Of power outages, rationing, load shedding, interruption and a memorandum of ‘understating’

WHEN society faces a problem, it many times develops vocabulary to address it. The President has talked of the country facing a power crisis. The power company people have been at pains to explain that what is going on is not power rationing, in Kiswahili, “mgawo”. It is a power supply rotation programme, “ratiba”.

The Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC) Board Chairman is reported to have assured investors that the ongoing ‘power outage’ in the country is being addressed accordingly (Custodian, 23 September, page 7).

So, is what is going on a ‘power outage’ or ‘power outages’?

According to experts: “Power outages are unexpected and uncontrollable shutdowns of power, often occurring during poor weather, natural disasters and equipment failures.” Note the words: “unexpected and uncontrollable” shutdown of power.

Since we are having a planned power connection and disconnection programme to/from various areas, we are not suffering ‘power outages.’ A power outage is also called: a power cut, a power out, a power failure, a power blackout, a power loss, or a blackout.

TANESCO have ruled out “power rationing.” Could we go for “Load Shedding?” “Load Shedding” means: “A planned and scheduled reduction of electricity supply implemented to balance demand and available supply.

It prevents overloading of the power grid. It affects specific areas or sections of the grid; and can last from seconds to hours.” You will agree that what the country is experiencing at the moment is “load shedding,” unless the power people have another vocabulary. Power outage and power interruption seem to be used interchangeably.

The TIC Board Chairman is reported to have said many other things (The phrase ‘he said,’ is used seven times in the story). He was talking to some industrialists, one of whom assured him that due to the good investment environment in the country, they are building another factory in Kigamboni, Temeke District which will be bigger because the area ‘they are currently operating’ is small.” Surely, the industrialist is not “operating a small area.” He is currently “operating ‘in’ a small area.” Yes. Men do also experience Gender-based Violence (GBV), but they are suffering in silence, according to a front page news item titled: “Male GBV remains a silent crisis” (The Good Citizen, 23 September).

Nobody believes men when they are beaten up or otherwise exposed to GBV and talk about it. The case of Samson, who is regularly assaulted by his wife, is cited. In one such incident, he shouted and neighbours came. Despite his having suffered a wound on his forehead, the neighbours believed his wife’s story that she acted in self-defence.

Lamented Samson: “Not only the neighbours who sided with her, but also the local government leaders, who also believe a woman cannot beat a man.” This sentence needs re-ordering: “Not only did the neighbours side with her, but so did the local government leaders, who as well, believe that a woman cannot beat a man.”

A psychologist, one Mr Anthony, is cited as offering a solution to counter this male GBV: “As ‘efforts’ are being made to end violence against women, the same degree of ‘effort’ should be directed to save men from the situation that is growing day after day.” How about re-arranging this sentence to avoid using the word “effort(s)” twice?

“The same degree of efforts being made to end violence against women, should also be directed to save men from a situation that is growing day after day.” On page 5 of the same paper, is a picture showing three full-bodied women handing a certificate to a seemingly frightened man.

The caption? “XXX Bank Tanzania head of legal affairs and company secretary exchanging Memorandum of ‘Understating’ (MoU) with the representative of the director general of YYY Organisation….”. Lawyers please help.

What is a ‘Memorandum of Understating’? Can it stand as a legal document? lusuggakironde@gmail.com

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