Columnist Eric Ng’eno has good ideas but he’s pompous

Newspaper reader

A newspaper fan reads the Opinion section of the ‘Daily Nation’. 

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • As much as his articles are well, he should write using simple and ordinary language.
  • His commentaries seem to be exhibitionist to a point that they sometimes irritate the mind.

Lawyer Eric Ng’eno writes very good and critical articles in the Saturday Nation. However, as much as I admire the articles and look forward to reading them every Saturday, I usually don’t manage to read the entire article. 

The major hindrance being the pompous language he uses. In every paragraph or sentence, you will come across English words not ordinarily used, which forces one to consult a dictionary. Very laborious exercise indeed! 

The article becomes disinteresting and loses flow and flavour. Is it possible to convey to him that, as much as his articles are good and critical, he should write using simple and ordinary language?

— Stephen K. Wainaina


I’ve always wondered how Eric Ng’eno gets away with such abuse of the basic rules of communication. Editors always discourage heavy use of vocabulary and emphasise communication. 

Eric’s commentaries seem to be exhibitionist to a point that they sometimes irritate the mind when you are reading the article. I always doubt if any other contributor can be allowed to write like this. Even Philip Ochieng’s articles were always moderated. 

(Name Withheld)


“Judiciary must be open to scrutiny” (Saturday Nation, January 6, 2024) is a good example of Eric Ng’eno’s articles when I have to look up words and phrases, such as “somatic”, “appurtenances”, “stupendous capabilities” and “transcend our somatic appurtenances”.

— Githuku Mungai


Gabriel Oguda is the King of Sarcasm

Saturday Nation columnist Gabriel Oguda is the King of Sarcasm and Allegory. I nearly died of laughter while reading “Blame the raging floods on the gods, the State has nothing to do but pray for it” (Saturday Nation, April 27, 2024). 

Oguda’s articles and the way they are structured and delivered reminds me of African writers of a past era such as Francis Imbuga, Ngugi wa Thiong’o and Chinua Achebe, who, in their writings, capture the frustrations of Africans with the transition from colonialism to independence.

And resulting from the failings of independence across Africa, as partly captured in the works of those writers, there is a silent wish by many Africans for the return of the “White man” and colonialism, with assertions such as “at least hospitals and dispensaries functioned well during colonialism”. 
Oguda is doing a good job addressing these frustrations.

— Michael Mundia Kamau


Do you prescribe some minimum standards of intellect, knowledge, integrity, impartiality, etc. for your regular columnists? Some of what they publish is appallingly biased and factually incorrect. 

Gabriel Oguda’s “Those who prayed for rain should be compensated for suffering from floods” (Saturday Nation, May 11, 2024) is a good example. It’s a tedious attempt at satirising some of the government leaders’ religiousness. 
What’s its value?

— Michael Hatego, Busia