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PEN COP: We catch bad writing

The Nation’s report last week about the acquittal of a city pastor is the kind of writing that makes people hate reading. The intro was 44 words long, the next sentence 51. Chunky. Was there any reason for packing so much information into each sentence? All that could be written out a lot better. And the passive voice!

“Inconsistencies by key prosecution witnesses in a case in which televangelist James Ng’ang’a of Neno Evangelism Centre was charged with causing the death of a woman by dangerous driving in 2015 led to his acquittal and that of three others by a Limuru court.”


“Chief Magistrate Godfrey Oduor, who has since been transferred to Nakuru, said the prosecution witnesses, presented to the court by the police, failed to place Mr Ng’ang’a at the scene of the accident, a  nd therefore it could not be proved that he was driving the Range Rover when the crash happened.”

Readers should not be subjected to such torture.


On Wednesday, May 9, 2018, the Star reported about power tussles in the Kenya National Union of Teachers as follows:

“There was drama at Knut headquarters last Saturday after a group of union members forcibly swore in Hesbon Otieno as the secretary general. The group of National Executive Council members dramatically “swore in” Otieno. One member led the mock swearing-in while the rest cheered…”

What kind of reporting is this?


Why not break into two this huge sentence in The Standard?

“Raila said problems that needed to be tackled to ensure that the 2022 elections did not trigger conflict witnessed in past elections would require amendments to the Constitution and challenged his Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party to lead the campaign for the rebirth of the nation within the next one year.”

Weak and tedious intro:

“The poll commission has found itself in the eye of another storm after it emerged that some of its ICT staff illegally sold private voter data to politicians in the last election.” (The Star, May 20, p.1)

Cut to the chase!

“IEBC staff illegally sold private voter data to politicians in the last election, a new investigation shows.”

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