Kiswahili takes centre stage at the 17th extra-ordinary Summit in - a first for the Community
…recently, EALA passed motion for the lingua franca to be introduced as one of the bloc’s official language
East African Legislative Assembly, Arusha, Tanzania: 15 Sept, 2016: President of the United Republic of Tanzania and the Chairman of the Summit of EAC Heads of State, H.E. Dr John Pombe Magufuli, last week addressed the 17th extra-ordinary Summit in Kiswahili, in a first for the bloc.
The use of Kiswahili during the Summit held in Dar es Salaam, resonated well with a recent resolution moved by the EALA at the 1st Meeting of the 5th Session of the 3rd Assembly, held in Arusha, Tanzania.
On August 25th, 2016, the Assembly resolved that Kiswahili should be introduced as one of the official languages of the East African Community. The Resolution thus urged 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
The Resolution whose mover was Hon Abubakar Zein reiterated that embracing the Kiswahili language is also bound to increase the participation of the people of East Africa in the Affairs of the Community as well as promote African culture. Kiswahili according to Hon Zein is flexible and has its root in the bantu language which constitute more than 50 per cent of African population. An overwhelming number of legislators rose in support of the Resolution.
In Dar es Salaam, President Dr John Pombe Joseph Magufuli put aside the English version of his speech and opted for the Kiswahili version of the same while addressing high ranking government officials from the Partner States and other stakeholders in attendance.
“I have my speech in both English and Kiswahili – but my colleagues (the Summit Members), have requested me to address you in Kiswahili,” the President said, much to the applause of participants. President Magufuli’s speech was however translated into English by an interpreter at the occasion.
In order to be effectively used by EALA and in other official settings, the Summit for the EAC Heads of State would have to amend section 137 of the Treaty which currently recognises English as the official language of the EAC and Kiswahili as the lingua franca.
If that is achieved, then both English and Kiswahili will be used as the official languages of the EAC and the Community.
In South Africa, the Pan-African Parliament recognises Kiswahili as one of the official languages in addition to English, Arabic and Portuguese.
NOTES TO EDITORS
- The Official language of the Community shall be English.
- Kiswahili shall be developed as a lingua franca of the Community
For more Information, contact:
Bobi Odiko, Senior Public Relations Officer,
East African Legislative Assembly,
Tel: +255-27-2508240, Cell: +255 787 870945+254-733-718036;