When people serve ‘underserved’ punishments, justice is up for ‘sales’!

When people serve ‘underserved’ punishments, justice is up for ‘sales’!

The writer is angry that many times there is no justice in society.  A number of cases are given. For example, the writer points out that when Pope John Paul ‘XXIII’ visited Tanzania some years back,  several people were arrested by the police on flimsy grounds, as a measure to ensure security for the visiting Pontiff. These people: “served ‘underserved’ punishment”.  By way of a starter, there has never been a Pope John Paul XXIII. The Pope who visited Tanzania in the early 1990s was John Paul II, who took over from John Paul I who was Pope for only 36 days in 1978.

The writer may have confused this one with Pope John XXIII who was Pontiff in the late 1950s and died in the early 1960s.  Now, to the main course. What does the writer mean by “underserved” punishments? From the human settlements point of view, we do have in our urban areas, “unplanned and underserved neighbourhoods”. Indeed, for Dar es Salaam, there is a City-wide plan to address these areas, prepared some two years ago but remains unimplemented. Still, “underserved punishments” does not make sense. After going through the entire article and doing some very hard thinking, it dawned on me that the writer was highlighting situations where innocent or otherwise helpless people are made to suffer consequences that in no way are a result of their own action or non-action.

They do not deserve to get what is meted out to them, or, what society makes of them. Thus, instead of “underserved punishments” the writer had in mind: “undeserved punishment.”  The writer laments that if you are accused of wrong doing, you can only get yourself off the hook by hiring an advocate. So? “Justice is up for ‘sales’ Shame!”, as “the ignorant pay for the services of the learned (lawyers I suppose) to get justice”. Justice may be up for “sale” not “sales”.

The ensuing sentence was difficult to understand:  “When that business ‘in’ going on there those people would have been declared innocent if they had the lawyer’s services are convicted”. My hunch is that the writer wanted to convey the following message: “When that business is going on, there are people who get convicted, but would have been declared innocent, had they had the services of a lawyer”.  Indeed the situation is serious as we are further told: “These days the world is witnessing a lot of cases of people being killed without the due process ‘of law to take its course’”.

When you talk of “due process” you mean “the correct process that should be followed in law, designed to protect someone’s legal rights”. Thus our sentence above could be shortened into: “These days the world is witnessing a lot of cases of people being killed without due process”, and leave out the rest. On the other hand, when someone is apprehended on a suspicion of wrong doing, he/she is handed over to the courts for the “law to take its course”.  

The writer laments that there are a number of countries where people are killed for their religious beliefs and calls on such killers to borrow a leaf from Tanzania: “From that they will note the rationale of Tanzania policy of ‘circularism’. But the dead are already victims of ‘underserved’ punishments”. Will these people realise that by “circularism”, the writer had in mind “secularism”, a system of social organisation that does not allow religion to influence the government? Perhaps.

 Finally the writer argues that our education system looks down on Vocational Education making those who carry vocational education certificates suffer undeserved punishments, because: “Products from VETA (Vocational Education Training Authority) are the real nation builders. Houses are ‘bait’, cars are repaired and piped produce water – to mention just a few”. By “houses are bait” the writer surely meant “houses are built”, and by none other than VETA graduates who are looked down upon.  

Lastly from me. I have just got a message from a friend telling me that he has an account with Standard ‘Chattered’ Bank. He is not the only one to get the Bank’s name wrong. A caption under a photograph in the my-African referred to above, and showing a number of uniformed people enjoying themselves, reads as follows: “Some of the Standard ‘Charter’ bank ‘staffs’ after completing the last lap of (?) during the Kilimanjaro Marathon race held in Moshi region at the end of the week”. The Bank is not “Chattered” or “Charter”. It is “Standard Chartered”. The people are not “bank staffs” but “bank staff”.  Language niceties aside, we do need a just world where people are not punished for no wrong doing. Till next week, take care. 


Author: Lusuga Kironde

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