EALA hails Rwanda
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.