• Media practitioners are expected to write good English otherwise they should get out of the Newsroom.
  • It’s the duty of a writer to puzzle out the meaning of what he reports — not to leave it to naughty KOTs.

Good English or quit Newsroom

The word several means a number of people or things, more than one, but not many.

For example, several governors have been charged in court for abuse of office. The derivative adverb severally means separately. For example, in a partnership, the partners are jointly or severally liable for filing tax returns to the Commissioner of Income Tax.

In a news item in today's Daily Nation, you have written, "The governor has severally claimed that his misfortunes were being orchestrated by his political enemies led by Dr James Nyoro” (“Kiambu Governor Waititu barred from office,” Daily Nation, July 30, 2019). Media practitioners are expected to write good English otherwise they should get out of the Newsroom.

— Kimathi Mwirichia

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Innumerate journalists

I think the article in your today’s digital edition is a classic example of slovenliness and incompetence (“Nyaribari Chache MP returns to India 23 years later to repay Sh300 loan” by Leonard Onyango, Daily Nation, July 17, 2019). Richard Nyagaka Tongi, according to the article, schooled in India between 1985 and 1989.

He went back to India to repay a debt 23 years later. Now, my curious (or is it furious?) question is: Is the writer and his editor comfortable publishing the story without detailing the dates when the subject went back to India?

Since the article was published today (July 17), we can only assume it is fairly recently, say last week or last month. However, 2019 is 30 years away from 1989. Is it true what they say about journalists, that they are innumerate?

— Julius Nduati

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Geographic error

Abiud Ochieng’s article on the state of reform in the Judiciary was spot on (“The Judiciary is slowly reforming, but more needs to be done,” Daily Nation, July 16, 2019).

Unfortunately, this superb piece was marred by a blatant error. In his mention of Justice Derek Schofield and his move to Gibraltar as Chief Justice, he refers to Gibraltar as being in the Cayman Islands.

Actually, Gibraltar is a British Overseas Territory on the Spanish South Coast. The Caymans are also a British Overseas Territory but are in the Caribbean.

Your newspaper has a noble legacy of unparalleled excellence in Kenya and the region. I humbly urge your editors not to besmirch this.

— Robert Mukirae

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How many helicopters?

Nation writers reporting on Governor Anne Mumbi Waiguru wedding lawyer Kamotho Waiganjo went gaga over the nuptials (“Waiguru, Kamotho celebrate nuptials in traditional event” by Joseph Wangui and George Munene, July 13, 2019). Their use of the word “about” is quite interesting.

They write: “About three helicopters were parked at a nearby school.” Is it that they couldn't count or what? The word “about” means near to or slightly more than.

So, was it one helicopter or five? A few lines below that they write: “The road appeared to have just been rehabilitated.” I ask, is it impossible to tell a newly-worked road with certainty?

— Kimamo Kimathi

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Puzzling out Uhuru's statement

Nation Media Group’s NairobiNews and Nation Online report that during his three-day visit to Jamaica President Uhuru Kenyatta said, “My wife’s brother’s mother comes from Jamaica”. What did he mean? Sylvania Ambani, who wrote the story, left it to readers to figure it out (“Uhuru reveals First Family’s Jamaican ‘connection’, but KOT ain’t buying it – VIDEO”, NairobiNews, August 6, 2019).

Githuku Mungai says he has a problem with what the President meant. “Was there a bit of mix-up?”

Ms Ambani, instead of offering an explanation, quotes some Kenyans on Twitter: “Amepeleka ukenya huko ndugu ya baba ya mama bla bla”; “This must have been during the joint meeting”; “It’s a wrap guys. Puff puff pass”; “This is Jamaican influence”; “Has he tested the thing?” and so on.

Public Editor: It’s the duty of a writer to puzzle out the meaning of what he reports — not to leave it to naughty KOTs.

The opposition, The Standard, was more informative by trying to do this in its online version of the story (“My wife’s brother’s mother comes from Jamaica — Uhuru Kenyatta, by Vincent Kejitan, August 7, 2019).

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Names are emotional attachments

I agree with the Ukrainians that they should have a final say on how the name of their beloved city is spelt (“It matters a lot to Ukrainians their capital is spelt as ‘Kyiv’,” Daily Nation, July 25, 2019).

The mooted counter that “no one in Kenya can spell Kyiv” is tolerating insolence. Have we done a survey to determine whether it is true? A name is not only a reference to a person, place, or thing but it too holds an emotional attachment.

The second justification that the BBC, Washington Post et al use Kiev is purely circumstantial. The Nation doesn't have to kowtow to what they do.

— Kinyua Thuku

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