GIVEN the worldwide concern with the spread and effects of Covid-19, it is baffling that the public is, in many parts of Africa, hesitating to get themselves vaccinated against the pandemic. Medical officials in Geita, Tanzania, think they have hit at, at least one reason, why people are not turning up for vaccination in large numbers, as had been expected.
This is reported in a news item published in the Daily Blog of 11 September (page 4) under a headline reading: “Distance ‘attributed to’ low vaccination uptake in Geita”.
The reporter opens his piece by emphasizing what is in the headline: “The distance to and from designated health facilities for Covid-19 vaccinations has been attributed to low turnout for inoculation in Geita region”.
This can in no way be true! Let us look at the meaning of the verb “to attribute (to or by)”. It means: “to regard as: belonging (to), produced (by) or, resulting (from)”. So, can we, for example, say that distance is produced by low vaccination uptake in Geita? Can we say that distance results from low vaccination uptake? Surely not.
We could use another verb (such as “blame) instead of “attribute”; or, we could change the structure of the sentence: “The distance to and from designated health facilities for Covid-19 vaccinations has been ‘blamed for’ (not ‘attributed to’) the low turnout for inoculation in Geita region”.
Alternatively we can say: “The low turnout for inoculation in Geita region has been attributed to the distance to and from designated health facilities for Covid-19 vaccinations”.
The reporter goes on: “The Region is said to have vaccinated only 4,600 people since the exercise ‘kicked off’ ‘in the past one month’”.
The phrasal verb “kicked off” implies a specific time when an event took place. On the other hand “in the past one month” implies an ongoing activity within a given period. So, we either kick off the phrasal verb “kicked off” from the sentence; or we do away with the phrase “in the past one month”. Two versions are suggested:
“The Region is said to have vaccinated only 4,600 people ‘in the past one month’”; or, “The Region is said to have vaccinated only 4,600 people since the exercise ‘kicked off’ ‘a month ago’”.
From Geita, we come back to Dar es Salaam. The Custodian, dated 11 September has, on its page 4, information on a long-serving University Chancellor, who has relinquished that position. The news item is titled: “Msuya retires as Ardhi University Chancellor after 14 years of service”.
At the handover ceremony to a new Chancellor, Mr Msuya, a former Prime Minister and Vice President, had a message to convey to the staff and students of Ardhi University (ARU), as captured by the Custodian’s correspondent:
“Speaking at the handover ceremony, Msuya ‘ARGUED’ the universities in the country to focus on the aim of their establishment”.
Of course you are not happy with the verb “argue” in the above sentence, but the reporter is more than happy to use it again: “Msuya ‘ARGUED’ ARU management to continue to think on how they can increase various courses and recruit many youths so that they fulfil the aim of ‘its’ establishment”.
Mzee Msuya was surely not arguing with anybody. Instead, he URGED the University Staff and Management to do to this or that.
Winding up his speech, Mzee Msuya is reported to have said the following: “I congratulate you because you have contributed immensely ‘IN’ the production of competent graduates in different ‘PROFESSIONALS’ who can compete in the global market”.
We recommend to quote him differently: “I congratulate you because you have contributed immensely ‘TO’ the production of competent graduates who can compete in the global market in different ‘PROFESSIONS’”.
We welcome the new Chancellor, Justice Mohamed Chande Othman, and wish the former Chancellor, a happy retirement.
We are also saddened by the demise of long-term University of Dar es Salaam Professor and Vice Chancellor, Professor Mathew Luhanga, RIP.