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Poor reporting, subbing ruin important New Vision story

Vendors at a market in Hoima municipality have walked away, citing poor sanitation.

Yes, some 80 of them voted with their feet, literally, leaving in their wake a desolate Kyesiga market. And they promised not to return until the Hoima municipality honchos correct things to justify collection of daily charges.

The traders fingered a litany of woes: Uncollected garbage, nostril-piercing stench, maggots, and all those unsightly parasites that reside in dirty places. Result? Old customers have shunned the market. New ones aren’t coming any time soon.

Built in 2018 to provide a clean and safe operational base for the more than 100 hawkers who had visited chaos on the streets of Hoima City, the market has – thanks to the torrential rains –become the unofficial path for the sludge from a nearby slaughterhouse. The hard-headed butchers have refused to move to a new abattoir in Parajwoki, according to New Vision reporter, Peter Abaanabasazi. He quoted a trader on that allegation.

Titled Hoima City vendors abandon market over poor sanitation’, the 24-para story is rich in quotes but is ruined by the lack of basic story-telling elements. Reading it to the end makes one wonder if there is any sub-editor still left at the newspaper.

The intro is an overkill of the ‘where’ of things … and a commendable dot of ‘why’: “Vendors at Kyesiga Market in Kyesiga village, Hoima West Division in Hoima City, have abandoned the facility over poor sanitation.”

There follows a convoluted packaging of bad grammar and wrong punctuation that betray the writer’s vernacular intrusion into thinking, then writing in English language. Here, is para two: “The market facility (sic) is filled with flies and a (sic) stench from a heap of uncollected garbage, blood and dung, hangs in the air, (sic) a situation which vendors say has chased away customers.”

There is another one. “Harriet Alituha who operates a bar in one of the lockups at the facility, [this coma isn’t necessary here!] said the garbage truck has spent over one year without collecting garbage in the market.”  A truck ‘spent’ a year!

Then there’s the small matter of fear of a disease outbreak. Listen: “They demanded Hoima City and Hoima West Division authorities intervene and clean the market or close the market (sic) to save the lives of the people staying near the market (neighbours?) (no comma) adding that there is a (sic) fear of cholera, among other diseases.” Here, cholera is personified, and is made to fear a disease outbreak.

Reporter Abaanabasazi uses the word ‘they’ unnecessarily repeatedly that a reader risks failing to decipher which ‘they’ is referring to another ‘they’.

“[Sylvia] Birungi [a vendor] said that they have complained to the leaders for interventions but they failed to respond yet they pay a tax of Sh2000 per week to the division and Sh10,000 as rent.”

The writer quotes the Hoima City Mayor Brian Kaboyo, saying he “admitted” (really? Not just confirming?) that his office was aware of the “challenge”. What did the Mayor add? “[T]hat slaughtering of the animals in the market has been the problem.” Really? The abattoir has moved from “near” to “in” the market? This factual inconsistency is a journalistic no-no.

An affected vendor had earlier in the story accused the butchers of refusing to move out to a new site. However, in a later paragraph, the reporter forgets the allegation. Interviewing Mayor Kaboyo, it turns out the new slaughterhouse isn’t operational, yet. And it’s located elsewhere.

“We have built a city abattoir in Burera village in Hoima East Division and all goats and cows in the entire city will be slaughtered from in (sic) this abattoir and leave the market for food vendors and other merchandise (sic) and we are going to open this abattoir in February,” he said. Oh, the new abattoir is in Burera, not Parajwoki?

The story has used dull pictures without details, accompanied by obvious captions that add no value in explaining to readers what they are seeing.

Lessons learnt? The story had all the marks of a rookie whose training in journalism – if at all – is wanting. It’s grammatically poor, factually repetitive, and disjointed; a true recipe for mental indigestion. Through it, the reader struggles to understand exactly what the reporter is talking about. This is the kind of reporting and subbing that is likely to cost New Vision its valued readers and dump its brand into a deep hole of shame.

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