On Page 3 of the Apr 6 edition of the tabloid associated with this columnist, there’s a story headlined, ‘Refugees urged to return home’, in which the scribbler says: “The Burundi refugees are at the Lumasi Refugees Camp for seven days now after a road accident [that] caused deaths of their six COLLEAGUES.”
A colleague is a person you work with, especially in a profession or a business. It means, the Burundian refugees lost their COMPATRIOTS. On the same page, there’s another story entitled, ‘TZ backslides to one-party state…’, and the scribbler, purporting to quote an MP who made the claim, writes: “During the last by-election, I witnessed an agent for the Opposition being beaten HOPELESSLY as POLICE watched…”
Well, the agent was beaten HOPELESS; and his tormentors weren’t “police”, they were POLICE OFFICERS. And then the Friday, Apr 6 edition of Bongo’s huge and colourful broadsheet ran on Page 1 a story entitled, “12 die in Igunga truck-bus collision”, in which the scribbler writes: “…the Fuso truck … was HEADING FROM Singida towards Igunga.” No sir; things/persons head TO. He further reports: “RPC Mutafungwa said the injured were taken to hospital FOR TREATMENT… “Are the injured ever taken to hospital for any reason other than treatment? Certainly, no; so why say it? Isn’t it like saying, “At lunch time, we all went to the canteen to eat.” Useless, wasteful elaborations!
And now, a look at Page 2 of Bongo’s senior-most Saturday broadsheet of Apr 7, where there’s this headline: “Dar to resume EXPORT OF EXPATRIATES, says Minister”.
The headline writer must have been influenced by the scribbler intro: “Tanzania intends to EXPORT huge number of EXPATRIATES to work in the Middle East...”
Expatriate, says our dictionary, is a person living in a country that’s not their own. In Bongo, i.e. we’ve many foreigners living here, either as workers or such workers’ dependants: these are expatriates. We believe the minister to whom the Bunge story is attributed to, said Bongo will resume exporting MANPOWER or maybe EXPERTS, (not expatriates!).
Finally, on Page 7 of the same broadsheet, there’re a piece entitled, ‘RIP Iron lady Nomzamo’, in which the scribbler says in his intro: “…Africa and the world is (sic) MOANING the loss of one of greatest anti-apartheid stalwarts…” He uses the word “moans” again towards the end of his good article: “As we MOAN the death of this gallant daughter of Africa…” Our colleague, we’re certain, had in mind the word “MOURN”, for that’s what we do when we lose to death a person we cherish, while MOAN means making deep sound usually expressing unhappiness or sexual pleasure.
Ah, this treacherous language called English!