Tanzania: Wash Your Hands Using 'Equipment' 'Stationed' At Bus Stations Before 'Entering Into' Vehicles

WHETHER you switch on your radio or TV, or whether you read the newspaper, the main topic is the same: Covid-19 virus.

The headlines for news items in the Custodian (25 March) tell it all: "Seek modest hotels during coronavirus quarantine"; "Covid-19: Tourism sector now appeals for bailouts"; "Spain sinking, exceeds 500 deaths in one day"; "Kenya's Covid-19 patients rise to 25"; "Traditional leaders perform rituals to keep Covid-19 at bay"; "Multi-stakeholders' partnership is badly needed in fighting Covid-19 - experts"; and so on.

While we are being advised to self-isolate and work from home, you need to be careful if you are a civil servant: "Government warns public servants who will not attend work on pretext of coronavirus", since doing so will be contravening public service laws and regulations.

Steps have been taken in many places to make sure people wash their hands. The Zanzibari Minister for Health is reported to emphasize that in a new item titled: "Main defensive weapon against Covid-19 is regular washing of hands, minister says".

The writer goes on to relate what the Honourable Minister said: "Zanzibar's Health Minister HRM has said that the main defensive weapon against Covid-19 'disease' is for people to remain in their homes and 'stop roaming about in people's gatherings'".

The latter part of this sentence is a clear translation from Swahili: "waache kuzurura katika mikusanyiko ya watu". From Songea, we are told that the District Commissioner there: "wants operators and drivers of public buses to ensure that their vehicles are always clean and passengers are 'sanitized'".

I stand to be corrected, but I don't think you sanitize human beings, for, to sanitize means: "to make something clean and healthy". You sanitize something not somebody. You will argue that given the current situation, many people are buying hand sanitizers.

My reaction is that you can sanitize your hands, which in this case are "something" and not "somebody". The DC made further orders: "Essential cleanliness 'equipment' such as hand wash soaps and sanitizers should be 'stationed' in bus stations and inside the vehicles for passengers to wash their hands before 'entering into' the buses."

Surely, hand wash soaps are not equipment. The small sanitizers in bottles or plastic containers may not qualify to be equipment. Moreover, you do not "station" equipment, somewhere, anywhere. For, to station means to: "to send someone to a particular country or place in order to do a job, especially for armed forces".

Therefore you station someone such as a soldier, or police officer at places likely to have large gatherings of human beings to ensure that there is law and order, and people adhere to guidelines given to combat the spread of Covid-19. Assuming you now have your "sanitized passengers".

Would you allow them to enter into the buses? Yes, but... ... .You do not need the preposition "into" if you use the word "enter". You enter a building, a church, or a bus; not enter into a building, church or bus. If you are bent on using "into" then you can use another verb, like get, walk and so on. Let the "sanitized passengers" get into the bus.

The whole sentence therefore needs re-writing into something like the following: The DC made further orders: "Essential cleanliness facilities (not equipment) such as hand wash soaps and sanitizers should be placed (not 'stationed') in bus stations and inside the vehicles for passengers to wash their hands before 'entering', or, when inside, the buses."

Finally, the DC "directed bodaboda drivers to stop carrying more than one 'passengers', warning that stern measures will be taken 'to' anyone found violating road safety rules and regulations". The directive needs to be a bit more specific.

What bodaboda drivers are being prohibited from doing is carrying more than one passenger at the same time, in what is popularly known as "mshikaki". Should there be three passengers, for example, the bodaboda driver can take them to their respective destinations, one at a time.

So we can re-write the order to read as follows: "the DC directed bodaboda drivers to stop carrying more than one passenger at the same time, warning that stern measures will be taken 'against' (not 'to') anyone found violating road safety rules and regulations". Hopefully, next week, there will be signs of Covid-19 virus infections slowing down.

Hopefully! lusuggakironde@gmail.com

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