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Cabinet okays creation of Swahili Council

Ofwono Opondo, the government spokesperson addressing journalists about the Cabinet decision on Uganda National Kiswahili Council at Uganda Media Centre (PHOTO/File)

KAMPALA – Government has endorsed the establishment of the Uganda National Kiswahili Council whose main objective is to guide the introduction of Swahili as the second national (official) language.

The council will provide harmonization, coordination and collaboration among different government agencies and stakeholders in the promotion, use and development of Kiswahili.

Addressing journalists about the Cabinet decision at State House Entebbe on Tuesday, Mr Ofwono Opondo, the executive director of Uganda Media Centre, said that the establishment of the council is provided for in the Constitution and it’s mandated to ensure that Swahili is rooted as the second national language.

“The Constitution provides that we shall have two national languages [that is ] English and Swahili but we have not been using Swahili. This council will be recruiting Swahili teachers who will be deployed to teach Swahili in schools,” he said.

He said that the council will also oversee the establishment of policy, legal and institutional framework for setting standards for effective promotion, development and usage of Kiswahili at all levels.

In 2005 Swahili, which is foreign and viewed as being neutral, was proposed as the country’s second official language.

But this is yet to be ratified by Parliament, making Luganda and Swahili languages being used for inter-ethnic communication.

Last week, State Minister for Gender Peace Mutuuzo, revealed that Parliament will discuss to ensure that there is harmony within East African countries in adopting Kiswahili as a medium of communication in the region.

“We are in the final stages of establishing a Kiswahili council. On Monday next week [September 9], we shall present the paperwork for approval as part of our obligation to the East African Community,” she said.

Cabinet also noted that the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Government of Kenya (Turkana/West Pokot) and the Government of Uganda (Karamoja) in support of cross-border programme for sustainable peace and development is scheduled to be signed on 12th September 2019 in Moroto, and that the programme will officially be launched by their Excellencies the Presidents of Uganda and Kenya.

“The main objective of the MoU is to accord communities on the Uganda and Kenya sides of the border, opportunities for better co-operation, close coordination and peaceful co-existence as well as bridging isolation gaps to improve their livelihoods and social-economic conditions for sustainable peace and development,” Mr Opondo said.

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