By LUSUGA KIRONDE, 19th November 2010 @ 16:00, Total Comments: 0, Hits: 3726
THE newly elected Parliament in Tanzania has finished the task of choosing the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker. It has endorsed the name of the Prime Minister. What is now eagerly being awaited is the appointment of Ministers, and other top government officials.
Studies have been carried out in order to guide those who make executive appointments. Results of such studies have been reported in the Eastern African (November 15-21, p. 42) in an article titled: “CEO succession: the art and science of hiring right for the corner office”. We are told: “The board should ‘decision’ to hire an insider, ‘an outsider’, or one of its own directors depending on circumstances”.
Whoever typed this, decided to use “decision” the noun, instead of ‘decide’ the verb. Of course by ‘outrider’, the writer meant ‘outsider’ so that the sentence should read: “The board should decide to hire an insider, an outsider or…….” The writer of the article notes that: “succession decisions have been guided by too little data and too much reliance on ‘rules of thumb’, anecdotes and even fads”. Now, ‘rule of thumb’ is an idiom meaning a rough figure or method of calculation/decision based on practical experience.
It never becomes ‘rules of thumb’, ‘rule of thumbs’ or ‘rules of thumbs’. It remains ‘rule of thumb’ irrespective of circumstances. Hopefully the President has some scientific criteria for appointing top executives in government and does not rely on “rules of thumb, anecdotes or even fads”.
If I was him, I would emphasize expertise. So my Minister or Permanent Secretary for Lands would be someone qualified academically and practically in that field. Those in Infrastructure, Water, and Energy would be engineers qualified in those areas. The ones in Health would be qualified medics, and so on. It is hoped that the new Minister for Community Development or Social Welfare will do something about the beggars who are on the increase in all urban areas.
A correspondent in the Sunday Blog (7 November, p. 4) thinks: “It is time beggars were prosecuted”. One reason why the correspondent wants the beggars persecuted (thank God it is not prosecuted) is because they remain “in the mean street for the rest of their lives”. If they were to be “‘arraigned in courts of law’ and thrown into some of our worst jails, word would go round that begging was ‘no long’ the money spinner it used to be.”
What does “mean street mean?” Beggars want to be where people are not mean, otherwise they will get nothing. By “Mean Street” the writer possibly had “Main Street” in mind. A Main Street (or High Street) would be the most important street in an urban area with many shops and businesses on it.
This is where beggars are likely to get most alms. They do not want to place themselves on “mean streets”. The question of “arraigning somebody to court” has been addressed on several occasions in this column. To arraign means to make someone come to court to hear what their crime is.
This means that you do not arraign someone to court since this would be tautological. “Arraign” is adequate on its own. If beggars are thrown in our worst jails (where for example they are over-crowded and are subjected to jail vices), word would go round that begging was “‘no longer’ (not ‘no long’) the money spinner it used to be”, although I am not sure whether there is a direct relationship between money-spinning and the conditions in our jails. In Uganda, a new executive officer for the Ugandan Securities Exchange (USE) has been appointed recently, according to the Eastern African (November 15-21, p. 44). His name is either Mbire or Mbiire, although I am tempted to believe that the correct spelling is Mbiire.
According to the writer: “Mbire’s entry sealed the leadership ‘vaccum’ that had troubled the bourse (i.e. USE) since last year…..” Mr Charles Mbire (or Mbiire) was “expected to bring discipline ‘at the bourse’ and cultivate confidence ‘in the bourse’ ‘activities’ after it had been hit by irregular ‘activities’ of rogue brokers”. While we can all agree that the gentleman will be filling in a vacuum (not a ‘vacuum’), whatever else he is supposed to bring to the USE can be expressed without recourse to word/phrase repetition in the same sentence.
How about re-writing the sentence into something like, “Mr Charles Mbire (or Mbiire) is expected to bring discipline to, and cultivate confidence in, the bourse, after it has been hit by irregular activities of rogue brokers”. The words “bourse” and “activities” are not repeated in the same sentence. Finally, we catch up with the writer of the Good Citizen (12 November, p. 19) who is on a short sojourn in Germany, in an article titled “The ‘Culure Shock’ that I stumbled on in Europe”. One of the “Culure Shocks”(I would however writen of “one of the Cultural Shocks”) which the writer experienced was seeing “the ‘deciduous’ trees in the splendor of autumn colors, red, pink, yellow and orange, it looks so wonderful as the evening turn into night”.
Fine, but they are not “deciduous trees” but rather “deciduous trees”. Unlike evergreen trees, deciduous trees lose their leaves in winter. The writer reminisces on his past life in rural Tanzania, like writing love letters to girls: “The letters would ‘sometime’ fall in the wrong hands and just then ‘hell would break lose’”. We have an idiom here, and idioms are not to be tampered with. When it said that “all hell broke loose” (yes, not ‘lose’), it means that people became suddenly noisy and angry. This may not depict the meaning which the writer wanted to convey, that his parents became angry on finding out his love letters. Hope you all had a pleasant Idd el Hajj.
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