the eye he had lost.

While in Benghazi, Engineer Tahir ran into a green-eyed stranger at a street café.

The two got talking, mostly about the history of Libya; one such story was that Libya was inhibited by 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.

Chapter Ten Summary

Learn what happened in Chapter 10 of Fathers of Nations.

The youth (Nick) calls 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 the names of the other four, he insisted on being called guide, a fictitious name.

It turns out the guide is a hub  node, and the other nodes are the four men: Prof. Kimani, Comrade Mclusij, Pastor Chiamaka, and Engineer Tahir.

The nodes can be found at the Seamount Ilotel. Nick says he uses the Global Positioning System (GPS) as a way of determining location.

The four nodes are not in communication with each other. All four are communicating with only one person—their guide, the hub node.

He is their leader. He is also within The Seamount Hotel's 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.

Tad Longway is later revealed to be the person on the second floor, central wing room 2059.

Fiona McKenzie has come to check on Dr. Afolabi. In due course, she gathers more details about the hub-node on the central wing's second floor.

Using the telephone booth at the hotel, she calls Tad Longwaye. She notices that Tad Longway 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 to her. Mr. Tad Longway offers to buy a drink for Fiona McKenzie.

Elsewhere, as Dr. Afolabi 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 ushers 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 does.

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 agenda. Dr. Afolabi came to advocate for Way Omega, and he will.

However, in doing so, he will draw in other alternatives, including Path Alpha. Dr. Afolabi, on learning that Nick is the source of all the information about the five people, is keen on meeting Nick.

Chapter Eleven Summary

Learn what happened in Chapter 11 of Fathers of Nations.

Pastor Chiamaka goes through the Pinnacle Hotel’s security clearance formalities without difficulty and enters 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 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, and he picks it up. The caller on the other end is in a jovial mood. The guide is calling.

The guide informs Pastor Chiamaka that he has scheduled a meeting that will soon bring Chiamaka and four other people together alongside the guide.

Pastor Chineke Chiamaka is invited to room 2059 in The Seamount Hotel's central wing.This is the room where the guide is.

Meanwhile, as Comrade Melusi lies flat on his back in bed, daydreaming about his late wife, Ziliza, and reaches for his wallet to pull 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 same meeting in an hour’s time without fail. Comrade Melusi returns to his 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 and getting ready for bed, the mirror before him shows he is loose everywhere; his belly hangs 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 from the left and right sides of his nose down to the left and right sides of his mouth. Loose.

He tried to smile them away. They refuse to leave. The flesh under his chin hangs 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, in the 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 in room 2059, central wing. The material is here. Dr. Afolabi arrives early.

Mr. Tad Longway had requested to come early to broach the meeting with him before it began. Other participants in the meeting arrive.

When all have taken their seats, Mr. Longway rises since he knows them all and they don’t know each other. He leads them through introductions.

Mr. Longway turns to serious business. He tells the four that ostensibly, at the summit, 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 the 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 others had come as advocates of Path Alpha, a rival group.

Such being the case, he feels he cannot openly work with them without appearing to undermine his official role. He also discloses that he studied both Path Alpha and Way Omega closely and feels duty-bound to balance his views on each of the documents in the advice he will give to the summit.

He seeks their forgiveness under the prevailing circumstances.

They agree with him. Dr. Afolabi shares that nations don’t host summits just for the sake of entertaining 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 around 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.

Because he believes he can best serve his country's interests if he pleases everyone and pleases no one, Dr. Afolabi indicates that it’s important to take care of this unique situation because the new chair has a play up his sleeve, which 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, during the speaker’s microphone session, they raise the issue at hand.

Chapter Twelve Summary

Learn what happened in Chapter 12 of Fathers of Nations.

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 pulls a prepared speech from his breast pocket.

Then he 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 in the chair after the Gambian president declined. Mr. Tiku Zinto, an island country's Minister of Development Planning, is flanked on his left and right by two other summiteers.

Dr. Afolabi, here as an advisor to help the summit along if asked to, is sitting on the chair’s left.

The chair names 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 has been 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 because 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 is 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 to a sluggish start.

The heads of state then take a break and come back after an hour. Didier Bangoura, Simba Ibarosa, King Jemba Jemba IV, Bibo Dibonso, and Wasi Wasi Wesiga are among the presidents who have contributed.

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 asking 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.

Chapter Thirteen Summary

Learn what happened in Chapter 13 of Fathers of Nations.

Dr. Afolabi visits Fiona McKenzie. He follows the directions he has 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 "trick" that enabled him to manage to put Path Alpha on the summit’s agenda.

Dr. Afolabi says that African practitioners condemn troublemakers, but ironically, some of them are troublemakers.

If the heads of state had known about The Trick beforehand, 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 has 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, followed by Dr. Afolabi.

Chapter Fourteen Summary

Learn what happened in Chapter 14 of Fathers of Nations.

The summit reconvenes.

The mood is expectant, yet jittery; hope and fear hang in the air in equal measure.

Heads of state hope that 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 for 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 has not read and will never read the documents.

There is a change in the seating 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 in their previous positions.Among the observers in the back row are three new faces: 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 way forward for 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 gives further details and explains how the method works. Minister Zinto questions the method and terms it total nonsense.

Dr. Afolabi also petitions for the method. He says the Choice Matrix sounds complicated. Trouble looms. Sensing trouble, the chair quickly moves in to avert it before it erupts.

He asks members to take a 15-minute break for a breather.

When the summit resumes, the breather appears to have served its purpose. It had rejuvenated the old man (the chair) with some second-round youth.

President Bangoura continues from where he left off. HC calls the chair of the summit, Minister Zinto, and Dr. Afolabi in front of him to where he is standing and tosses a coin.

Path Alpha was chosen based on the outcome of the two coin tosses. To cap the meeting, the Pinnacle Hotel informs the summit that it has 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-sized pistol, and 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 slips 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 escorted the chair out of the summit hall. Mr. Manley and Nick leave for their places of work, as do Dr. Afolabi and Ms. McKenzie.

Mr. Longway and his three other men (Prof. Kimani, Pastor Chiamaka, and Engineer Tahir) are the last to leave. As they are leaving, they hug and cheer.

Despite all odds, their Path Alpha had won the day.

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