WHEN you get a pat on the back for what you were commissioned to do by an authority no less than the Minister of State in the President’s Office (Regional Administration and Local Government), you certainly feel exceptionally happy.
Yes, you are the exception not the rule. The Custodian dated Saturday March 6 has this brief article on its page 3, entitled: “Jafo happy with construction progress of Uhuru Hospital road in Chamwino”, in which the Minister of State is reported to have said, shortly after inspecting different construction projects within the country’s political capital – Dodoma: “I am happy with the construction progress”.
The road, which is constructed at tarmac level, is under the Tanzania Rural Roads Agency (Tarura), which, according to the writer: “receives a ‘ration’ of 30 per cent against 70 per cent given to the Tanzania National Road Agency (Tanroads) disbursed by the Road Fund Board (RFB)”.
The word “ration” drew my attention, throwing my mind back to those JKT days, the days of the ‘mustin’ (‘mess tin’, of course) which was an invaluable asset in which to receive your ration of ugali and beans for that day. And remember, it was near criminal “to renew”, if you felt your ration was a wee too little.
So, “ration” is “a limited amount of something, especially food that you are allowed to have in cases when there is not much available, or when someone else is controlling it”. However, the writer’s concern was not food but money; the proportion of what one implementing agency gets compared to the other. He was thinking of “ratio’, not “ration”.
The money for constructing roads is disbursed in a ratio 30:70 to Tarura and Tanroads respectively. Still on the same page, there is a news item in which NGOs are applauded.
It is titled: “Zanzibar President applauds NGOs’ Support”. One of the leaders of the two commended NGOs is quoted as telling the President that “they had conducted free eye screening, construction of water wells, furniture and medical equipment”.
In the above quotation, there is only one verb “conducted”, which, however, does not apply to all the activities mentioned. They had conducted free eye screening all right, but, had they conducted ‘construction of water wells’? Had they conducted ‘furniture and medical equipment’? Clearly you need other verbs to ‘operationalise’ the other activities.
Here is our recommendation: “They had conducted free eye screening, constructed water wells, and, donated furniture and medical equipment”. The two NGOs, Helping Hand and Muzdaliffa Charitable Organisation, clearly deserve a pat on the back as well. Let us jump to page 6.
Here we find a large photograph of a lady presenting something to a group of young persons who are shown listening attentively. The caption, in part, reads as follows: “JS, manager with Future Stem Business Leaders Tanzania speaks at yesterday’s ‘launch’ in Dar es Salaam organised by the Tanzania Commission of Science and Technology (Costech). The project’s focus is on building capacity for science students in secondary schools”.
Is it “launch” or “lunch”. Could be either, could be both. It is not crystal clear. May be they were launching a project (no lunch, just a bottle of water). Or Costech had provided free lunch so that the lady manager could talk to stakeholders (over lunch that is). May be it was a lunch at which the project was launched.
For us, it is important that the words “launch” and “lunch” are not used interchangeably. Lastly, no medals whatsoever, for stating that the Minister for Health is female. We have seen her on social media performing the nyungu (self-steaming) ritual with her husband. And you possibly do not believe there are writers who mix up pronouns “he and she”.
But, here is how one writer referred to the Hon Minister: “The Minister made the remarks yesterday during HER tour at the hospital ‘whereas’ SHE said the project evaluation had revealed a loss of 1.6bn/-. HE directed the Coastal Region Administrative Secretary to ensure proper supervision of projects in the Health Sector...”!!!