‘Flood’ that ‘hardly hiti’ Kyela district leaves 400 school children without toilets

Lusuga Kironde

SIXTEEN days of Activism against Gender-Based violence (GBV) have just ended and concerted efforts to end the vice have been recommended.

Some of these are to be found in a news item titled: “Police Challenged on Strategies to combat Domestic Violence” (Custodian, 14 December, p. 11) in which the Zanzibar Police Commissioner is reported to have asked for prompt assistance to get conclusive evidence to help pin down the culprits: “The Commissioner noted that police should be assisted to be able to conduct DNA investigations specifically for rape cases.

He said there are many pending rape cases with ‘Government Chemistry’, which delays provision of justice”. Did the writer mean “Government Chemistry”? Certainly not! He must have had “Government Chemist” in mind.

The Government Chemist Laboratory was established during the German era in 1895 under the Ministry of Health as a centre for research in tropical diseases particularly malaria. In recent years, it has become an executive agency whose mission is: “To provide quality and cost effective laboratory and regulatory services to the Government, Institutions, private sector and the general public for the purpose of safeguarding human health, environment and for execution of justice”.

This includes conducting DNA investigations. So please, Government Chemist Laboratory Agency, do speed up these investigations especially in the case of rape, so that justice can be dispensed. From Zanzibar, we go to Kyela, where nearly 400 pupils at one Secondary School have no toilet facilities (see Custodian 14 December, p. 11).

Why should that be the case? A Custodian reporter had this to say: “They have been in this situation for more than six months, after ‘the’ toilet facilities were destroyed by ‘flood’ that ‘hardly hit’ the district in April this year”.

There is no doubt that the reporter wanted to tell us that Kyela District suffered from serious floods in April this year, but that meaning is not conveyed by saying “flood that hardly hit the district”. If Kyela was ‘hardly hit’ by floods (not ‘flood’ please), then the District did not suffer, or suffered only marginally.

The writer should have used the phrase: “hard hit” (not, “hardly hit”). The sentence could then read as follows: “They have been in this situation for more than six months, after the school toilet facilities were destroyed by ‘floods’ that ‘hit’ the district ‘hard’ in April this year”.

Next, we move to Sumbawanga, where, according to the Daily Blog (December 15, p. 40; “About 84 families have been rendered homeless, while 11 people sustained injuries, ‘among them are four minors’, following a ‘heavy downpour’ accompanied by strong winds which pounded Rukwa and Katavi regions recently”.

Somewhere in the middle of the article it says: the RC visited the area; “to assess the damage caused by torrential rains which ‘wrecked havoc’ on residents. We have said a zillion times before, but let us repeat: a downpour is “a lot of rain that falls in a short time” Thus to say “a heavy downpour” is to be tautological. On the other hand, we say “to wreak havoc” not ‘to wreck havoc”. Finally we get our story from Hai, in Kilimanjaro Region.

There is, in that District, a Primary School that takes in children with disabilities especially albinos. Christmas is coming and the School has closed and has asked parents to take their children and be with them during this festive season.

Sadly, we are told in a news item title: “152 kids with special needs ‘left’ in School” (Daily Blog, p. 3). The School management thinks this is deliberate: “As some of the children have been reported to be living with albinism, the parents fear that they would be ‘invaded’ by people who seek to cut parts of their bodies for different reasons”.

I would not have used the verb “invaded” in these circumstances. For, to invade means “to enter a country, town or area using military force…”, “to go into a place in large numbers …”, “to get involved in something in an unwanted and annoying way”.

How about saying the parents fear that their children could be “attacked, or assaulted for their body parts?” We wish you happy preparations for Christmas and the New Year.

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