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EALA hails Rwanda’s move to make Kiswahili one of its official languages

The East Africa Legislative Assembly has hailed Rwanda for starting the process towards making Kiswahili one of the official languages in the country.


EALA MP Shyrose Bhanji told the assembly currently sitting in Kampala, Uganda 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.

EALA urged Rwanda to expeditiously consider the Cabinet’s Resolution. Other languages spoken in Rwanda are Kinyarwanda, French and English.

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 Continent after Arabic”, the Resolution says in part.

Bhanji hailed Rwanda Presidnet 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, 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”, Ngoga said.

“I congratulate the mover”, he added.

Nancy Abisai remarked that sensitisation 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.

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, 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.

Joseph Kiangoi however remarked that it was important for the Cabinet Resolution to be brought to the House (EALA) to inform the regional Assembly.

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 Mike Sebalu, Patricia Hajabakiga, Dora Byamukama and the Minister for State for EAC Affairs, 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.

Jimirasire

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