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PEN COP: ‘One feet, half a feet’, my foot!

The charred soil that weighed a kilogram was placed into a small casket that measured one feet in length and half a feet in width as the symbolic burial took place. (Standard, March 25, p.4) Amazing! One feet? Half a feet? Foot, my boy, foot!

 It is a new dawn in the sphere of security as a new team takes charge at the National Police Service Commission, a new Inspector General of Police and a no-nonsense Cabinet Secretary in charge (People Daily editorial, March 27, p.10) The word new is overused (three times) in this sentence. Rewrite.

Since its introduction in 1896, coffee farming in Kenya has been the preserve of men, though youth and women are the main workers in the farms. (MyGov. March 26, p.13) Who said?

Next: The dominance of men has triggered resentment among the youth against coffee farming. In Mt Kenya region, for example, where about 80 per cent of total coffee production in the country comes from, older men are the main players thus creating a succession crisis. Who said? Succession crisis in coffee farming? What does this mean? That there must always be coffee farming? That people can’t pursue other economic activities, ama?

The average age of a Kenyan coffee farmer currently stands at 60 years, a situation stakeholders are worried about as older men seem not to be in hurry to release coffee to the youth…

And so on. What/who is the source of all this information? This is not a news story. It is opinion.

Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu has defended budgetary allocations to his ‘kaa sober’ campaign. (People Daily, March 27, p13). “Budgetary allocation” is a common jargon in news reports – possibly coming from Bunge-speak, where “budgetary allocations” are done. Keep it simple. Say money. Like: Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu has defended the money allocated to his ‘kaa sober’ campaign.

Headline: Firms launch 288 affordable houses (People Daily, March 27, p. 15). The houses are in Athi River town. What type of houses are they? Report does not say. How much does each cost (to justify “affordable”) in the headline? Story does not say. So, what is the value of this story to the reader? Lazy, possibly press release journalism.

Around six different families whose kin went missing in Isiolo on Wednesday trooped into the Makindu Hospital Mortuary in a bid to identify six bodies that were dumped at the Tsavo West National Park. (Citizen Digital, March 27). What’s “around six different families”? Were they six, five-and-half, or seven? Why not an exact figure? Why couldn’t the reporter ascertain such a small number of people? And aren’t families always “different” anyway, or some are the same?

Recently there has been an increase in the number of road accidents involving boda bodas, with the most recent killing one and leaving seven injured in Rongo, Migori County. (Citizen Digital, March 27) Not true. This was a national story about boda bodas as killers on Kenyan roads. How sure was the reporter – and the sub-editor – that the Migori accident was “the most recent”?

Headline: Siaya schools close early over delayed funds. Intro: Secondary schools in Siaya County may be forced to close earlier than planned following a biting shortage of operation funds to run the institutions. (KNA, March 26) What now? Have the schools closed early, as the headline states, or they “may be forced to close earlier” as the intro says?

NTVKenya tweet: President Yoweri Musevi – When the standard Gauge Railway is finished, it will take 24 hours from here to Kampala. Yoweri who, again?

There is widespread ignorance of the disease, despite it being as common as breast cancer. It affects one in 10 women globally, hurting their lives, careers and sex lives. (Star, March 28, p.12) Are “their lives, careers and sex lives” different things? No. It is their lives.

Senators on Wednesday put the Insurance Regulatory Authority on the spot for failing to reign in rogue insurance firms that do not honour customers’ claims. (Star, March 28, p.14) The phrase is “rein in” not “reign” in. Reign (verb) means hold royal office as king or queen; noun refers to period a sovereign rules (Nabongo Mumia’s reign lasted 15 years, etcetera.)

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