‘Development’: Full Poem Analysis Notes

‘Development’: Full Poem Analysis Notes


By KundiFaraja

A man of the people

Enters his office

to sit on the throne

of Party and State,

His stick of power

Across the table.


He looks into the files

To see the demands

Of the millions of people

Who for years since Uhuru

Have just managed to survive

They ring out one message

Man of the people

You have been telling us

What we need…

Health centres,

More schools,

Clean water,

Better transport facilities

Better living conditions.


Do you plead incapable

To bring about development?


I declare running

Better than walking

for a young and poor country

I plead fighting underdevelopment

Tougher than fighting

A wounded buffalo


With a pocket knife;

I plead underdevelopment

Stronger than the blows of the sea

When the hurricane is at its height.

I plead fighting underdevelopment

Tougher than combating colonialism

I see that it’s more difficult

To maintain peace

Than to stop a coup d’état


I plead the cry

Of the nation

More painful than the yell

Of a woman

As her husband dies of sickness;

It’s more painful than the screams

Of a man

Dying in agony

In the coils of the greatest python

Found in the African forest.


How is development

To be brought brother

When the people to whom

We have entrusted power

Are corrupt?


I plead the stomachs

Of the privileged few

Greater than the Rift Valley;

They cannot be satisfied

With a normal share.


I plead the thirst

Of the minority

Greater than that of the Sahara;

No rains can quench it.


I reckon the minority

More sensitive to egoism

Than to National Development;

Nothing that is not theirs

Is of any interest.

Their response to egoism.

Is faster than camera film to light

But as slow as tropisms

To nation-building...


The majority plead




But, brother,

How is the development to come?




Kundi Faraja


The title ‘Development’ is a direct one which refers to the topic of development in general, although in this poem, ‘underdevelopment’ is what is discussed. The title exemplifies how whole idea of development and how the minority uncommitted leaders deceive the majority people on the issue of development or the issue of bringing development to the people.


The poem is about an irresponsible ‘man of the people’ together with other irresponsible leaders who preach to do better things to their people while in reality they do nothing but the things for their own personal interests.


1st Stanza

This stanza talks about the office routines of 'a man of the people' that he always enters his office and sit majestically on the seat (throne) of the Party and State and he puts his leadership stick of power across the stable. This is the top Ruling Party Leader and a head of government.

2nd & 3rd Stanza

In these stanzas, the 'Man of the People' starts working by looking into the office files. In those files, he comes across the message of the demands of his people which have not been addressed for years after independence. In their message, his people accuse him (a man of the people) of the incapability or his failure to bring about the development they need.

4th Stanza

In replying to his people's demands, 'a man of the people' insists that he is determined to fight for them and the country in general.

5th Stanza

The stanza explains the plans for 'a man of the people'. He expresses his strategies and plans of fighting underdevelopment of his country. He agrees that eradicating underdevelopment is tough but he has courage and means to do that. He compares fighting underdevelopment with the blows of the sea, hurricane, colonialism and coup d’état.

6th Stanza

 In this stanza, 'a man of the people' is still pleading that he knows how much it is difficult to fight for underdevelopment of his country. Like in the previous stanza, he uses powerful language to show his people that he is more than prepared to lead them to glory. He compares his country's underdevelopment with the cry, pain, sickness, agony, and python.

7th Stanza

On the phone, the message still insists that the development he is addressing to his people cannot come when the leaders in power are corrupt. So, he condemns corruption as a hindrance to people's progress.

8th & 9th Stanza

In the 8th and 9th stanza, 'a man of the people' tries to reply to the previous questions and condemns the few leaders who are irresponsible and unsatisfied with their salaries. But he remains firm and defends himself by saying that he is still there in power to fight for them and the few corrupt leaders should stop harassing the majority.

10th Stanza

In this stanza, the persona, who is 'a man of the people' agrees that the minority cares much about themselves. And that they are selfish because they care much about their personal interests more than they care about the national development project.

11th Stanza

The message on the phone concludes the poem by repeating the same matter that the majority are still exploited, cheated and disregarded regardless of what 'a man of the people' says or thinks he will do. The message is clear that the people are still suffering despite the leader's political narratives.


(Who is speaking in the poem). The persona of the poem is a corrupt, extravagant, egoistic, irresponsible, selfish, and hypocritical.

He is a betrayer. He has betrayed his people who put him in power.


(Whom the speaker is speaking to). The addressee/audience of this poem is any irresponsible, selfish, and corrupt leader who is always thinking about benefiting himself/herself while his/her people are getting poorer and poorer.


The tone of the poet is pompous and hypocritical to the leader and ironic, sad and angry to the people.


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Emmanuel Kachele

Emmanuel Kachele is a founder and Blogger of KACHELE ONLINE Blog, an educational blog where 'O' Level English - 'OLE', 'A' Level English (ALE) and other related teaching and life skills are shared extensively. This is an online center for all Tanzanian Secondary School English Language students and teachers (Forms I-VI) and all interested English Language learners and teachers worldwide.

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