Seized Viroba: Consignment, cargo, stock,or what?

Lusuga Kironde

THE Daily Blog (Monday 24 April) carried a front page news item titled: “Fate of seized viroba this week”, in which the Minister of State in the vice President’s Office, Union Affairs and Environment, was reported as saying that the government planned to convene a meeting that week to decide on the fate of the outlawed sachet-packaged liquor ‘consignment’ confiscated during a recent countrywide operation.

The Minister is reported to have said: “the impounded ‘consignments’ in the city would remain under watch at their respective ‘industries’ and stores to ‘protect’ them from reaching consumers as the government was still pondering on the next move”.

It was then over one month: “since the ‘consignments’ have been kept under watch triggering questions among the public over the government plan on the seized ‘cargo’ of hard liquor” It would appear, from reading the above paragraphs, that as far as the writer is concerned, “consignment” and “cargo” mean one and the same thing and can be interchanged.

Is that the case? Let us consult. The word “consignment” comes from the word “consign” which means “to send something somewhere in order to sell it”. “Consignment, therefore, means “a quantity of goods that are sent somewhere, especially in order to be sold”.

How about “cargo”? “Cargo” means: “the goods that are being carried in a ship or in a plane”.

The word “freight” is also used to mean cargo. In our case, the viroba being written about were found in the manufacturers’ stores, godowns or warehouses, awaiting release to the market. The Government decided that these should be kept under lock and key, not “to protect them”, but to make sure they do not reach consumers.

So I would hesitate to call the seized viroba, a consignment or cargo. Instead, I would go for the word “stock” among whose many meanings is this one: “a supply of a particular type of thing that a shop has available to sell”. Instead of “shop” we would be referring to a producer, or a factory. Had the government intercepted cartons of viroba being transported say to some upcountry selling outlet, this would be a consignment. Producers of alcoholic drinks go by many names. A brewer makes beer. A beer factory is called a brewery.

A distiller is a person or company that makes strong alcoholic drinks such as whisky (and viroba, which are a gin). A distillery is a factory where strong alcoholic drinks are produced. A winemaker is a person engaged in winemaking.

The other name for a winemaker is a vintner. The place where wine is produced is a winery, and so on. Reading the article further, one realizes that the writer uses a number of words as if they are interchangeable.

The seized alcoholic drinks are referred to as sachet-packaged liquor, sachet-packaged alcohol and sachetpacked liquor. “Packaged” and “packed” do not mean the same thing. “Packaged” means “sold in a packet” as in “packaged food”.

On the other hand, “packed” means “extremely crowded” as in “the church was packed on Easter Day”. I would therefore go for “sachet-packaged liquor” not “sachetpacked liquor”. Where did the Government find the seized viroba?

We quote the writer: “Briefing journalists, the Minister said there were piles of viroba liquor seized in some ‘industries’ and stores, pending distribution.” The writer used the word “industries” to mean a place where things are produced.

This should not have been the case.

I would go for “factories” instead of “industries”. The sentence would then read as follows: “Briefing journalists, the Minister said piles of viroba liquor awaiting distribution were seized in some ‘factories’ and warehouses.”

If you are a manufacturer of goods, even if these are viroba, mounting stocks could mean that consumption is not as high as assumed. At the time of writing this article, no statement had come from the Government on the fate of the seized viroba. Have a nice weekend.

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