Conscientiously: The Swearing-in Tongue Twister

It is clear that only one school trains people to write oaths in Kenya.  All these oaths by public officers from parliament to CSs, CECs, and MCAs, among others, appear similar. Further, every oath must include a tongue twister and mind bender in the name of CONSCIENTIOUSLY. The word has proven difficult to phonate for many public servants even as its meaning gets lost in the mispronunciation.

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua during swearing in at Kasarani Stadium, Nairobi



The word conscientiously can be traced back to Greek, Latin, and French languages. It has its root in Conscience which means “governed by morality” or the rule of what is right and wrong. Conscientiously, therefore, means performing your duties in a thorough and responsible way. It is extrapolated to mean being motivated by your moral sense of what is right and wrong in all your actions.


Evidently, many public appointees will struggle with the word conscientiously, that does not seem to be in a hurry to leave the Kenyan oath-ing scene. What alternatives can the writers use? Diligently, meticulously, faithfully, honestly, and honorably are easy possible replacements.

If you still want to sound smart when writing or taking the oath, you can include such words as punctiliously, fastidiously, and scrupulously. The alternative is to practice the oath before the swearing in to master the enunciation. We could also open a new school to write oaths for public servants in Kenya with a clear mission to conscientiously remove the words that weigh on the tongues of readers and the ears of listeners.

Have an easy day.