BY UGANDA VANGUARD
KAMPALA – Government has embarked on the creation of the Uganda National Kiswahili Council (UNKC) and Secretariate to promote the language as the official dialect for the East African Community (EAC). According to State Minister for Gender and Culture, Ms Peace Mutuzo, the establishment of the council expected to be operational in a year’s, exhibits government’s commitment to the regional integration process.
Cabinet approved the formation of the council’s on 9th of September 2019.
“To be specific, Article 137(2) of the Treaty for the establishment of the East African Community (EAC) states that Kiswahili shall be developed as lingua franca of the community. The growth opportunities in the emerging EAC market present compelling reasons to re-emphasize Kiswahili as we steadily move towards the four integration pillars of Custom Union, Common Market, Monetary Union and Political Federation,” she said.
“The council is to advocate, popularize and promote the development and usage of Kiswahili at all levels throughout Uganda,” Ms Mutuzo told journalists at the Uganda Media Centre Thursday September 19, 2019.
She further explained, “It is to encourage the use of Kiswahili in the conduct of official and public life, provide advice and services to government, public authorities and individual Kiswahili writers and authors with the aim of furthering of the use and development of Kiswahili.”
Ms Mutuzo also said the council is to regularly carry out research, document and publish Kiswahili papers or magazines for the purpose of promoting the usage and development of the language and its literature.
She added, “The council is to work with relevant institutions to carry out periodic reviews and approve the Kiswahili curriculum and literature intended for use in schools and the public. It is also to develop and publish suitable journalistic, periodical, educational, creative and scholarly Kiswahili materials among others.”
“The ministry, leading the coordination and providing policy guidance to various stakeholders in the promotion of Kiswahili, will now go ahead and establish the council secretariat. The drafting of the bill will also commence. The secretariat will work to fast-track establishment of the council. We should take advantage of the ongoing budget process to make provisions for the Financial Year 2020/2021 to integrate Kiswahili in our activities.” Mutuzo added.
The EAC Partner States have a shared historical, cultural and linguistic heritage and are keen on bringing about regional integration in East Africa through regional educational, scientific, technological, social, economic, cultural and linguistic ties for mutual benefit and development.
Uganda has an obligation and commitment to establish a National Kiswahili Council since it is a signatory to the Protocol on the Establishment of the East African Kiswahili Commission. The protocol places commitment and obligation for each of the partner states, to establish a National Kiswahili Council as the main channel for participation and promotion of the activities of the Commission
Under the protocol on establishment of the Kiswahili Commission (EAC, 2008) it is also a requirement under article 10 for States Parties to establish the National Kiswahili Councils ((Balaza la taifa).