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‘Canned’ pupils, ‘auto-growers’ and other stories

The Minister is shown in a photograph on page 3 of the Custodian (June 27). The caption under the photograph reads thus: “Health and Social Welfare Minister Dr Hussein Mwinyi (L) gives details to his ‘aid’, as he walks towards the National Assembly debating chamber in Dodoma yesterday. (Photo by KS)” On page xiii of the same paper, reference is made to newly-elected Egyptian President, in an article titled: “Egypt’s Mursi never made overtures to Iran, says aide”.

Dr Mohammed Morsi Isa Al-Ayyat, 61, (yes, he has a Doctorate in Engineering, obtained from the University of Southern California, US, in 1982), is the hope for many, but there are many who are not sure of their fate under his reign. Will they enjoy equal rights, or will they continue to be third class citizens who are suppressed in many ways? This is the time and age to shun sectarian policies meant to obliterate or suppress certain communities.

Let Dr Morsi stand for all Egyptians, equally. We note from the paragraphs above that the Tanzanian Minister’s assistant is called an “aid” and Dr Morsi (or Mursi?)’s assistant is called an “aide”. Which is which?”Aid” means: help, support or assistance. “Aide” on the other hand, means a person whose duty is to help someone who has an important job, especially a politician. My pick would be that for each of these officers assisting important persons, the correct title of their job is “aide”, and not “aid”. *****

There is this well-known English saying: “Spare the rod, spoil the child”. The saying conveys the notion that children will only flourish if chastised, physically or otherwise, for any wrongdoing. In Proverbs 13: 24 we read as follows: “He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes”. Nevertheless, there is considerable debate in the modern world as to whether the continued use of the rod is desirable.

An article in the Custodian (June 27, p. 7), titled “Mixed Feelings on Corporal Punishment” discusses the issue. A number of quotations from the article demonstrate that writers sometimes mix up canning and caning: “Slapping and ‘canning’ by teachers, is a traditional method used to discipline pupils”. “In Tanzania’s school system ‘canning’ is used by teachers for students and pupils who fail to abide by school rules”.

“A Tanga resident sees no use in prohibiting caning .... since parents cherish it as a way of correcting their children”. “On his part, Mr SK (60) says although ‘canning’ could be outdated in most developing (developed?) countries, it is improper to emulate them because our traditions are different from theirs.” “A lady, by the name of Hawa, says she detests caning”, etc.

So is it “canning” or “caning”? For sure, it cannot be “canning” since that would mean putting these wayward children in tins. How big would the tins be, one wonders. It is caning. To cane means to beat someone with a stick. ***** Producing newspapers must be a difficult business, but we the readers believe that there is some quality control set-up somewhere so that obvious errors do not slip from the net. Is that the case?

I have four issuesof the Good Citizens and all have headlines or captions which needed correction. On page 5 of the June 27 paper, we wave this title: “Bank buys stake in microfinance firm”. From the content of the article however, the title should have been: ‘Bank buys stake in mortgage finance firm”. The 29th June edition has an article (p. 12) referring to the recent landslides in Uganda: “Some residents in the villages surrounding Mt Elgon assemble for a public event.

Despite state efforts to move residents from dangerous mountain ‘slops’, the villagers oppose the move”. They prefer to live on the mountain “slopes”. On page 25, we find this headline: “High ‘inretest’ rates make the poor, poorer, say Mgimwa”. The 1 July edition has articles related to the ongoing Constitution Review process. One is titled: “Let us discuss ‘dritical’ issues, cleric advises” (p. 7).

On page 11, we see President Mwai Kibaki of Kenya admiring something: “Designer ‘attracks’ president’s attention’. The 2 July edition had an article once more referring to the Uganda landslides: ‘Mt Elgon landslides leave six children ‘opharned’”, and many more. Finally there is this article referring to ways of collaboration between small-holder land owners and large-scale farmers.

The smaller ones could be “autogrowers”, says the article. They will however not be growing “autos”, for in reality they are supposed to be called “out-growers”.


LAST week, following the inauguration of the newlyelected ...


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