On excited colleague whispered to me that 66 out of the required 70 signatures had already been bagged. Yes, the PM, the son of a peasant, was facing imminent downfall, for what the sponsors of the censure motion, argued to be his failure to hold several ministers accountable for huge embezzlement of public funds.
However, things did not work out as expected and front page pieces in various papers had to break this news to the anxious public. “Pinda survives, for now” (Good Citizen 21st April); “Move against Pinda torpedoed” (Daily Bog 21st April); “Pinda leaves Public Thirsty” (Good Citizen, April 24th).
The move failed on two grounds, one of them being not conforming to the required procedures: Hon Anna Makinda the Speaker said: “National Assembly Standing Orders stipulated that a petition signed by ‘at least’ 20 per cent of MPs must be submitted to the Speaker ‘at least’ 14 days prior to the day such a motion is to be moved in Parliament”.
One MP who opposed the move is reported to have said that there was “no ground of censuring the Prime Minister Transit goods to be electronically ‘trucked’ to curb illegal ‘diversification’ of trucks because basically he has not done anything wrong” (Good Citizen, April 21st).
Two observations can be made on the above quotations. One, we are always urged to avoid repetitions in a sentence or in paragraphs which are posited near each other. There are at least two “at leasts’s” in the sentence quoting the Speaker. I would have moved to have just one “at least” by converting the other into “a minimum of”, thus rewriting the sentence as follows:
“National Assembly Standing Orders stipulated that a petition signed by a minimum of 20 percent of MPs must be submitted to the Speaker at least 14 days prior to the day such a motion is to be moved in Parliament”. The other observation is that the word “ground” when used to mean reason” is usually used in the plural.
Thus, “there were no grounds for censuring the Prime Minister”, instead of “there was no ground of censuring the Prime Minister”. So the Prime Minister survived and life goes on! Many times too, we are advised to use the minimum of words to express ourselves in writing. Yet observing many of our writings, one finds numerous examples of the use of a word or phrase too many.
An example is to be found in this article titled: “Flood victims homeless 4 months on” (Good Citizen April 22nd, p. 3). These people have been living in open air as public authorities make promises that are never fulfilled. Referring to flood victims who have been camping on the grounds of the Tabata Police Station and had been promised assistance, a reporter says:
“But, the residents are in suspense, ‘however’, because the form of that assistance has not been disclosed”. There was no need to use “But” and “however” in this one sentence. One or the other. “The residents are in suspense, however, because the form of that assistance has not been disclosed”, or, “But the residents are in suspense, because the form of that assistance has not been disclosed”. Another example is to be found in this article in the Eastern Africa Business Week (April 23-29, p. 8) titled:
“New tech to curb non tariff barriers”. This new technology is called the Electronic Cargo Tracking System (ECTS). We are told: “Among the with Kironde benefits of ECTS ‘include’ easy clearance of goods at the check points whereby drivers will be required to just confirm ‘his’ consignment which would be ‘trucked’ electronically at the ‘newly’ ICT system which will be located ‘at’ the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA)’s data base”.
“‘Among’ the benefits ‘include’”? No. You either drop “among” and say “Benefits include...”, or, drop “include” and say “Among the benefits are the following.....”. How about electronically “trucking” the consignment? The writer had a focus on cargo trucks but in this particular sentence he was emphasizing the electronically “tracking” (not trucking) of the cargo that may be in trucks.
Will drivers be required to just confirm “his” consignment? There is a need to match the possessive adjective with the noun it is qualifying or vice versa. My approach would be to say: “....whereby the driver will be required to just confirm his consignment which would be tracked electronically...”.
The use of this technology may mean that: “massive fuel adulteration, Non- Tariff barriers and illegal ‘diversification’ of trucks carrying transit goods to landlocked countries will soon be history.......”. “Diversification” of trucks? Chances are, the writer had “diversion of trucks” in mind. Have a nice weekend.