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Government urged to re-allocate farms that have been left “furlough”

This was noted by a journalist, and made front page news in the my-African (16 April), in a piece titled: “Professor Baregu: Why I did not hold the ‘holly’ book”. This “holly” spelling of “holy” is repeated several times over. However, “holly” has nothing to do with sanctity.

Holly is a small tree with sharp dark green leaves and red berries. For “holly” the writer had “holy” in mind. Holy is an adjective meaning “sacred; connected with God or religion”.  Why did the renowned Professor of Political Science and International relations do that? Apparently he believes in African traditional religions: “Many of us have opted ‘to’ new way of worshipping, something that has led worshippers to be confused” he is quoted as saying.

For “opted to new way of worshipping”, I would have said “opted for foreign ways of worshipping”. Yes, there is a lot to be said for traditional religions, where God was never far, being connected with the local forest, river, or, mountain; with rainfall, the sun, wind and thunder; with the local tree or water source, etc, thus leading to the general respect for the environment.  

The Professor noted that the task of the Commission was not an easy one. “Further, he said the public members should be ‘left freely’ saying ‘we should put ourselves into their shoes and help each other’, he said”. Note that the verb “say” is used three times in this brief quotation. Does, “public members” mean “members of the public”?

Nope, but the writer seems to believe so. And, what does “the public members should be left freely” mean? My rewrite of the sentence runs as follows: “The Professor said members of the public should be left to talk freely. ‘We should put ourselves in their shoes and help each other’”.  

Still with the my-African (p. 3), we are told: “TBL supports Tumaini University 100m/=”. This title reflects translation from Swahili: “TBLwaisaidia Chuo Kikuu Tumaini 100m/=”. Otherwise we need a preposition before stating the amount of money, 100m/= unless we change the verb “support”.

Possible versions are: “TBL supports Tumaini University with 100m/=”, or “TBL donates 100m/= to Tumaini University”, or “TBL gives Tumaini University, 100m/=”.  TBL’s Corporate Affairs Director is quoted as saying his company “deemed” to support the construction of the College due to its contribution made to the national development. It is suspected that by “deemed”, the writer had “decided” in mind i.e. the Company decided to support the University for such and such reasons.  

Now, let us take a bus to Tanga, a region once upon a time famous for growing sisal. Recently, sisal stakeholders met in the city of Tanga and noted with concern that farms under the defunct Tanzania Sisal Authority are not being put to cultivation (Custodian April 6, Business and Foreign in a piece titled: “Govt told to revoke TSA Certificate of Ownership”.. They stakeholders said: “the government should provide them the farms that are currently left ‘furlough’ to cultivate”.

The Swahili ancestry of “the government should provide them farms ....  to cultivate” should ne noted, “serikali iwape mashamba walime”.  What did the writer have in mind by the noun “furlough”, for it means “leave of absence especially of a soldier”, and is clearly not applicable, in the circumstances. It is possible that the writer considered three words namely “furlough” which we have seen, “furrow”, and “fallow”. “Furrow is also out of place since it means a trench as made by a plough. “Fallow” may be the appropriate one since it means: “(land which is) ploughed and harrowed but is left without crop; uncultivated, neglected”.

What the stakeholders are urging the government is to give them land which is fallow (and not “furlough”) so that they can put it under cultivation.  The stakeholders also “requested the government to speed up the exercise of paying the former TSA workers their salary arrears to the tune of 2.1bn/=.

Over 3,000 former workers ‘owe’ the stated huge chunk of money since the authority closed shop many years ago”.  We have to say emphatically that the hapless workers do not “owe” the money. On the contrary, they are the ones who are “owed”. If you owe, then you are the one who is paying. If you are claiming money from someone or from some institution, you are “owed”. Hopefully someone is working on the 2.1bn/= that these former workers are owed. They have been waiting, for several years now!

lusuggakironde@gmail.om

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Author: Lusuga Kironde

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