Quotation and Misquotation in Tanzanian Parliamentary Debates

Brighton Msagalla


This article examines MPs’ strategic use of (mis)quotation in annual ministerial budget debates in Kiswahili in the Tanzanian parliament with a view to finding out the extent to which such strategic (mis)quotation can be manipulative and thus fallacious. The study is grounded in pragma-dialectics where quotation is considered to constitute not only a presentational device but also a species of authority argumentation known as authority argumentation by quotation. The data analysed in this article are the Hansard transcripts of the Tanzanian parliamentary debates in Kiswahili based on two annual ministerial budget speeches by the then Minister for Constitution and Legal Affairs given in the 2013/2014 fiscal year and by the Minister for Community Development, Gender and Children given in the 2015/2016 fiscal year. The findings indicate that strategic (mis)quotation can be employed by MPs to manipulate their political opponents and the electorate. Since the instances of strategic (mis)quotation analysed in this article violate the argumentation scheme rule and constitute derailments of strategic manoeuvring from the perspective of pragma- dialectics, they are thus manipulative and fallacious. The findings further suggest that MPs employ such strategic (mis)quotation to achieve various political motives in favour of their political group.

Keywords: Authority argumentation, pragma-dialectics, strategic (mis)quotation, Tanzanian parliamentary debates

DOI: 10.56279/jlle.v16i2.3

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 [ISSN 0856-9965 (Print)]