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House committees have teeth, wrong to depict them as crying ‘woiye’

National Assembly committees on Agriculture and Finance are puzzled how state-owned sugar factories in Nyanza accumulated Sh128 billion debts (People Daily, September 6, p.14). Parliamentary committees are watchdogs for the public interest. They have teeth to bite. MPs are paid hefty allowances to sit on those committees, conduct investigations and compile reports. They are “puzzled” or “shocked” can never be the news, as if the committees are helpless. Tell your audience what a committee has dug up and what it is going to do. That is the news.

The three-day Africa Climate Summit ended yesterday in Nairobi with a strong call for sweeping changes to global financing, as leaders presented a wish list to major polluters, saying they must honour their past pledges and be ready to make new ones to curb the accelerating effects of climate change (Nation, September 7, p.2). Those are 50 words. Aim for half that. If you want people to understand what you are saying – which is the entire point of communication – don’t pack too much info into an intro, or any sentence.

Next: In an equally strong voice, led by President William Ruto, the leaders called for an overhaul of the world’s debt financing system, including 10-year debt relief periods, and options to renegotiate deals, which they said should tilt the scales in favour of a naturally endowed continent that pays up to five times more for loans on the global market. Another chunk of 59 words sprinkled with commas, loaded with heavy concepts, figures of speech, and stats. Poor writing. Vary sentence length for clarity and emphasis. Shorter sentences communicate better. Allow the reader to think as he or she reads for the info to sink in.

Nullification of Narok MCAs nomination upheld (Nation headline, September 7, p.7). Intro: The High Court yesterday upheld a magistrate court’s judgment that nullified Jubilee Party’s nomination of Alice Kering to the Narok County Assembly. That is nullification of the nomination of one Narok MCA, not “Narok MCAs” as stated in the headline. See the power of the missing apostrophe (‘)?

Nigerian arrested at JKIA ‘big player in drugs trade’ (Nation headline, September 7, p.10). Intro: A Nigerian who was arrested last week at Umoja Innercore with two kilos of cocaine worth Sh12 million is a major supplier of narcotics in Nairobi, police said yesterday. Sasa JKIA in headline and Umoja Innercore in intro ni same place? Can Sakaja please donate a map of the city to Kimathi Street?

Climate-related disasters displaced an additional 160,000 children in the country last year, according to new data (Nation, September 6, p.5). Next: The data, released yesterday by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, shows that some 187,000 children were displaced in the country last year alone due to climate shocks, up from 27,000 in 2021. Once you write “in the country” in the intro, why repeat it in the next para?

Para 3: The data was released on the sidelines of Africa’s largest climate summit in Nairobi, where world leaders gathered to discuss solutions to the climate crisis and the future of the continent.

Para 5: The data was released yesterday as world leaders gathered in Nairobi for Africa’s largest climate summit to discuss the future of the continent and find solutions to the climate crisis. Punda, sorry, sub amechoka.

Today, he is more of a connoisseur of African cuisines and cultural ambassador, thanks to his passion for serving African dishes through his restaurant, Swahili Village (People Daily, September 8, p.3). Nah. The construction “more of” requires “than”.

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