EALA hails Rwanda

East African Business Week - - FRONT PAGE - BY JOHN SAMBO

K KAM­PALA, UGANDAThe East African Leg­isla­tive Assem­bly has con­grat­u­lated Rwanda fol­low­ing its move to start a leg­isla­tive process to­wards mak­ing Kiswahili one of the of­fi­cial lan­guages in the coun­try. The Res­o­lu­tion passed and moved by Hon Shy­rose Bhanji, fol­lows a Cabi­net Meet­ing held on Oc­to­ber 12th, 2016 in Rwanda, that passed the draft law seek­ing to make Kiswahili one of the of­fi­cial lan­guages of the Assem­bly. The move now awaits the con­sid­er­a­tion, dis­cus­sion and ap­proval by the Par­lia­ment of

Rwanda be­fore be­com­ing law. The Assem­bly thus urges Par­lia­ment of Rwanda to ex­pe­di­tiously con­sider the Cabi­net’s Res­o­lu­tion Ar­ti­cle 119 of the EAC Treaty, pro­vides for the de­vel­op­ment and pro­mo­tion of in­dige­nous lan­guages es­pe­cially Kiswahili as a lin­gua franca of the re­gion. Kiswahili is not only a uni­fy­ing lan­guage spo­ken by East Africans but it is rich in di­alect and ex­pres­sion. “It is widely spo­ken in the EAC coun­tries as well as some coun­tries in the Cen­tral and South­ern part of Africa mak­ing it one of the most pop­u­lar lan­guage spo­ken in the Con- tinent af­ter Ara­bic”, the Res­o­lu­tion says in part. Jus­ti­fy­ing the Mo­tion, Hon Shy­rose Bhanji hailed the Pres­i­dent of Rwanda, H.E. Paul Kagame and the Cabi­net for the de­ci­sion to be­gin the process of mak­ing Kiswahili an of­fi­cial lan­guage. She urged the cit­i­zens of the coun­try to em­brace Kiswahili, which she termed the lan­guage of unity. At de­bate time, Hon Martin Ngoga said Kiswahili was a strong uni­fy­ing tool and that it would make the in­te­gra­tion story to be less elit­ist. “Def­i­nitely, Kiswahili will cre­ate a strong bond among East Africans”, Hon Ngoga said. “I con­grat­u­late the mover”, he added. Hon Nancy Abi­sai re­marked that sen­si­ti­za­tion about the Kiswahili lan­guage was key es­pe­cially in Uganda to en­hance aware­ness amongst the cit­i­zens given that Kiswahili is a com­mon lan­guage for the re­gion. Hon Abubakar Zein said the re­gion was waiting and look­ing for­ward to the time when the Assem­bly would em­brace Kiswahili in its de­bates. “All Heads of State in the Com­mu­nity have em­braced Kiswahili. It is a beau­ti­ful lan­guage”, he said. On his part, Hon Adam Kim­bisa said the cit­i­zens of East African Com­mu­nity were the cus­to­di­ans of Swahili and need to guide and guard the lan­guage. “Rwanda has thus shown the way in the process of east african­i­sa­tion of the lan­guage”, he added. Hon Joseph Kian­goi how­ever re­marked that it was im­por­tant for the Cabi­net Res­o­lu­tion to be brought to the House (EALA) to in­form the re­gional Assem­bly. Hon Abubakr Ogle said there were per­ti­nent is­sues to be con­sid­ered once Kiswahili be­comes an of­fi­cial lan­guage in­clud­ing trans­la­tion of vi­tal doc­u­ments. Oth­ers who con­trib­uted to the de­bate were Hon Mike Se­balu, Hon Pa­tri­cia Ha­jabakiga, Hon Dora Bya­mukama and the Min­is­ter for State for EAC Af­fairs, Hon Wan­dera Julius Ma­ganda. In Au­gust 2016, EALA passed a Res­o­lu­tion to urge the Sum­mit of EAC to amend the Treaty for the es­tab­lish­ment of the Com­mu­nity to pro­vide for Kiswahili as one of the of­fi­cial Lan­guages of the Com­mu­nity. At the same time, the Assem­bly urged the Coun­cil of Min­is­ters to al­lo­cate ad­e­quate re­sources to EAC Kiswahili Com­mis­sion to ef­fec­tively carry out its man­date.

Hon Shy­rose Bhanji, the mover of the Res­o­lu­tion jus­ti­fies the Mo­tion, Ar­ti­cle 119 of the EAC Treaty, pro­vides for the de­vel­op­ment and pro­mo­tion of in­dige­nous lan­guages es­pe­cially Kiswahili as a lin­gua franca of the re­gion.

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